Yeti here. I am not as good as Walkabout about keeping daily notes but after finishing the first leg of the CDT I wanted to put to words a few of the outstanding impressions and memories of this section.
The desert is an extraordinary experience. It is a harsh, demanding and unforgivable land. At first glance it appears barren and greenery is sparse but what I have learned over they past week is that if you look closely, the desert keeps hidden and protected a vast array of beautiful sights and vibrant life. The desert is full of tiny and hidden flowers this time of year. The cactus flowers display brave and beautiful shades of yellow, gold, pink, red and white. The cactus themselves are covered with thorns and prickly spikes that will not only scratch and cut you if get close but seem to jump at you and attack you if you get even near. But from afar, the colors are spectacular. Where it looks void of life we have seen birds, lizards, snakes, lots of jack rabbits, quail, hawks, antelope and each night or early morning we hear the song of coyotes. The desert is surely alive.
As a small child my earliest desires and fantasies were colored and influenced by horses . As a result, my TV watching episodes were filled with all the old western movies and cowboy and Indian shows. As I walked the first few early days in the desert, the ancestral home to the Apache Indian people, I kept thinking to myself; This is the place! I’ve seen this place a hundred times where the Indians ride up on the top of the cliffs and look down at the the poor suckers they are about to annihilate in the desert. The scenes became real and palpable and my senses filled in every detail of how the air smelled, how the sand felt burning under foot. The feel of the sun glaring down hot and relentless. It all became real. This in itself was a memorable experience.
Then there was Walkabout. I smile even as a type his name. Whereas the desert punishes and purges most of us, he breathes it in and it fills him with exuberance and excitement. When I am thinking, “Whew it’s hot and I want to find some shade and take a break”,
Walkabout is exclaiming “This is incredible and absolutely fantastic!”. He strides off the miles seemingly without tiring, always cheerful, always enthusiastic, always happy. The last couple of days as I hobble into camp after 17 miles of desert walking, Walkabout tells me to take a break as he sets up camp and fixes dinner. Of course I don’t. I believe we are a team and as such we work together but even though I try my best he seems to still do the bulk of the work. It is hard, no it is impossible, not to look at the bright side of every situation and see the beauty of everywhere we go when your partner is so engaged and positive and appreciative of every experience and everything we see. It is a such a blessing and an incentive to travel with such a partner.
So now we look to next week. My feet are still blistered and I am hobbling as much as walking but I feel a pull to go back out. Walkabout has mapped out the route. Water will be scarcer which means we will carry still more weight between sources but still I am looking forward to seeing what lies ahead this week. We have met a few fellow travelers. Bumerang (Samo) from Slovenia, who I hope we catch up with. We convinced him to take this trail name after an interesting afternoon chatting with him, hiding from the afternoon sun in a very small patch of shade cast by a trail sign. He is amazing in his knowledge of world politics and engaging in his description of his country and his culture.
Half mile and Deb, who we have been leap frogging with. We are not sure if we will be on the same route as our new acquaintances as the CDT has many alternates but I can hope.
So till next week at our next layover in Silver City,