Day 2: A ways north of the Sheridan Canyon water cache to the windmill at mile 38.9, ~22 miles
Started the day with sunrise colors silhouetting ocotillos, juniper and creosote bushes. Affirming trail life is great life.
As we broke camp, dusk transitioned to morning and the sun began to warm the day. Gabriel and I were walking by 7:00. If we’d really wanted to beat the heat we’d have started earlier, but we are easing ourselves back into thru-hiker mode which most often means one starts walking as it gets light and stops walking as it gets dark.
Back out on the rolling terrain of washes and foothills, we enjoyed the hiking and marking our progress as we passed under each peak of the Big Hatchets. The goal was to hike to “Peak 4” out in the distance to the next water cache and then on to the windmill at mile 38.9.
This day lacked the breeze that had eased us onto the trail and it felt like it was a good 10 degrees (F) warmer. The route crosses mostly flat country and gentle rolling washes a distance away from the Little Hatchet Mountains. Enough distance that shade giving juniper and other cover is minimized. This day, the desert was sun exposed and hot. The two most valuable “commodities”: shade and water. In need of an afternoon break, we rigged up our ground cloth for an hours worth of shade. Refreshed from the time off our feet we hiked on. 9.5 miles to go.
All around us was an abundance of creosote bush as we traveled old roads and washes. We made miles at times with conversation and other stretches by practicing water conservation (keep one’s mouth closed).
By 4:30 the temps had dropped enough and a gentle breeze came up that we picked up our slow pace (aka pokey marmot pace) to a more respectable hiker stride. We could almost keep up with the speed of the youngsters Hikesawhile, Texas Poo and Seeking. (Roadrunner was steady and stayed on his feet more, thus was ahead of all of us.) Uniquely, the water caches and same start time had kept the six of us in roughly a roving pack, catching up to one another at the next big shade or water stops. It’s been fun to get to know the four other hikers we’ve started out with and a reminder of how much I love the trail community.
Gabriel and I made it to the windmill as evening light affirmed our love for the desert. The water was running clear from the windmill. So fortunate! No cow poo infested water.
We enjoyed dinner as the sun set and the stars came out. Coyotes yipped and howled close by. A kangaroo rat (OUR FIRST SIGHTING EVER!!!!!!) hopped out of its burrow and politely sniffed at our camp.
Day 2 and the CDT has been very good to us.