Day 33: Water, Road and Mary

Our first job this morning was to filter water out of a cattle trough. Our filter had been getting slower and slower and even though we had back flushed it several times we were down to just a dribble even when I was leaning heavily on the dirty water bag. We wanted to get four litres of clean water and we would carry 2 litres of dirty water. This is a task that would normally take about 20 minutes but this morning it took over an hour. Check the photo of Yeti squeezing the bag and you can see the frustration on her face.

A lot of today’s walk is along a dirt road through relatively  flat land. While the  expansive vistas are always impressive Yeti’s leg was still giving her trouble and she wanted something to distract her and she asked if I had an audio book we could listen to. It just so happened that I had loaded a book for just such an occasion. The book was Mathew Flinders Cat by Byrce Courtney. It is set in Sydney in many of the places I know well and Yeti has visited several times on our trips to Australia so it had some extra interest. The narrator is Australian and it also gave Yeti a chance to practice her Australian accent and learn some more great Australian sayings.

While listening to the book the miles pass easily. We always seem to stop every couple of hours for a foot break. This morning we find some shade under a tree next to a dry dam and sit down for a snack.

As we put our packs back on we notice a lone hiker some distance back along the road. From where we stand the hiker looks to be moving fast. We hike on and within half an hour she has caught us. I look at her and even though she looks considerably different I recognise her as Mary, the woman that gave a talk at Denver REI about hiking the CDT. We purchased her book, Married to the Trail, and I have been following her blog of the same name Married to the Trail. She is trying to complete a calendar triple crown. This means she is attempting to hike all three long distance hikes, the Appalacian Trail, The Pacific Crest Trail and the Continetial Divide Trail in one year. This is a total of 7500 miles and when she completes it she will be the first woman to achieve this goal. She completed the AT during winter and it looked miserable. She is now mowing down the CDT averaging 27 miles a day and will then go on to the PCT. We hiked with her for a while at a pace faster than what we have been doing due to Yeti’s injury but it was interesting talking to her about her hike so far. We knew however if we tried to keep pace with Mary Yeti would pay for it later. We pulled over and let Mary get on with hiking her hike. We see Mary twice more that day, the last time just as we are heading down to the bottom of a canyon to get water before finding somewhere to camp for the night. Mary still has another 3 hours hiking to do before she calls it a day.

The water is about 1/2 a mile off the trail and several hundred feet vertically down a canyon. It is a beautiful spot with two water tanks and a small stream flowing. We fill our water bag and hang it up to gravity feed while we head down stream to have a much needed wash. It is always such a pleasure and one of the things we really enjoyed on the Colorado Trail when you can stop near a stream at the end of the day. The water might be cold but that small bit of pain can make your nights sleep much more enjoyable when you are not all dirty and sticky with sweat. I wash all over and rinse out my shirt and just love the cool feel of the clean water on my skin contrasting against the warm sun that is filtering through the trees into the bottom of the canyon.

Our water filter had totally packed it in. We are at the water for an hour and all the water we had filtered we have used to back flush to try and get the filter working. In the end we give up and just take our chances the water is good untreated.

As we are finishing up The Beast arrives to get his fill of water. We camp about a mile past the water while the Beast continues on with a plan to hike until about 8 that night.