May 16th
Mt. Taylor (419.2)-Near Laguna del Cerro (445.1)
Today was a rough day for me. We got to hiking about 6:45am this morning. Thankfully, it wasn’t freezing outside. We had about 1,500ft to climb over 2mi to summit Mt Taylor at 11,301ft, our highest point thus far. Mt Taylor isn’t on the “official” CDT, but it is the route 99% of hikers take. It parallels the official CDT and reconnects about 10mi later. I am sensitive to high elevation and was slow going up, but it was quick and only took an hour to get to the top. My inner ears hurt and I was nauseous. I adjust to elevation over time, but this was much higher than anything we’ve been doing so I felt it. We all loved the scenery on Mt Taylor and were happy to be on a mountain. We even saw and walked on our first patches of snow on the north side. It had me thinking of what we have to look forward to two weeks from now when we enter the San Juan Mtns in Colorado.

Love Note was the first one up to the summit and sitting up there were some heart shaped sunglasses. So perfect for her! It was fate!

The rest of the day was mostly on a rocky dirt road that was first a gentle downhill and then later in the afternoon uphill. I think the combination of the elevation in the morning and me going through monthly stuff just had me wiped out. I just wanted to lay down and I knew this leg might be like this. I didn’t mind at all that the group took three breaks today. At 11am, we hit our last water source for 25mi…that means that we needed to grab enough water for most of today, camping and dinner tonight, and the first 8mi tomorrow. That means we had to carry as much as we could and that added 9lbs to my pack weight. I don’t feel like I noticed much of a difference physically, but mentally I knew I was carrying it.
We can see Balls and Sunshine’s footprints just ahead of us since they did not take the Mt Taylor route. We may not catch them this leg, but may be able to leave the next town together. It is difficult to coordinate with us taking parallel trails at times when we choose the alternates, but we are trying to overlap when we can.
After going over Mt Taylor, the day just seemed to tick by soooo slowly! I felt like a zombie all day. Just in a daze with not energy and just trying to put one foot in front of the other. I couldn’t wait to lay back down on my comfy NeoAir and in my warm sleeping bag and it felt like an eternity. The rocky road was especially annoying because each step was uncomfortable with rocks poking into our feet. The large fields we went through were nice at first and soon got very boring. It pretty much looked like this most of the day.

I lagged toward the back most of the day and enjoyed being with the group so I could just follow and be on auto pilot. This group works really well together and everyone is really enjoyable to be around. I feel fortunate to be around strong and responsible hikers like them that work well together. I listened to music to try to help the time pass, but that wasn’t helping much. The sun was strong and it was exposed most of the day, which added to my frustrations. At the end of the day, I brought out the big guns and started the Ellen Degeneress audiobook I just got recently from a woman named Candace. Thanks again Candace!
We ended the day around 7:15pm, and I was drained and felt achy and sore. Once I sat for awhile I started to feel better and I know I’ll sleep well tonight. I was very happy to have a Mountain House from Cedar so I didn’t have to put energy into cooking and all I had to do was boil water and pour it in the bag tonight. Thank you Cedar!

I know this zombie funk is temporary and will happen every month for me, so I just need to ride it out. I’m tired, good night.

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