CDT 2021: Day 5, Rockhouse Canyon to Lordsburg

These are the contents of my head

Today was our first town day on the trail, though we had already been to this town. The trail went through the middle of Lordsburg, the same town from where we rode a shuttle to the southern terminus four days ago.

DateSaturday, April 17, 2021
WeatherPartly cloudy with temperatures from low-40s to low-70s
Trail ConditionsSome short ups and downs over hills, ending in a flat road walk into town
Today's Miles12.8
Trip Miles80.8

Going into the same town a second time had some advantages. We already knew what businesses and services we would find there.

Best of all, I left a box of food where we stayed the night before we started. Now I wouldn't have to buy much for the next section of the trail.

Zigzag and I were packed and ready to go at the same time, so we left camp together. Sunshine was the last to leave this time.

The trail made a gentle climb from our campsite and continued its direction toward Pyramid Peak.

We saw more cattle on the trail today than any other so far. They saw us too, stopping to blankly stare as we walked past.

I couldn't help but wonder, what do they think about when they qawk at me?

The trail curved around the base of Pyramid Peak before beginning another modest climb over a ridge. This was our shortest day on the trail so far. With no significant elevation gain or loss, the walking was easy.

The day started with an overcast sky, but the thin layer of clouds mostly cleared away by 9 a.m.

As the trail rounded the mountain, I passed a bulldozer that sat rusting on a dirt road. This made me wonder why someone would just leave a piece of expensive equipment like that. What happened? Did the owner say, "It won't start! Oh well, I guess I'll just leave it here."

Several cattle stood around nearby. Some were calves hanging close to their mothers. Unlike most cattle we've seen that had to graze on desert plants, these were given hay to feed on.

Other things I wondered about today were the fences and gates we sometimes had to cross. Nearly all hikers are respectful of these and try to close any gate they pass through. Still, some are poorly maintained. It seems like they could fall apart if nudged by cattle.

Do cattle ever do that? Do they want to leave and explore other parts of the world?

Later, I saw a steer wandering alone down the road. Did this one escape from the group, or was he part of a different herd on this side of the fence?

I had so many questions today that went unanswered.

When the trail reached the next fence, it didn't go through it, with or without a gate. This time, the trail turned and followed the fence for about a mile.

The last water cache before Lordsburg was at the end of this fence line.

Zigzag and I reached the water cache sooner than I had expected. Baguette arrived shortly after us and was soon followed by Sunshine and a hiker we hadn't met yet, Ohm. He told us he started from Crazy Cook the day after us.

At some of the places where the trail crossed a fence, there was a metal stile. It was designed for hikers to cross a fence while preventing livestock from doing the same.

They are also used on other trails, but the ones we found here had a frustratingly narrow opening. Whoever installed them wasn't thinking about a hiker carrying a large backpack.

It was difficult to scoot through the stiles without snagging clothing or a pack. In some cases, the opening was so narrow that I had to remove my pack first and hoist it over the fence.

The trail made another modest climb over a ridge, then began a long and smooth descent toward town. We walked part of the way with Baguette before she picked up speed and cruised ahead.

Later, we met a hiker named Vince, who didn't stay long with us because he was craving McDonald's hamburgers.

The last hiker to catch up to us was Sunshine. He walked with us the rest of the way into town. He also showed Zigzag and me an easier way to make it through one of those narrow stiles. By stepping on the metal cross pieces, it was possible to lift our body and pack above the narrow gap and make it through without snagging anything.

"Why didn't I think of that?" I asked myself.

The last part of the trail followed an asphalt road into town. The sky was now mostly clear, and the temperature was near 70ºF. The asphalt made the walk seem hotter than it was.

We arrived in town shortly after 1 p.m., and the first thing we did was head for a Mexican restaurant.

The rest of the day was spent with the usual town chores: showering, shopping, and laundry.

The laundry part didn't go so well. There was no detergent at the hotel, but I found a bottle at the grocery store for the surprisingly low cost of $1.00. I should have expected a product this inexpensive would not clean well.

The first run through the washing machine failed to get my clothes clean. After some hand-scrubbing and running the machine again, they were acceptably clean, though still with a few stains.

I'm a thru-hiker, though, and I doubt anyone expects me to be spotless.

While doing laundry, I sorted the food I left at the hotel on our first stay here. After calculating the miles to Silver City, I realized I had more food than I needed.

There were two reasons for this. We walked farther each day in the first section than planned, and we will need to take an unplanned alternate in the next section. The Forest Service said part of the way was closed because of a scheduled controlled burn.

My leftover food wasn't going to waste, however. Taxilady agreed to take a box with her and deliver it to me when we reached Silver City. I gave it to her when Zigzag and I met her and Doggone for dinner at the same restaurant we ate at five nights ago.

Zigzag and I were done with most of the flattest part of the desert. Would we now be able to slow down? Why were we in a hurry when we knew there was still a lot of snow in Colorado?

More unanswered questions, and among the ones I asked myself today, these mattered most.

This is the book I never read
These are the words I never said
This is the path I'll never tread
These are the dreams I'll dream instead
This is the joy that's seldom spread
These are the tears
The tears we shed
This is the fear
This is the dread
These are the contents of my head
And these are the years that we have spent
And this is what they represent
And this is how I feel
Do you know how I feel?
'Cause I don't think you know how I feel
I don't think you know what I feel
I don't think you know what I feel
You don't know what I feel

From "Why" by Annie Lennox

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"Nothing to tell now. Let the words be yours, I'm done with mine."ref.