We’ve just finished the first stage of our hike, and we’re really hoping it might get a little easier soon!
We arrived back into Lordsburg at 6.30 last night, the first 85 miles of trail successfully completed. Neil was still smugly blister-free (if a little footsore), while I was limping pretty badly with some nasty blisters on my right foot. It was great to get back to the Lordsburg Econolodge and get showered, then spend the evening eating pizza, drinking beer, and talking hiking and blisters with our fellow hikers.
The 40 miles since Hachita, which we covered in two days, were some of the hardest and hottest hiking that we’ve done. It was absolutely baking hot. Even our Chrome Dome umbrellas were only of limited benefit, as the heat was radiating upwards from the ground. We had some big plains to cross – on the low ridges we got a bit of a breeze, but once we dipped down into slight hollows it was like being in an oven. Walking amongst creosote bushes wasn’t too bad, but there were long stretches of hard baked earth, overgrazed by beef cattle or dried-up lake beds, where the heat was just overwhelming.
But we made it through, and for that we owe a huge debt of gratitude to the trail angels who are working incredibly hard to help out hikers:
Dion in Hachita who took us into town to get our food parcel, put us up and fed us beer, then took us out to the trail again.
Apple who set up a shelter on a ridge in a particularly hot stretch and provided passing hikers with ice cold cokes and water.
Radar who is organising shuttles to the border and restocking of the water caches, and all the good folks who give up their time to carry water to the caches in out-of-the-way places (including Peru who we met on the Pacific Crest Trail in 2012 and who we met again yesterday) and who also rescue hikers in distress (heat exhaustion, blisters, ankle injuries) and take them into Hachita or Lordsburg to recover.
Without these people, this first stretch of trail could be a really dangerous place for anyone caught out by the conditions.
But thanks to them, we have been able to enjoy a properly challenging trail through impressive desert landscapes.