Day 7 – Figuring This Trail Out
April 28, 16.0 miles / 77.5 total hiked
With a long hike you quickly learn to adapt to the trail or be punished. I like to be in control of things in the real world but being forced to adapt to the situation, and succeeding, is one reason I like thru hiking – you have to hike the hike you are dealt and that requires being flexible. Case in point… Thinking you can hike to your own schedule like 7am to 7pm. The reality is 1:00pm to 5:00pm has been miserably hot to hike in, especially since the temps here are 40-50 degrees warmer than what we left at home. That is made worse when there is little breeze (i.e. cooling) but occasional strong wind gusts (i.e. cannot use the umbrellas).
The heat comes from all directions. Like the two heating elements in an oven, you can choose to forgo the umbrella and be broiled from above or use the umbrella and be baked from a bubble of reflected hot air and body heat that accumulates under the umbrella till a puff of wind clears it.
If you are following the Delorme track you will see us stop in the afternoon, sometimes for several hours, then resume and hike until 8 or 9pm after the worst of the heat has subsided.
While taking that afternoon siesta we have been getting dinner out of the way so when we find a spot to camp we just pitch the tent and climb in.
Hiking in the good hours of the day has been great! You often see the target for the next day or two as a small feature on the horizon across a massive flat plain.
We always have to be careful about water planning as we are going through a lot of it but occasional solar wells give the option of avoiding cow troughs between the water caches. This one served double duty as we hid in a small pool of shade for an hour while eating some lunch.
Peak of the day: Seeing Gina starting to hike like the thru hiker I know she is
Valley of the day: the unrelenting sun… and it has not even been really hot by New Mexico bootheel standards – I feel for those starting later this week