Tuesday, April 28, 2015

April 24-28 Southern Terminus to Lordsburg - 84 mi

What a surprising first leg! This is a long post! I'm going to try to get better about separating the days more. I was pretty exhausted this leg. 

First off, I landed in El Paso and couch surfed with a lovely host. We cooked dinner together and bonded over our love of healthy lifestyles. The next morning, Brandon (Cousin T or simply Toast) came to pick me up and we used a body fat measure to see where we would start. I was at 23% and he was at 8%. He's super fit. Once our fellow hiker Charlie (Burly) landed we picked him up at the airport and headed toward Lordsburg.
(Me teaching Burly yoga in the Econo Lodge parking lot)

We spent a couple nights there with Johnny (Big Foot) and Andy (Malarky). It was great fun as we got to know each other and thoroughly explored the grocery store and local restaurants.

It was finally time to leave on the 24th! The shuttle left Lordsburg at 6:30am, after a quick breakfast at the Econo Lodge, and we took a very leisurely, but bumpy, 3 hour ride to the Southern Terminus at the Crazy Cook Monutment. The 10 hikers (Toast, Malarky, Burly, Big Foot, Fun Size, Jes, Delightful, Banana Pants, me) filled the shuttle. We shared snacks and mostly stayed quiet as we realized that this was really happening!

Then we got there!
(Malarky, me, Burly, Toast, Banana Pants, Delightful, Bug Foot, Fun Size, Jess)

Day 1: We were pretty good about getting pictures and getting out on trail. It started with sort of a trail leading to trail markers that were scattered around theoretically leading us to where we needed to go.

We did about 15 miles, getting to the first water cache, a metal box where the CDT coalition stores 2 gallons of water per person, and continued on. The highlight was introducing my calf to a cactus and then removing the spines from my skin. Yum. The other highlight was feeling VERY hungry for my dinner. A mountain House Beef Chili Mac. Yum! It was a fine day overall, and I was exhausted by the end and set up my ground tarp, Therma Rest, and sleeping bag and cowboy camped (no shelter). We all camped together except for Banana Pants who has done this trail before and has a LONG stride, so he was somewhere ahead. Here are some pics:
(Toast on top of the Southern Terminus Monument)
Snack break! (Jess, Delightful, Fun Size, Toast, Big Foot)
(Spring in the desert)
Burly and a cool tree
Fun Size and hiking a river bed
Water Cache box!
Rockin' my Duluth Lumbar pack in camp

Cowboy camping

Day 2: The next morning was a bright and early start.
 We did 20 miles. I had not done too many 20 mile days in my time. My feet took a beating and I pushed a bit too hard.
Our goal was to get to the 2nd water catch box and get 10 miles closer to the next one. By the time I got to the cache I was thoroughly dehydrated. Woops! Still figuring out my limits. We set up a tarp and took a loooong break. Lots of electrolytes were drank and food was consumed. This was a rough day for me and made me realize how I have not been living the active lifestyle I wanted for myself. I made it though and was very proud of myself. I cowboy camped again this time with Malarky, Burly, and Toast. The groups were beginning to separate. Here are pictures:
Finding shade with Malarky and Burly
Elevating the feet!

Day 3: 24 mile day. Went better than the previous day. It rained, a cold rain. A very cold, windy, rain! 
We knocked some serious mileage out because of it, but ended up getting too cold for safety. 

Luckily the sun came out just as we were making the decision to pop over the the nearest town for something warm. After putting on my MooseJaw puffy jacket, gifted to me by my private cooking client, Marisa (THANK YOU!!!), we road walked to the next cache and continued on to the 4th cache where we camped. This time I set up my tent. I did not trust the clouds. We also got into camp early, which allowed me my first opportunity to journal and tend to my sad feet. I slept so well! More pictures:
Cactus blossoms
Hiking with Malarky, Toast, and Burly
Very non aggressive rattlesnake. Too cold to care.
Early to camp!
Toast, Burly, Malarky just hanging out.

Day 4: This was another 20 mile day. We hiked from cache 4 to cache 5 and it was a lovely day. 
(Headed to pyramid peak)
The miles were smooth and the mini mountains were really nice to hike through. It was 36 F that morning! Cold day and the condensation settled on all of us. Not a sleeping bag was dry. I was actually woken up by drops of water falling from the ceiling of my tent. We all laid out stuff out to dry without actually getting the sun to shine on it. It was as if the clouds were chasing the rising sun. We ended up packing up wet and hiking on for a couple hours before taking rest and drying out our stuff. 
My right foot was not doing well. The arch was shooting pain and I was a limping hobble person. These 20 miles were harder for me than the 24 the previous day. At one point a HUGE cactus needle jammed itself deep into the big toe joint on that sad right foot. Pulling it out was a hollering event. I added a couple of blisters to my feet this day too. To say I Embraced the Brutality would be accurate. This day tested me. 
(Strange things out here)
(Windmill supplies water. Didn't need it today!)

When Toast and I caught up to Burly and Malarky at the cache, there was Apple, the trail angel! I almost cried with joy! I did tell Apple that I loved him. We ate chips, Ding Dongs, and ice cold Gatorade. Talk about a morale booster!

We slept at the cache that night. I set up the tent again and was happy I did. It was seriously windy and I did not sleep much. Everything got covered in a fine layer of dust. More pictures:
Burly makes a comfy chair at camp!
Sunset and Malarky's tent

Day 5: Nero into Lordsburg. It was an easy 7 miles from the cache into town. 
Toast and I cross countried a bit and walked over some large rolling hills until we got to town. We found Malarky and Burly in a room with some of Malarky's friends from the PCT. Burly and I and maybe Toast are staying in Lordsburg tonight and headed out early tomorrow. This is a Nero, a nearly Zero. A Zero is a day (full 24hrs) spent in town. My poor right foot needs a good rest after the shower, resupply box pick up, and Epsom salt bath! Lovely day of rest. I'm excited to sleep in a bed!


  1. Wow . It was thrilling to read !. Thank you so much for writing and for those great pictures. keep it up. We are so proud of you. i am telling every one about your hike. Every body is so impressed and wish they can do it someday. Stay safe and comfortable ! I love you

  2. You are awesome! All my friends are really impressed. We're all rooting for you.