Day 1 on the Continental Divide Trail

After breakfast at the Econolodge, ten hikers piled into two crew-cab trucks and headed out at 6:40 a.m. We rode first on smooth state highways (no cars passed us) then for three hours on rocky two-track roads. At 10:30 a.m. we reached the southern terminus of the Continental Divide Trail. After photos we started hiking. The trail started as single-track then turned into a two-track. Well signed and easy to follow. I ate a late lunch in a scrap of shade in North Sheridan Canyon wash. I enjoyed bright orange-red ocotillos on the desert slopes and Apache plume shrubs along the wash. The trail gained elevation then dropped into Sheridan Canyon. The wash had been graded by a dozer to provide a path for 4WD vehicles. Another shade break under a spreading hackberry tree then down to the Sheridan Canyon water cache. The slopes of the canyon featured a mixture of shrubs and grasses (see photo). I took three liters and bushwhacked uphill to the trail. The trail morphed into a faint single-track with wooden posts about every 250 yards. The rocky trail ran across a shrubby slope that hammered my poor feet. About 6 pm at mile 17.2, I found a protected shaded camp site and called it a day. My feet rejoiced. Dinner, rehydrating then bed at 8 pm.

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