Grants, NM to The Southern Terminus – Cacti & Carcasses
We had a paved road walk out of Grants which is hard on the joints but relatively easy miles. A big black noisy truck slowed down next to us and rolled down their window. A man with broken english repeatedly spouted “water!?”. He gave all 5 of us hikers a bottle of water! This was great timing too because were in the middle of a 19 mile water carry. We stopped at a campground around dark. There weren’t any official spots left so we made due with a flat area.
We have another paved road walk all day today but we are all so giddy because it’s eclipse day!! We started our road walk carrying full capacity of water. A few miles in we stopped at a pull off where they may or may not be a water cache. We found it and topped off our water! Thank you Trail Angels!
We kept going a few more miles and a car pulled over and gave us all eclipse glasses!!!! The trail provides! We got to a trail head with a beautiful arch and it was the perfect spot to view the eclipse. There was a booth there giving out more eclipse glasses and water. Me, KD, beer run, and duck watched the eclipse together. It was such a memorable moment on this hike.
We couldn’t find any shade at lunch time so we huddled under our sun umbrellas in the grass just off the road. We were laughing so hard at the faces of drivers passing by us. I can imagine it was an odd sight to see, in the middle of nowhere, without being aware of the CDT.
As we were getting back on trail, Mo Po and black beard caught up to us so we all hiked on together. Our group of 3 absorbed 3 other hikers. We enjoyed each others company as we made our way off the paved road and onto a dirt road.
We saw petroglyphs on the rock walls next to the trail. At dark we camped in a circle by an old house.
It’s Pie Town day! We got on trail before the sun was up because we wanted to try to get to town before the restaurants closed. We checked out the ruins of a Pueblo settlement and discovered some pieces of pottery on the ground. Another full day of dirt road walking.
I was out of breath several times today… not from hiking… from laughing! A mundane day ended up being so fun by playing games while hiking. We played waffles or pancakes, what is that?, and what would you do scenarios. We were so slap-happy, I’m almost positive these games would be absurd in the real world.
We stopped for lunch at a shaded spot a ranch set up for hikers that has water. The owner also dropped off apples to us! What a treat.
We finally reached the toaster house around 8 pm, where Undie had beer and pizza waiting for us! He had been off trail a couple days due to an injury and went to the grocery store for us before getting dropped off in pie town. Pie town has no store to buy food and the 2 restaurants in town have unreliable business hours and are regularly running out of food.
The toaster house was a super cool spot. It felt so warm and inviting.
Zero at the Toaster House.
Hiked out on dirt roads. The terrain changed from flat shrubby desert to trees and hills.
A ranch right off trail offers hiker amenities and some food. We used the kitchen area and the food they offered: eggs, potatoes, onions, and canned beans, to make a lunch skillet. It was so good. We were short one lunch leaving Pie Town so this was a blessing.
Long water carry today. Our next water source has reportedly dead birds in it. We stood at the road crossing and shook our empty water bottles hoping someone would stop. TWO trucks stopped, one gave us water and beer, the second a fish and game warden, gave us more water!!!
Long water carry this morning. Only 1.5 liters left for 13 miles and the terrain wasn’t flat. I didn’t get to the water source until lunch. I didn’t have to pee until 3 pm!!! This is crazy because usually I drink enough water to pee every 2 hours or less. I was definitely feeling the effects of dehydration.
Our water sources in the desert are either springs or cow watering troughs. I am thankful the farmers and ranchers let us tap into their water supply.
It was FREEZING when we woke up this morning and hiked to the mouth of the Gila River. The grass was covered in frost and the temperatures were getting colder as we walked into the ravine. The cold temps and pull of town food on empty stomachs persuaded us to take the quicker high route through the Gila. The high route was pretty! Although, I would like to hike through the low route some day.
We took a short detour to go check out the Gila Cliff Dwellings and it was well worth the extra miles! Afterwards we headed to Doc Campbell’s. A general store on trail that has a pretty good resupply and frozen pizza that will hold us over until we get to an actual town in a couple days. Luckily, we got a spot to camp at the Hot Springs right next door and soaked our tired muscles until bed time.
We opted to take a paved road walk to get to Silver City in the most direct route. Several cars stopped and gave us bagels, ice cream bars, and water. Perks of a paved road walk! We felt like olden day settlers because at the end of the day’s walk, we would reach a saloon with food and drinks! Well in typical fashion the saloon was closed 🙂
Day 127 and 128
Double Zero in Silver City. We got an airbnb with BR, Duck, MoPo, Undie and Blackbeard.
Again, we opted to take a paved road walk to get to Lordsburg in the most direct route. This route also allowed us to slack pack ourselves and stay at our airbnb in Silver City another night. We got a ride out and slack packed back to Silver City.
We finished up the road walk into Lordsburg today. We found a short cut on Google Maps that lead us directly to Dennys. This short cut was actually border-line trespassing on someones land but we were in too deep, there was no turning around. We high tailed it through that area and to the road before anyone could notice.
LAST TRAIL TOWN.
BR, KD and I shared sad goodbyes with our buddy, Duck. His ride is arriving much later so he is killing time in town and we are hiking on to the southern terminus.
We ate McDonalds breakfast before leaving town. I have never experienced this before on a thru hike, but I am tired of eating. I am looking forward to eating my normal foods and portions when I get back to the real world.
We walked until after sunset and I am soaking everything in on this final stretch. I love the desert at sunset. The desert sun is harsh and unforgiving all day, but at sunset the desert turns soft and lovely. I also love how the desert is perfect for cowboy camping. We fell asleep under a million stars and one bright moon.
The water carries are long. There is one spring and after that we are relying solely on water caches kept up by trail angels.
The trail is sometimes hard to follow, especially at night. There are signs placed semi regularly, but they are often faced towards north bounders. During the day south bounders can usually see them sticking up but at dark the back isn’t reflective so they are easily missed.
I lost my short cut privileges today. I saw some roads on the map that looked like a short cut back to trail. It was before sunrise and the trail is hard to follow in the dark but this short cut was on a dirt road and that is easier to follow in the dark. If all went according to plan, we would reconnect with the trail when it was light again. We got about half way into our short cut and at the intersection of the dirt road we were currently on and the dirt road we were supposed to turn on to, sat a house. This short cut turned into a long cut as we made our way back to trail.
I am loving all the different cacti out here.
Ending your thru hike in the desert is the way to go. You can push bigger miles and there is just enough scenery to enjoy at a faster pace. I didn’t feel like I was rushing through it like I did when I finished the PCT in Washington’s mountains.
Our last night on trail was perfect. We found a nice flat and clear spot to set up our air pads and quilt. We huddled closely on this chilly night and ate our ramen noodles. We fell asleep watching for shooting stars.
When we woke up this morning it was frigid! It hasn’t been this cold in a while. We had about 8 miles to the terminus and I enjoyed every step. We walked through a dry creek bed, passing cacti and carcasses along the way.
I coyote howled at me as I walked by it. I never saw it but based on the sound I could tell it was extremely close to trail.
As the monument came into focus so did MoPo, Undie, Blackbeard and Beerrun. Our buddies hooped and hollered for us as we ran to the border of Mexico. Big smiles and cheers as we touched the southern terminus monument. We cracked a tall boy and a bottle of champagne and celebrated our accomplishment.
And just like that, our journey south on the Continental Divide Trail, had come to an end.
Our chase for the Triple Crown had come to an end.
What a trip. If I could do it all again, I would in a heart beat.
I will miss things that mean nothing to most people but represent something invaluable to me.
I will miss my dirty legs.
I will miss my freckled nose.
I will miss the weight of my pack carrying everything I need on my back.
I will miss the thirst-quenching sensation of cold water on a long hot, dry section.
I will miss the exhilaration of trail life.
I will miss the love and gratitude felt after receiving small acts of kindness from strangers.
I will miss falling asleep outside and waking up outside.
I will miss the way I could quite literally feel food fueling my body.
I will miss the tan lines on my ankles, thighs and hands.
I will miss the ongoing cycle of excitement for town day followed by excitement for the next stretch of trail.
I will miss commiserating with trail buddies over the discomfort and hardship of trail.
I will miss laughing with trail buddies over the pure delight and pleasure of trail.
I will miss the inner peace and inner dialogue experienced while hiking for miles and miles.
I will miss the how connected I feel to my body physically and mentally.
I will miss the simplicity of trail.
I will miss the satisfaction of walking into town hungry and eating that first town meal after a long stretch.
I will miss the invigorating feeling of a hot shower after a long stretch.
I will miss living outside.
I will miss meeting so many good people.
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