Before the trail
Leaving New Zealand and saying goodbye to Corinne and Tim was hard, but sadly everything has to end at some point. I had a rather nice and eventless flight arriving around an hour early in San Francisco.
After getting through customs super fast I was stocked to get out early and meet up with my PCT friend Express for the night. Sadly my luggage was picked out by Customs and Border Protection and was scrutinized for over 45 minutes. I myself was questioned extensively as well and they even called Express to see if she could collaborate my story.
Luckily they decided to let my enter the country and I was on my way to meet Express. She was dog-sitting for the weekend just across the bay in San Francisco. I took a 30 minute boat ride to get to her place and was awarded with beautiful views of San Francisco
The 24 hours I spent with Express were crucial as I not only picked up half a dozen packages I sent her, I also had to send out 3 resupply packages to towns in New Mexico and setup my bounce boxes.
The next day I took a flight to Phoenix to meet up with some more PCT friends: Blackbird (Emi) her fiancé Krafty (Russ) and Tall Boy. After staying a night at some of Krafty’s friends we headed to the first CDT town: Lordsburg.
After a couple of hours of driving and a few stops at various gear stores we arrived at our destination: A small town in New Mexico off an Interstate. We had a room reserved at Econo Lodge, the main hiker hotel in town. This is also were we met up with Yardsale, another PCT friend, who had gotten a different ride to Lordsburg.
Our alarms went off early. We had a shuttle booked through the Continental Divide Trail Coalition (CDT) that was scheduled to leave at 6:30 in the morning. After a quick and rather sleepy breakfast we hopped into our driver Jeffery’s pick up truck; excited but also somewhat nervous, not knowing where this trail would take us.
After a 3 hours long drive, mostly over small dirtroads, we arrived at the Crazy Cook Monument. The CC Monument is the Southern Terminus of the CDT and is situated about 10 yards (10 meters) off the US/Mexican border in the bootheel of New Mexico.
There is a small shelter at the border. There used to be some seating there as well, but apparently it was stolen (most likely by someone south of the border)
View of the border „fence“
The trail heading north of the monument
We started heading north after everyone had gotten their picture taken. The trail started out very flat and was just staying down on the desert floor. It was starting to get hot, so I installed my umbrella. The trail was rather easy to follow as it was marked by almost comically big signs
After a couple of miles we got to our first “water source”: An old abandoned farm. None of us ended up taking water though, as we still had enough from town.
We got to the first official water cache in the late afternoon having picked up two other hikers, Dan and King Crusher, on the way.
Lunch in the only shady spot for miles The water cache
After filling up our water bottles and taking a brake we decided to hike a couple more miles and camp dry (without water). It most certainly was a very fun day, but the hiking wasn’t the most interesting overall as it was just flat on the desert floor.
We started hiking early to take advantage of the cool morning hours. We started hiking along a ridge. The trail was just marked by big wooden poles. In between, the trail often either disappeared or we lost it at some point. We had to check our phones every 5-10 minutes to ensure that we stayed on trail.
We started getting back to the desert floor after a couple of hours where we saw our first rattle snake of the trail
We got to the second water cache about an hour before lunch. It was somewhat low on water so we decided to ration and pick up some water from a cow pond further down the trail.
We had lunch here. After about half of an hour Krafty showed up, without his fiancé blackbird. She decided to hitch back to town on a highway we crossed earlier. Her original plan was to just section hike with us back to Lordsburg (she doesn’t want to thru-hike atm), but she wasn’t really enjoying this section.
I decided not to get water here but some of us did. It most certainly was “interesting”. Here are some before and after filtering pictures.
We hiked on. We were still mainly on the desert floor, but we were now joined by some cattle.
We camped at another tank meant for cattle. This time around the water was rather clean though. We picked up another hiker called Wilson there. It was starting to get windy and clouds started appearing. We all therefore set up our tents wich ended up being a good decision: It started raining/storming soon after. Something I most definitely did not expect in the desert.
None of us had the best night, but that didn’t stop us from heading out early. The weather was still shaky, but dry for now
We still hiked mainly on the desert floor but we finally also started to hike over some hills every now and then. It mostly stayed dry throughout the day, but it did rain for about 15 minutes just before lunch.
Just before we got to the 4th water cache we were greeted by some great news. Apparently there was trail magic 1.5 miles north from there. We also got cell service and Krafty called Blackbird. She already had heard about the trail magic and was planning on meeting up with us there, bringing some beer with her. We ended up having an awesome evening. Cowboy camping in a dome set up by Apple, the man doing trail magic.
The day started with the flatest section so far. We literally didnt gain or lose any elevation in the morning.
We were also intrigued by a weird unknown smell, only to find a dead cow
After finally doing some uphills, we crossed through some hills (on their low points of course) and got to the last water cache before Lordsburg. We were originally planning to fill up here and camp dry a couple of miles out of town, but with the cache having only about 12 liters left, we decided to hike into town. We got a room at Econo Lodge and decided to take a rest day the following day.
Conclusion Border to Lordsburg:
While this probably was not the most interesting section overall, I very much enjoyed it. It was great catching up with people and at least for me the desert has a morbid beauty to it.