Trail on top of a mesa.
Oh my goodness, this trail is going to kill me! I had a decent night’s sleep, anticipating a relatively easy hike to Bursum Road. An hour or so after dark, while I was drowsing off, I saw an orange light on one side of my tent. I figured it was an orangey full moon or something, but then – in my drowsy state – was afraid. I’m not sure of what. An animal wouldn’t have a light beam, and I’d heard no noise to indicate people. I wanted to peek out and see what the light was from, but did not.

But I digress. I was on the trail by 7:30 a.m. and had an easy stroll down to the Gila, which was pretty shallow here. Shortly before collecting my water, I chatted with a man who was camping with a group. He said they ran into a CDT hiker yesterday who said the trail from the Meadows campsite to here was TERRIBLE. Thank goodness I hopped on the High Route yesterday afternoon.

Aiming for Bursum Road

After my downhill to the Gila, I knew I’d climb back up to the High Route. What a climb it was! Don’t people understand the helpful concept of switchbacks? Oh, well – I made it up the rocky, steep Stream running through green valley.incline and gave myself some props.

Once on top of the mesa, I had a pretty nice stroll for a while. Met a man and his son who were getting ready to go elk hunting. Then I had another annoyingly steep climb before the descent to the Aéroplane Mesa Campground.

I’d read there was a faucet here, but there was not. Luckily a guy was there who was part of a company that brought out groups for hunting, military exercises (members of the military), etc. He had lots of water and topped me off. I also grabbed some TP from the bathroom.

Highs and Lows

I was ecstatic to discover the next 4 miles (6.4 km) were a downhill along a gravel road. I easily clicked off 3 mph (4.8 kph). At the bottom, the Gila was a trickle, but I got some more water.

After that I was hoping to continue walking along the gravel road for the rest of the day, but it was not to be. Shortly after the stream, the trail devolved into the Gila nastiness again!

That is, the trail went off-road, but it wasn’t marked and was mostly invisible. It unspooled along a creek for several miles, hopping back and forth across the creek. I was mostly able to keep my feet dry, but I had to keep checking the app to make sure I was on course. It was so frustrating!

A Nice Ending

During the thru-hike season, which begins in spring, lots of trail angels leave out water (and beer!) for hikers or set up a trailer Road passing through rickety gate.and cook burgers and such. Since I’m hiking off-season, I’m missing all of that. Still, I’ve been dreaming that I’ll find a bottle of water or can of beer somewhere, whether left behind accidentally or on purpose.

After the creek business mentioned above, the trail followed a jeep track and then a gravel road. As I was transitioning to the gravel road, what do I spy but … a bottle of water! Unopened. This means I can either wash up more thoroughly tonight or ensure I have water to start my day.

Oh – have to mention my food supplies. I always pack a breakfast and dinner, plus three or four snacks for lunch and the rest of the day in between. And I always have food left over. To reduce my pack weight, I cut back on my food.

A little too much, though! I have breakfast and dinner for tonight and tomorrow, but almost no snacks for the day/lunch. I’ll have to ration my food. Sigh. This stuff ain’t easy!


Today’s Miles: 19.2 (30.9 km)
CDT Miles to Date: 324.6 (522.4 km)
CDT Miles to Go: 2,775.4 (4,466.6 km)

©2018 Melanie McManus – All Rights Reserved

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