Heidenreich & Gass: CDT Thru-Hikers

Trail Dispatch: Week 1

April 26, 2000: Sarah and Adrianne here in Hachita, New Mexico, on day four of our hike. So far we've come about 64 miles, and we are feeling it.

The first 26 miles was a mixture of x-country and old jeep roads. We then met up with the "official" Continental Divide Trail, which we didn't even know existed until a chance meeting the day before we stared with another hiker in the post office. We stayed on the official route for about 20 miles and then left it to follow our planned route, which went directly into Hachita. We also diverged from this route because of private land and ended up on a paved road (how embarassing :]) for the last 10 miles. Part of this decision was due to what was told to us by a customs officer at the border. One of the officers on duty was very concerned about us going out alone in an area which she described as "extremely dangerous" becuase of the increased drug trafficking and associated violence. She was so concerned that she offered to drive us to Columbus to start our hike there. With all the things we had been warned about, we had never considered or heard anything about this. We decided to stick to our route, but to camp in the mountains at night, where the likelihood of such activity seemed lower than in the plains. Thus, in an effort to sleep safe in town we spent the last ten miles on the road.

We have slowly been adjusting to the open space and how different distance looks here. This has added challenge to our orienteering (as has compensating for the declination to the east 12 degrees—not to the west). With no amount of imagining could we have predicted the feeling of the 2pm heat with 1 quart of water left, the next windmill 5 miles off, and the possiblity of it being dry.

Check out Sarah and Adrianne's gear lists.


Sign up to Away's Travel Insider

Preview newsletter »