If I had one word to sum up the CDT’s first 150 miles: Intense.
I started my hike on May 1st with 8 other hikers. I am slightly embarrassed to admit that the first 100 miles of trail completely kicked my butt! It was brutal hiking due to the constant sun exposure and heat. Unlike the PCT, the CDT desert is a nearly shadeless landscape. Everyday, I felt like an ant caught under a magnifying lens as I crawled to the next water source. It was painful, and I scolded myself for thinking negative thoughts.
I reminded myself: “There’s beauty in everything. Sometimes you just have to look deeper.” I tried to find beauty in the blooming cactus flowers, or the darting jack rabbits, but it was hard. As much as I tried to enjoy it, the first 100 miles suffocated me. It was beautiful, but I was too drained to fully enjoy it.
One day I literally sat in a water cache box for an hour because I was so hot, and it was the only shade in that area. On the CDT, you are forced to make things work because you literally have no other option. I sat in the box, drank lots of water, ate snacks, read the log book, and pushed on when I felt well again.
I have since mailed unneeded items up the trail to reduce pack weight, and I bought a silver hiking sun-umbrella to combat the exposure. I don’t do well in heat, and I’m going to carry that silly umbrella all the way to Canada!
The trail, and my attitude are both improving quickly. In the last 50 miles, the trail has climbed into the trees again. It feels amazing to be in a forest again! I have been hiking with a big goofy grin on my face. And constantly whispering “Thank You” to the trees.
I’m currently enjoying a stay at an Airbnb rental in Silver City, NM with a great group of fellow hikers. I think we all needed this break to regroup for the next stretch of trail.
Here are my favorite photos of the last 150 miles. Enjoy!!
PS: I won’t have good wifi for the next sections, so don’t be alarmed if you don’t hear much from me until further north 🙂