36 minutes ago
CDT day 17 • May 21st • mile 469.2 to 496.6 • 27.4 distance (this post contains multiple photos): I got going at 9AM this morning. The route continued along NM-117 for seven miles, and then, after 65 miles of road walking, the CDT got back on to a trail! It followed posts and then entered a lava field, clambering up and around old lava flows. An interesting change of pace, though the rocks are very sharp and don't make for easy walking, so I was glad this didn't last too long.
After a while the trail went back on to the open treeless plain. At 11 miles in to the day I stopped for lunch. There was no shade to be found so my umbrella came in handy, despite a capricious breeze that made it a bit of a handful to keep in place.
I stopped for water at a cattle tank fed by a windmill. You see a lot of these windmills around, though in many cases the pumps have been converted to be powered by solar panels, this one was still mechanically driven by the windmill. I like the simplicity of this system, just a direct linkage from the output shaft of the windmill down to a pump, a pipe to a storage tank and a float valve in a trough that maintains a good water level for the cattle (or hikers 🙂)
The trail finally entered a hilly, forested area. It was well marked with cairns and CDT logos, though it's clear that it doesn't get much use. I stopped for the night at 8:30PM, cowboy camping near another cattle tank water source.
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