April 24th, 2019
Tank mm 50.5 – Cache 5 mm 78.3
Distance in miles: 28
It’s another beautiful morning and we hit the trail aiming for the 4th water cache. There have been many other water sources from cow troughs and solar faucets but so far I have been able to make it from cache to cache carrying just 1.75 liters of water. I also chug water while at the caches. It’s been nice not to have to use my filter…even though it’s easy to do so. I’m just a lazy hiker and avoid doing any unnecessary work.
Up the hill from the 4th cache is a sign about trail magic in 1.5 miles. Do we risk not tanking up at the cache and pushing to the TM instead? Hell yeah we do. There we meet Apple, who is a dedicated Trail Angel all the way from Ohio. He goes all over the country to do TM and has even done it on the Florida Trail! I am so amazed by these Trail Angels that I meet, I am going to write a book all about them someday. It will be my next big project.
We drink a few sodas and hope that Capt’n will catch up. He was taking it easy packing up in the morning and may have decided to do some lower mileage days. That’s cool. As they say, everyone has to “hike your own hike.” It’s been a bit competitive already, surrounded by all these superstar hikers going for their triple crown. I can’t but help get a bit caught up in it…I do like the view from the front of the pack!
After the TM, we enter a very barren stretch and it gets a bit hot. On the first day I was wishing it might rain, then yesterday I only wanted the rain to stop and for it to warm up. Be careful what you wish for out here. At least there is a cool breeze. It is in my face so I can’t use the umbrella efficiently. We stop for a break with no shade and Relentless dons his tyvek as a shade blanket while he shares Salty’s umbrella. It’s a funny sight.
We march on and find a better water source with some trees nearby. We take a long break and then there is talk of just camping in this spot. I’m not used to so many breaks and get antsy. I have my made-up and self-imposed “cache to cache” record to uphold so I set out for the last 8 miles. With all the others around, I haven’t been keeping track of the miles too well and don’t realize I’ve set myself up for a 28 mile day. Oops.
But I am happy to hike alone for a bit since I’ve been with at least one other this whole time. I want to rock out to music and take in the desert on my own terms. I cruise along the trail, confident in my navigation and barely afraid of two huge bulls laying on the trail. I go around them to the side. The Te Araroa has prepared me well for this.
It’s a nice hike around Pyramid Mountain but things start to ache a bit in the last few miles. It cools down and soon enough I am at the cache. There are 2 tents already pitched and I chat with Walking Stick who is doing the CDT with his dad, Ancient Mariner. I don’t get to meet him because he is already crashed out in the tent. There is also Marco in his tent. Everyone is in the hurt locker after the “Bootheel” section, named so for the shape of the border with Mexico. It is indeed the toughest start to a long hike but I had great, cool weather and feel quite happy about crushing the miles. The rest of the guys don’t even make it as far so I am the second fastest behind Peanut that left on the 22nd. But who’s keeping track?