Day 2: Chihauhaun Desert + Big Hatchet Wilderness

We woke up around 6:15 to the start of a beautiful sunrise. Last night the full moon had kept us all awake most of the night, but it was kind of nice to know that we were all on the same page of no sleep. We packed up our things, each got a bite to eat and hit the "trail." 


Same as last night, the trail existed as the distance between four foot tall 4x4's held upright by large rocks. In a perfectly flat world void of vegetation, these would be fairly easy to spot. Amidst arroyos (steep gullies created by flash floods storming down the mountains), dense scrub brush and broken agave flower stems, these became extremely difficult to spot. Due to the zig zagging search for these posts to keep us on track, our mileage seemingly doubled. Each time we reached a post, a trail came together from all directions and then left towards the next post in the same fashion. Throughout the first four miles of this, we found eight posts that were toppled over and placed them back upright for the next day's hikers.



After eight trail miles of following this (no telling how many miles we actually walked), we came to a field where we found actual CDT signs. Thank goodness we were still on the CDT! A couple sandy, cow poop filled miles later and we were happily welcomed by our second water cache of the hike. We filled up for another dry camp and walked across the highway to sit underneath the shade of a sign and wait out the heat of the day.


After laying down for thirty minutes or so, a border patrol officer drove past us, slowed down and made an u-turn and pull up next to us. 


"You guys need a gallon of water" he yelled from his truck.


Might as well we all thought. He walked the cold water over towards us and when we mentioned the heat, his response had us shaking our heads. "This weather is nice just wait for two more weeks or so."

 Jeez... we thanked our hindsight for getting us on the trail in early April, even though it seemed early at the time. 


Our morning was not terrible. Yes, it was hot and the sun was inescapable, but everything around us was amazingly beautiful. Everything out here has thorns and is prickly. The cactuses and brush ripped our legs to pieces, but they offered the most beautiful wildflowers sporting the most amazing colors. It is amazing how such beautiful wildflowers grow smaller and closer to the ground to adapt to life out here. Almost everything is in bloom. It is the kind of beauty that even in pain keeps you trekking, and that is just what we did. The jack rabbits sure do help too.


After lunch, we headed on into our new terrain of flat, bare desert. A handful of miles  in, the "trail" became a trail along a "road". Easy miles to end a hard day. We found flatter ground and decided to set up camp. The sun was still up and hot, but during dinner it finally tucked itself behind the mountains. This moment was such a huge relief for us all.

 Dinner was finished, we got ready for bed, and we laid down for the night. The stars were not out yet and the sun was still setting. Not quite hiker's midnight (9 PM) which means more sleep for us. Hot days mean early mornings to make as much mileage as we can before the heat arrives. We felt it today but overall it was a good day.

Moonrise over our campsite. 

Moonrise over our campsite.