CDT mile 552.1, miles hiked 24.6
I stirred awake at dawn it had gotten below freezing last night and shoes were frozen, along with the inside of my tarp. I sat up and immediately was rained on by frozen ice, I shrugged it off, lit my stove and ate.
We headed out for the start of the day each of us anxious to get moving and get warm. The first mile or two had some snow but it was hard and consolidated so we only post holes a few times. The trail dropped us into a nice pine forest and meadows. The walking was easy and we made great time.
We took a break by a stream I grabbed 2.5 liters and the others a little less. We discussed where the next water was, the map showed some streams along the way that were seasonal, however, no one of considered the fact they were at 6500′ and that we were back in desert territory.
As we started the climb up from the highway we talked about the seasonal stream 5 miles ahead, it was noon so we stopped for lunch and siesta. By the time we left it was 1:20, we each had the least amount of water possible. Funny one day in the high country with snowmelt and water everywhere and all of us get cocky and figure there will be water ahead all day and didn’t bother to read the water report.
After making the climb I was strolling down an old dirt road the water was a stream off the trail about 2 miles ahead. The road ran parallel to a creek but I saw it was dry. Figuring there would be no water ahead I was stunned when I went for the hose of my hydration pack only to take my last sip. The recent rain has had left a few puddles of muddy water in the tire tracks. I figured what the hell and grabbed a couple liters to be safe.
A mile down the road I was looking for any sign of where to access the stream. I saw Bandit’s pack them Buttercup’s, I gave a shout and we soon realized Freefall and Sweet Potato had each missed the stream. They each had packed out enough water for everyone, we packed out extra in case we found them and then to Bandits amazement I chugged down a liter of the puddle water to get hydrated.
The trail quickly began to descend to Ocilto Canyon, off in the distance we could see large mountains covered in snow, is that Colorado we wondered? We eventually found Freefall and Sweet Potato by a stream at the bottom of the descent, we snacked and then headed on.
Our camp tonight is in a pine and sage forest about 1 mile from the Rio deChamaa, and only 12 miles from Ghost Ranch. I am sure I’ll be dreaming of town food tonight it seems to be the case every time it’s town day eve. I look forward to visiting the ranch and opening all the boxes waiting for me there.