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We are currently on another long distance hike, and the third leg of our "triple crown", the Continental Divide Trail (the "CDT"). Come along with us if you can - if not in person then by following our grand adventure via our "posts from the trail".  Check out our Flickr Photos, which we'll update periodically, and see it through our eyes!

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"Success: To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!" ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Journal June 4th – When is a trail not a trail?

Cool breezes kept the canyon very pleasant all night. The songbirds began their chorus at first light and we rose with them to greet the new day.

We followed the cobbled bottom of the dry streambed to the canyon’s mouth where the trail veered off northeast along the base of the mountain, at the top of the tilted outwash plain. The BLM water cache box where we had yesterday placed 4 gallons of water was still four tenths of a mile down the wash, so we followed the dry wash to the precious water.

After taking a breakfast break and tanking up on water for the day we struck out “cross country” towards the base of the mountains to connect with the “trail.” Since leaving the border the trail has been marked by posts every 200 to 300 yards or so. So far the route has mostly followed a jeep road or the canyon’s dry river bed. Now, through this section the “trail” does not even have that well defined a path, instead the posts point across the rocky landscape and we walk through thorny trees, shrubs, ocotillo and other cactus with barbs, needles and thorns. These are not your every day (cactus) garden variety desert plants; these are flesh ripping, man eating, thorny monsters. In addition, the loose rocks make footing a problem and the sloping plain, incised with frequent arroyos, require some tricky climbs in and out. This is one of those times when a “trail” is NOT a trail; in fact, it really barely qualifies as a “route”. Still, we choose the cactus whack route over the longer, duller, road walk around the Big Hatchets and are rewarded with much better views, jackrabbits and Mule Deer.

The morning hours gradually warm up to a hot day which becomes too miserable to hike in and by 11:15 we seek the shade of an ancient giant juniper tree growing in the bottom of one of the arroyos. We made about 4 miles in the three hours since breafast, along the rocky, thorny non-trail route.

With a trunk nearly three feet across, this Juniper tree has shade to spare and would have tales to tell if it could talk the way the border cactus could listen. We take a 5 hour break underneath it’s arms, napping, eating and waiting for the sun to relent just a little.

The evening is still slow going and at near dark there are still 2.5 miles left before the next water cache, the one we were hoping to arrive at today. Clouds obscure the rising moon and bring a threat of rain. We are low on water but still have enough to make it — better to hunker down for the night rather than try to navigate the trail-less desert at night, especially so close to the border. With just three quarts of water between us, this meant skipping supper not only to save on cooking water but eating takes water to digest. The night air remained warm well into the wee hours….

12 miles

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Clicking on any of these photos will take you to that specific photo on our Flickr Stream, where you can view these and many, many more photos from our latest adventure....or use this shortcut to all photos.....we hope you enjoy them!

People Shots

CDT2010_TheTrailCDT20101_NMWCWMCDT2010_NMWC-1Cliff Dwelling SignCarrot PausesHiker TanCarrot Stream Crossing # 2,115Carrot takes a PhotoCarrot on the TrailCarrot Stream Crossing #5.875Carrot takes a Trail BathCarrot on the Trail still

Scenic Shots

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Flora & Fauna

CDT2010_treesCDT2010_yellowflowersCDT2010-purpleflowersFloraButterfly 2BeaverFloraFlora 3Angry MarmotButterfly