Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Day 7: Highway 90 to Second Crossing

Hiking the New Mexico CDT in June is a little like volunteering as tribute in the Hunger Games. Extreme temperatures and hardships are just part of the territory. It is easy to understand why we have not seen any other hikers out here. 

But today felt different.  Cruising along a series of ridges on actual trail tread, dipping beneath the shade of towering juniper and oak trees, with a gentle breeze to take the edge off the rising temperatures, felt good. We are hiking in the mountains again, and all is right in the world. Sure, there are no natural water sources, and all of the water we drink is the temperature of tepid coffee. Some of it is even the color of weak coffee or, occasionally, bright yellow antifreeze. But, mountains!

Of course, with mountains come climbing. We climbed into a pine forest, needles carpeting the forest floor. Bright yellow blossoms decorated the prickly pears, while magenta blossoms tipped other cacti. As we climbed still higher, pale lupine occasionally lined the trail. Fluffy gray clouds piled up in the sky, taking the edge off the heat of the day. 

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