We arose before the sun but not early enough to match Gutsy and Odometer who are heading off down the road as we emerge from our sleeping quilt.
We pack our gear and head out on to the trail. We are a bit disorganise in packing but it is nothing I am sure we can’t sort out in the next few months. For me it is a matter of figuring out where everything is going to go best. Our Zpacks are different from any other pack we have used so it will take a while to work out the best routine.
The first part of the hike has spectacular views across the flats back to Crazy Cook and Mexico and we enjoy the cool air, red sky and desert. We are following a series of wooden poles held up by piles of rocks. It soon becomes a game of spot the pole as some have blown down and others are just hard to spot. To make it even harder, a certain species of cactus looks a lot like a poll when it dies. I am sure once or twice we started following dead cactus rather than the polls.
As the day wore on the sun got hotter and hotter and the trail was hard going due to lots of loose rocks and a lot of time weaving around cactus. Every plant out here seems to have some sort of thorn so even brushing against one leaves its mark. Uyetsga and I are already sporting a good collection of leg scratches.
We set our lunch time goal as the second water cache but due to the morning trail taking longer than expected we did not get there until 1:30, when the day was at its hottest.
We spotted a Continetial Divide trail information sign on the other side of the road and since this was the only shade for miles we headed for it.
When we got closer we found Samo already sheltering from the sun. He graciously cleared us a spot and we all sat down to wait out the heat and have a great conversation about world politics. Samo is very knowledges about politics around the world even knowing the current Australian politics and parties.
We chatted about trail names and Samo taught us how to say his name in Slovenian. He is also doing a blog and it has the word boomerang (spelt Bumerang in his native tongue) in it. We asked how he came up with this and he said he is a typographer and he wanted to start a magazine in Slovenia and he was looking for a word where the letters looked good. He saw Bumerang and liked the look of it. We said this should be his trail name and as an Australian I felt justified in calling him this.
The newly named Bumerang left at 3:30 telling us he would think about the name. At the next trail register we smiled when we saw he signed in using his new name.
We waited in the shade until 4:00. However the sun was still too hot so after an hour of oppressive baking we took shelter behind a bush to wait it out a bit longer. Yeti flopped on the ground and said a few bad words about the temperature. We finished off our 17 miles for the day in the cool of the evening.
Our camp that night was magnificent. We perched on a ridge looking out over the plain with a gigantic full moon rising from behind the hills. As we sat to eat our dinner we both said that there was no where else in the world that we would want to be right then and there. This was the payback for the price we paid to get there. This is what brings long distance hikers to the trail and why we are willing to endure the pain and the effort.
Another great day, another spectacular night and another snake sited.