One year ago today, SpiceRack, Crunchberry, Rooster, and I reached the southern terminus of the CDT at the Crazy Cook monument. It sits in an enormous basin of Chihuahuan Desert, where distances are so large that progress is measured in days, not hours. And it’s a difficult place to reach. One either has to walk there like we did, though not necessarily all the way from Canada, or risk losing an axel to mud or stone on 30 miles of rumbly dirt road. For us, it seemed like an arbitrary place to end our journey. Why here? After all, we’d been walking for 149 days now, and this spot seemed no different than the place we camped the night before, or the one before that. Who knows why the bootheel of New Mexico is shaped like it is? Who knows why someone decided to put the CDT’s southern terminus in such a difficult-to-reach spot? Well, Google probably knows, but it doesn’t matter. For better or worse, our journey had to end, and Crazy Cook was as good a place as any to stop walking south.
The last days of our journey were some of the best. I don’t think any of us would have said no to dragging it out a little longer, hiking maybe 100 more miles. After racing to beat the snows through Colorado, finding out that New Mexico can get snow too, and then learning that it doesn’t need to snow to be cold, the deep breathe of southern New Mexico was something to savor. Warm days, long nights, being awake through both golden hours, hiking four-wide on dirt roads of forgotten purpose, riddles, inside jokes, the distant horizon, the fascinating flora, the dust, the grime. Even the rain was welcome. With it came cooling cloud cover, the rich scents of petrichor and creosote, and the visual candy of an arching rainbow, buzzing electric on a backdrop of gray rain. The last days were magical. Of course they were.
As I huddle comfortably inside, insulated from the elements in stubborn denial that winter has arrived, it’s hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that we were still out there living in it just last year. The appeal is no longer immediately obvious, but I trust that it’s still there. I like showers, warm burritos, hot tea, and flush toilets, yet for some reason, whenever I am here on the couch, I think about being out there in the dirt. Perhaps I should pay attention to that feeling, because out there on the CDT, I would have ignored the comfiest couch if only to buy me and my friends 100 more miles. A fair trade.
The good news is that accompanying these rambling thoughts is my final CDT photo album. The pictures span from the last few miles of Colorado, all the way south to the US-Mexico border. Unlike the shots in previous CDT photo albums, a lot of these have already been featured on my daily posts so don’t be surprised if you recognize something. Enjoy!
Mile 2,050 to 2,721
Day 119 to 150
Chama, NM to Mexico!
This week I’ll recommend a shower, warm burrito, hot tea, and a couch to enjoy with these photos.