10/20: 26 mi (Hwy 90 road walk to Lordsburg)
It was hard summoning the strength to leave Silver City and the comfort of the Triple Crown Hostel, but leave we must. Home was yearning, and once again, we, like many other SOBOs opted for the 41-mile road walk to Lordsburg. Our thought, also, was that it was straight forward, and if we carried enough water, we could make it to where the trail crosses the highway for water and to camp. What we ended up doing was calling to have “Mama Bear” from the EconoLodge to see if Ray (her husband) could pick us up at where the CDT and Hwy 90 cross. What we didn’t realize, or ask, was the price for this pickup and drop-off the next morning. Turns out that it was way more expensive than we ever imagined. In hindsight, we should have watered up at mile 15 into the road walk at the Ridge Park RV park and walked to within at least 5 miles of the next reliable water source on the CDT (Engineer’s Windmill / mile 2876.9), as reports had it that the Juniper Springs Tank was empty. This would have made it a 30-34 mile day (but only a 15 mile water carry from the RV park). Totally doable under the days’ conditions.
For a highway walk, it was relatively easy and devoid of major traffic. In fact, there was very little traffic at all. This made for an “enjoyable” zombie walk accented by audio heroin, in the form of music and pod casts. The shoulder was wide and as usual was littered with Bud Light cans. It was however, not flat! Who’d of thunk that this section would continue to be rolling hills with lengthy climbs?! New Mexico you are sneaky and definitely unpredictable. Even so, you have retained the title of our favorite state. We even got some trail magic from “Solo” who is a trail angel searching for CDT hikers to provide trail magic. She normally sets up near Burro Mountain, but had heard that most (if not all) of the SOBO CDT’ers were skipping the “redline” and walking Hwy 90. She showered us with fresh fruit, sodas and snacks. We were so grateful for this unexpected magic.
Eventually Ray picked us up and transported us to the EconoLodge. We had a bit of a miscommunication about the price of the ride, and his availability of taking us back to our pick-up point tomorrow. This has led to a change of plans.
10/21: 19 mi slack pack
We never ended up getting a ride back up to mile 2868.8, where the CDT and Hwy 90 cross, but we did make up the 19 miles. In fact, we slack packed those miles for the day and walked from the EconoLodge and onto the CDT for a roundtrip of 19 miles.
We did so in NOBO fashion, walking out of Lordsburg as if we had started from the Southern Terminus. But first we had to find where the CDT left Hwy 90 and entered the desert landscape.
This required a careful slither under a barbwire fence. No wonder people just walk the highway!
With no footsteps to follow, and trail marker stuffed into a “tree”, we oriented ourselves via the redline on our Guthook (FarOut) app and took a compass heading. Let the games begin!
This “outing” would prove to be highly beneficial, in that it would give us significant practice in route finding via CDT “signage”. The signs, which are few and far between tend to get lost in the muted terrain. Finding a 1ftx1ft sign on a 6ft narrow pole in this desert landscape was a challenge. Our binos once again proved to be invaluable. This also gave Jan another chance to find a rattlesnake.
We walked out 10 miles on the CDT redline, and then cut over to hwy 90 for our return to Lordsburg. It was getting hot and our water supply was getting low.
Upon our return to the bustling town of Lordsburg, we completed our resupply for the remaining leg of this amazing journey. There is not much to choose from in Lordsburg, but it is sufficient for our needs.
A liquor store for cold beers. Several grocery style stores to choose from. A McDonalds for chocolate shakes. Pizza. Mexican food. And, Kranberry’s Family Restaurant, across the street from the EconoLodge serves pretty good food for a reasonable price.
Lordsburg was founded in 1880 as a railway town, like most new towns of the west in that era. It severed the Southern Pacific Railroad route. The railroad is still an integral part of this town. Of note, this town houses and boast of the first airport in New Mexico (1938), and was a stop on Charles Lindbergh’s transcontinental Spirit of Saint Louis air tour in 1927. During WWII, Lordsburg was the site of an Army operated Japanese Internment camp (housing over 1500 Japanese) and a POW camp for captured German and Italian soldiers.
With a withering population of under 2,000 people, Lordsburg was once the largest gas-food-lodging stops between Arizona and Texas. It also was one of the only cities that welcomed (did not discriminate against) people of color at their motels, during the mid-20th century. Sadly, its once thriving 21 motels, 20 cafe and 31 service stations has withered to 12 motels, 8 “cafes”, and 4 fuel/service stations. Faster and more fuel-efficient vehicles led to this current economic decline.
Nearby is the Gold-mining ghost town of Shakespeare. It listed as a National Historic Site. It is privately owned, but operates tours. With regret, we did not have the opportunity to check this place out. We had places to go, and a defined window of time.
Case in point, our son would pick us up in 5 days at the Southern Terminus monument located at *”Crazy Cook Corner”.
*Crazy Cook Corner is so named for an incident that occurred near what is now the Southern Terminus of the Continental Divide Trail. It is here that a chuck wagon cook, lost his shit and killed a cowboy by the name of Frank Evan, with an axe on May 1, 1907.
Having our son pick us up at the monument would literally save us $120/each, as this is/was the going rate for a ride to/from the monument. The price also includes water supplied at the caches. A year and a half prior, we had paid for this service through the CDTC, but when COVID happened, “donated” the money to the CDTC rather than have them process a refund. Thus, we feel comfortable using the water supplied in the caches, if needed.
And so begins our last leg on this fantastic and brutiful adventure.