There was a storm at our backs as we neared Silver City, a winter storm calling for 6 inches of snow. That night, we had to use tents for the first and last time in New Mexico. I was annoyed because it broke our cowboy camping streak. We had slept out every night in New Mexico. Thankfully, it only sprinkled.
Along the road we crossed through the Acoma Indian reservation, under some beautiful bluffs. In the cliffs there were some very old caves. With the wind that blew through our ranks, I could well believe that those caves had been worn out over many centuries. What else could wind do over time?
We had been walking through a food source without knowing it. The trees around us were pinyon pines, they had little seeds in their cones that were not only edible, but delicious. The fire fighters told us that these seeds sold for more than $30 a pound. This newfound knowledge slowed my walking speed considerably over the last few days. Every 40 feet or so, I would stop and pick some seeds off the trees, eat them, and then pick some more.
The skies are different here. They have lots of different shades in distinct lines: dark blue, light blue, pale yellow, orange, pink, red. It kind of makes you want to be up there in the air, and not this boring brush tree desert.
One nice thing about the change in the weather is that we were beginning to see a lot of golden aspen trees. It is almost as though they give off their own light. Even well after sunset, you walk under an aspen tree stand and see the trail light up.
Many of the old buildings made me feel like I was walking through the Old West.
One of the fun things about the Continental Divide Trail is that it is a create your own challenge at times. Because the trail is not officially 100 percent completed there are a lot of ways to do alternates.
“From the very first day of this section, we could see all the way to where we would be in three days. Across a wide, high desert valley we could see a pass that we would eventually cross over to stay on the divide. To our right and in front of us there was a mountain range that the CDT climbs up into twice.”
That day, it only rained for about six hours after lunch. Aiden, my oldest sister, Ethan, my cousin who is walking with us for six weeks, and I listened to some stand-up comedy to pass the time. When we got into camp, after 18 miles, it was still raining. We spent about five minutes looking for some sheltered areas to set up our tent. Once we found three spots we all started setting up our tents as fast as we could.
“My hope is the information I gather can be useful to Trout Unlimited as they continue their conservation efforts, especially regarding climate change. I might even get to meet up with TU staff and volunteers along the trail to learn about what’s happening in their different projects. I look forward to reporting in on what I’m learning about the trout and all the water sheds I encounter on the CDT.”