Monday, April 27, 2015

And it's real!!! Day 1

Day 1: crazy cook- mile 15.1

I'm glad I had a roommate because I certainly didn't wake up to my alarm this morning, I think I was still pretty exhausted from the travel and general lack of sleep. There was the expected last minute scrambling and then a quick bite of the free continental breakfast and it was time to load up for the ride to the border. 

My carload, from the left Caveman, Thatch, Threshold and myself

9 of us total were starting (at the last minute Thatch grabbed the extra seat, he was supposed to leave the 24th). 
It was a long bumpy ride but so worth it. The shuttle service the CDTC offers is amazing. They drive you down this crazy 4WD road which takes almost 3 hours and have water caches set up for the first 80 or so miles which is a real lifesaver.

Theresa Martinez, the lady behind the whole CDTC was our driver and ridiculously informative during the ride. Giving us a history and geography lesson while pointing out the trail as we passed. It sounds like there are going to be around 150-200 people trying to thruhike the CDT northbound (no idea how many are section v thrus) this year which is a huge jump in numbers compared to the 30 or so who were trying just 5-10 years ago. 

We got to the border, the official Crazy Cook start and after the requisite photos were taken we were off. 

From L: threshold, thatch, me, day man, la la, the Maine Guy, Hanitizer (formerly Caveman), periwinkle (?), and sunjay

Bye bye Mexico, no where near as dramatic as the Southern California border

The first 2.2 miles were easy dirt single track through the desert. 

First CDT sign!!

Lots of mesquite, creosote, and cactus plus a few cows who looked totally oblivious when the border patrol helicopter buzzed us. 

After that is was miles of old dirt road. I figured out that my feet seem to start complaining around the 4-5 mile mark so I made sure to take shoes off snack breaks. Luckily there was some good cover most of the day and a nice breeze. The few hotter spots were made more bearable with my sun umbrella and rests in the shade. 

By 5 Thatch, Hanitizer and I had made the 14 miles to the first cache. We battled bees and enjoyed catching up with everyone as they all pulled up over the next hour. All 9 of us made it no problem. 

I was feeling good and with some of the  dry stretches coming up thought I'd try to make this one a little shorter and push on. Thatch and Hanitizer had the same plan so off we went. 

This next bit is Wilderness area and the pretty blue and white signs are replaced with wood posts. The trail became a real game of Where's Waldo, Yucca looks a whole lot like trail posts in the distance. Plus it was real cross country with so many sharp plants!

The first of the posts in the Ocatillo forest 

Can you see the post, yeah it takes a minute

We only made it about a mile before calling it quits. The wind was whipping, terrain was hard and I was tired. There were some ominous clouds but Thatch and I were cowboy camped in the wind. And then of course it started pouring. Thatch got his tent up quick, me not so much. Wind whipped my stakes out and luckily the guys helped me out. Setting up a tent for the second time ever in wind, pouring rain, and the dark; Yeah not recommended. Regardless bedtime in a mostly dry tent was very welcome. 

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