5/6 Blisters

Thru-hiking takes its toll on you. Pushing to complete 20 or more miles a day affects your body. However if you are queasy about dealing with things like blisters please stop reading.

On the second day I was hiking through fields and fields of chunky rock. As I stepped awkwardly on piece after piece my feet and ankles were taking a beating as was my balance. At the end of the day I had a quarter-sized blister on the inside of my right heel. Every step I felt it. That day I didn’t do anything about it. The next day was more of the same. By now each step was painful. By the end of the day I had to do something. So I got a needle out and drained it. The next day started better, but as time went on it again filled up. The human body is great at resealing itself after a puncture. So I had heard about this and never tried it. I sewed a thread through the blister to keep it open. That worked. Each day I change the bandages and the pain is greatly reduced. Now I hope it will dry and callous over.

5/6 mile 99.0 Lucky and clean

I slept at water cache #1 about 7 miles outside of Lordsburg NM. The wind is incessant and although cooling during the day at night it kept waking me up. Finally at 4:45 AM which is predawn I got up and hiked out.

Town days are big things in hiker life. I had made a long list of all the things I needed to do in town. As I hiked towards town I was wondering if I could get a shower at the Econolodge. As luck would have it I met Radar when I arrived on Sunday. He is delivering water to all the caches. He is also Peru’s partner who I helped with some technical details of the CDT water report. So he knew about me. Well today he offered his room and his shower while he was out on his water run. In the shower I washed not only was myself but I also hand washed all my clothes and put them on wet (they are very quick drying polyester). In addition he had a spare USB cable and a lip-stick rechargeable battery. He next said that as part of signing up for the shuttle to the terminus I had not gotten my “goodies” which included a pair of CDT socks. Shower – Luck, cable – double luck, battery – triple luck, and even socks – quadruple luck. How lucky could I be! After that I left, walked across the street to a MacDonalds and had a quarter pounder and oodles of Coca-cola. Lordsburg you put a smile on my face.

5/5 mile 77.8 Lunch and a siesta

In the distance was a pyramid like hill. I pushed myself today to get “10 by 10”, in other words, 10 miles by 10 o’clock. And I made it! It was a hot day in the New Mexico desert and after 4 more miles it was noon and time for lunch. Very luckily I found a tree (they are very rare) and decided to just eat and then wait out the heat. A siesta! At 3:30 I started hiking again and fortune would have it that clouds appeared and blocked the intense sun intermittently. At the end of the day I was hiking around that pyramid hill.

5/4 mile 57.9 The dogs are barking

I woke early so I could get on the trail just before sunrise. In the dark I reached for my shoes with my socks stuffed in them. Huh. That’s strange my right shoe is empty. So I feel around and still nothing. I get out my light and they are gone. The left shoe along with its sock is there. It looks like I had a night time visitor who absconded with my right sock and gaiter. I was robbed! So I got out my extra right sock and was good to go.

I was on trail at 5:30 AM and was doing OK. I have a blister on the inside of my left heel. It’s a nuisance and after a while I just ignore it. Today I was planning to do 20 miles. My first water stop was in 9 miles. After the stop I would be carrying about 5.5L. Heavy! I was going along well with a slight breeze, but the day heated up and I slowed down. On one of my breaks I saw that the next water cache was only two additional miles. So as the day wore on I marched along and then as the heat went up I got slower and slower. By the end my feet were just screening in pain. That is, the dogs were barking. But I made it to the next cache.

5/3 mile 36.2 Hot day

I got to the second water cache after hiking about 10 miles. At the cache were ThunderBunny and Swamy. We chatted for a minute and they headed out. I guzzled down about 1.5L of lemonade flavored water and ate my lunch. The rest of the afternoon was a death march to get to mile 36.1 and 20 miles. At one point I was getting wobbly and set up my umbrella for shade and slowed way down. At the end I bumped into TBunny and Swamy under a tree so I sat with them trying to cool off. They are newlyweds and got married on April 23rd. She did the PCT last year. After our break I hiked another mile and will be cowboy camping tonight, that is, sleeping out under the stars.

5/2 mile 16.1 On my way

I was the only hiker starting today. We left Lordsburg at 6:30 AM and arrive at the southern terminus at 9:45. The last two hours of which was on a wash-board mud road. I’m glad I didn’t get sick, but I was so excited. After a picture or two, I headed out. It was quite cool, around the 40s F, but as the sunny day wore on it got hotter. I tried to make it to 20 miles, but at about 6 PM I called it quits at 16.1 miles. My right foot is sore and I hope tomorrow that it won’t be painful.

Econo Lodge

At about 4:20 PM the train pulled into Lordsburg. No station, just a road crossing. Thanks to Google Maps I walked about 20 minutes and TA-DA I’m now checked in to the Econo Lodge. So after a disrupted start I’m now back on schedule. Just as I got here I met Radar who is Peru’s friend and he said I was the ONLY person on the shuttle tomorrow at 6:30 AM. Although he drove today he was hoping that he wouldn’t tomorrow. Oh, and the weather is about 70 degrees Fahrenheit and cloudy. Great hiking weather.

Sleep and a new day

I boarded the train at about 12 midnight. My Roomette is about 4×10 feet and Brian, the steward, converted it into a bed. Within minutes I undressed and laid down. I slept and was awoken as the train got underway. The car jiggled and swayed as I slept and woke. I could see light coming through my drawn curtains. I looked at my phone to see it was 7 AM. I got up. Meals are included and I had a Continental Breakfast. I sat with a couple and another man who chatted about how expensive it was living in California and who had moved to a small town in Texas. Pleasant light conversation helped make the meal enjoyable. Now I’m back in my Roomette which had been converted to seats. It’s nice to sit and stare out the window watching the world pass by. Desert, scrub brush, sand, hills all pass by. Only a few more hours until Lordsburg and the next step on my journey.