Today’s trek to and along the Cebolla Alternate was full of surprises, like pretty much most days. But first, about last night.
I’d heard from trail angel Carole Mumm that several hikers were hoping to hit TLC Ranch last night. Sure enough, when I was settled in my tent after dark, I heard some noise. It didn’t sound like hikers, though – possibly a raccoon poking around. But are there raccoons in New Mexico? Just in case, I put several items in my tent that I had left just outside. But then I heard voices.
Yes, it was the hikers. I believe there were four, and while they weren’t noisy per se, they did talk for quite a while after setting up their tents. But that’s O.K. I certainly wasn’t going to fall asleep right away. They all left pretty early in the morning.
Heading to the Cebolla Alternate
My goal was hiking about 18 miles (29 km) today, to a spot on the Cebolla Alternate said to have a good camping site. Since the first 12 miles (19.3 km) were on the roads, I lingered a little longer than normal. No reason to hurry. I enjoyed an orange this morning, courtesy of TLC Ranch, then packed another apple and orange for the day. I was on the road after 8 a.m.
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Since I’d badly burned my ears yesterday (they were weeping into my hair – ugh), I wore a buff today. I certainly needed it, as most of the day was under a full, hot sun.
The road walk was pretty boring, save for chatting with one hiker. In the early afternoon, I merged onto the Cebolla Alternate, a popular path. Carole and Hugo had stashed a gallon of water there, so I filled my bottles and decided to carry the jug. It would be a pain, but I figured I could use the water to wash my hair.
Alternate Not What I Thought
The hikers at the Toaster House said this alternate was mostly road walking with a little bit of dirt road. Maybe they forgot what it was like, or maybe people’s definitions are different. The first mile or so was a sandy path, which was slow to navigate.
Then the path merged onto the Armijo Canyon Trail. Normally, I would have really enjoyed this, as it’s a very pretty trail that leads you along the canyon, and then up and over a small, rocky hill. You even pass an old homestead.
But I had a full load on my back with all of that water, not to mention carrying the jug in one hand and both trekking poles in the other. It was tiring.
End in Sight
After several miles, this trail merged onto a jeep track, or some such path that was much easier to navigate. I was looking for that camping spot mentioned in the app, but never found it. So I just kept hiking until about 5 p.m., then set up camp under a tree. I was lucky to find that spot, as most of the terrain here is full of rocks or tough scrub.
I also had a scare this afternoon, as my phone was running low on battery power, then refused to charge. I wondered if perhaps the phone or my portable battery was too hot, so I turned the phone off and put the battery in a cool spot in my pack. THANK GOODNESS it eventually began to charge. That could have been disastrous …
Today’s Miles: 19.6 (31.5 km)
CDT Miles to Date: 439.9 (708 km)
CDT Miles to Go: 2,660.1 (4,281 km)