Day 16 on the Continental Divide Trail

From my wonderful campsite, the trail (actually a dirt road) wound through ponderosa pine forest gaining elevation slowly. After 2 miles I dropped into a grassy meadow. I found a 10-gallon water cache and hikers Emma and Duckie. They took off and I followed. The trail gained elevation for 4 miles to Mangas Mountain at 9600 ft of elevation. I met hiker Steve tending his feet and Lauren passed by quickly. The descent was rough as the two-track road had lots of loose rocks. My feet held up surprisingly well. At noon I ate lunch in a shady spot with 13 miles on the day. As I lost elevation, the road improved over the next 6 miles. I met hikers Emma, Duckie, Redfeather, Windfoot, 75, and Lauren at a metal stock tank. Lauren turned on a valve and clean water gushed into the tank (see photo). We all filled our water bottles. I hit the trail intending to hike 4 more miles. That would leave only 13 miles to reach Pie Town before the Pie Restaurant closes at 3 pm. The prospect of a piece or two of homemade pie kept me going. At 4:40 I called it a day, stealth camping in piñon-juniper woodland. Happily, my feet didn’t throb when I took off my shoes. A short day tomorrow followed by a rest day might fix my foot problems. 23.1 miles today.

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