Day 1 - Southern Terminus (16.7 miles)
Updated: Jul 31, 2022
May 10, 2021
Trail Miles: 16.7 miles
Got a good nights sleep but did keep waking up every 15 minutes starting around 4am, I guess my body didn’t want to over sleep. Around 5:45am I finally got and started moving around. Didn’t have much to do since I had everything ready last night.
Walked down to the lobby at 6:15am to wait. By 6:30am no one had shown up, I was starting to get worried. Then a brand new red SUV pulls up and a guy in a CDT hat gets out. I knew this was my guy. He walked right in and said we would be leaving in a few minutes as he had to full up some water jugs to set out for the hikers at the different water cache boxes in those first 85 miles.
Finally got on the road around 6:40am. I knew it was around a 3 hour drive even though it’s only 85 trail miles to the southern terminus.
We got on the interstate but then soon got off to a side highway. I assumed since it took so long we would be driving mainly on bad dirt roads. However that was not the case. Probably over half was on paved and the other part was on nice gravel/dirt roads. Only the last 3 miles was really a rough ride.
My shuttle driver was named Ray, not the most talkative guy but either am I. We had done small talk. He would give me random information about the area and answered any questions I had. He said I was around the 200th person to start this year, according to those that had signed the register at the hotel which most do. He said that there probably won’t be too many more starting after me which I figured. He said in a normal year he sees around 450 to start. He did say he saw 85 last year which surprised it was that high.
Once we arrived at the Mexico border which is the southern terminus of the CDT I thanked Ray and paid him for his services. The ride ended only taking about 2.5 hours which did include a short pit stop in the town of Hachita. He also took a picture for me as I was the only hiker starting today, the only one Ray was taking.
Once Ray took off I got my stuff ready to go. Put on sunscreen, lip bomb, sun gloves and my hiking poles set at the right length and I was off. There is a covered area right there at the monument but there is a bee’s nest on it so I couldn’t use it. Ray said someone had been stung pretty bad in the past, he has tried to take out the nest but with no luck.
At 9:15am on May 15, 2021 I left the Mexico border and was headed north towards Canada.
The start was very similar to the PCT as there is no shade just open space, hiking through the high desert.
Weather wise it didn’t seem to bad, right around 75 degrees and no wind. It did help that the humidity is so low, around 4%. In Tulsa on a good day it’s probably around 40%. So while hiking I never felt like I was sweating.
I started off with a little over 4 liters of water to get me the first 14 miles to the first water cache.
About 30 minutes in I decided to break out my umbrella as there was no wind. I got it set off my pack to make it so I don’t have to hold it, can keep using my hiking poles. It worked really well as hiking under the umbrella gives you about 10 degrees cooler. However it doesn’t work great in the wind. Got about an hour and half of hiking before the wind started to pick up to where my umbrella would break, happened on the PCT. So walked a little in the midday sun without the umbrella which wasn’t too bad as I was drinking lots of water.
A little after 12pm I found some shade, just enough to lay down to rest and let the hottest part of day pass.
Around 4pm felt like it was time to move on. I had 5.5 miles to go until the water cache. I had about 1.5 liters of water left and figured that would be good. I followed the river bed pretty much the whole way to the water cache. Right before the water cache the trail took a turn off the river bed, had an arrow pointing the way made out of rocks. I knew the water was near but my map showed it more down the trail. I went about a quarter of mile before reading the notes about the water cache. I was suppose to stay on the river bed until it came out to a gravel road.
Not much back tracking and was at the water. I had just run out of water right before I got there so I timed that perfectly. I filled up on a total of about 6 liters which some was to drink there, make dinner and fill up until the next water source. In all I hung around about an hour. With a full belly of Lipton chicken flavored rice and tuna I was off another 2.5 miles to my camp spot for the night.
Those last 2 miles was not the easiest and not much of a trail to follow at times. I had to keep looking for the posts that are stunk in the ground.
Right as it really started to get dark I got to my campsite. Off to the north I could see a nice thunderhead building and could tell it was raining and lighting but it didn’t seem to be headed my way, let’s hope not.