Owl in tree.

I woke up at 6:00 a.m. today, hoping to get an early start to reach a sweet camping spot south of a cattle guard, according to the FarOut app. It would be about 17 miles (27.4 km). There was an owl in a tree right near my tent. It didn’t stir as I got out of the tent, then back in to get my camera and take a picture. Too cool. Then it hooted twice and flew away.

It was a brisk morning – perfect when you’ll be climbing a tall mountain like Mt. Taylor – and I was off by 7:30. Hugo and Carole said it was easy to follow the path, which wasn’t blazed. It was easy in parts, but hard in others. Luckily, the app kept me on course.

The 2 miles (3.2 km) up were grueling, but the scenery was incredible. I was psyched when I reached the top of Mt Taylor. Of course I signed the register and took a photo by the sign. Then it was back downhill. For a while anyway.

Making My Way to the Cattle Guard

I reveled in the downhill, but it went to a saddle, so soon I was climbing again. It was torture. But I made it. The rest of the way on this alternate route was a wide dirt road, mostly downhill. I made great time.

Shortly before rejoining the official CDT, I met my first hikers. They were going southbound, of course, and mentioned they’d stashed water and a root beer at the intersection of the CDT and this road. Score! I filled up my water bottles and gratefully took the root beer.

That turned out to be a little miracle, as there was no water anywhere the rest of the afternoon. I thought there was supposed to be a tank, but if there was, I missed it.

Settling in for the Night

The CDT initially was a lovely single track trail through the woods. It was gently undulating, so easy. And very well marked. I met a cyclist who was biking the bikeable portions of the CDT; he’d been peddling two months. He said the water was scarce between here and Cuba. Rats.

I had planned to camp at this spot that sounded lovely in the FarOut app. But when I got there, an RV was set up, plus a tent and two ORVs. Darn. So I’m in a pretty crappy spot. Oh, well.

At one point I got excited, figuring I could ask the people in that spot if they had water. I’d seen coolers, and they had an RV. But despite walking over twice, the place was deserted.

So I’ll start the day with a half-gallon of water. There’s a spring 12 miles (19.3 km) down the trail, although you have to do a 1-mile (1.6 km) out-and-back to reach it. Oh well, it will be worth it.


Today’s Miles: 18.9 (30.4 km)
CDT Miles to Date: 149.9 (241.2 km)
CDT Miles to Go: 2,950.1 (4,747.7 km)

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links (among regular links) to products I own and like, or which I think you might like. This means that, at no extra cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.



©2018 Melanie McManus – All Rights Reserved