Thursday, December 19, 2013

Deming, New Mexico to the Mexican Border: CDT 2013

Cotton fields and the Florida Mountains
 "I'm a desert creature," my friend Answerman once said while hiking the PCT in Southern California in 2010.

 His words were ringing in my ears while finishing the CDT. While I am not of Middle Eastern descent as Answerman was, I still couldn't help feel that I really, really like the desert. In fact, I am looking forward to the day when I can return to New Mexico.

 The final two days on the CDT were more contemplative in nature. I decided to walk the highway and meet up with the final few miles of the Columbus route near the Three Sisters. There was snow in the Florida Mountains, and the route through them was described as "very steep." I couldn't bring myself to face any possible lethal snowfields during the final days. I was surprised by the amount of traffic and the amount of housing that exists between Deming and Columbus. As a result, I had a tough time finding a campsite along the road on my first night.

Colorado's roads were covered with banana peels. Southern New Mexico roads were covered with cotton and chili peppers.
 I set up camp in a spot along the highway that seemed hidden and away from any housing. Just as I was falling asleep, I could here a horse braying, and then a woman talking. It sounded like they were a few feet away from my tarp. As it turned out, I had set up camp in the dark and there was a house directly across the highway from where I set up camp. It was the night before Thanksgiving, the holiday's had begun. I didn't want to disturb any one's holiday so I quietly broke down camp and found a different spot farther down the road in a wash. I cowboy camped and nearly froze to death again as the dew soaked my sleeping bag and eventually turned to ice in the middle of the night.
Snow 10 miles north of the Mexican border!
Thanksgiving dinner
 The following day was Thanksgiving. I continued down the highway towards Columbus. Road walking really was and is dangerous. I always walked facing traffic. I was amazed how many times during my road walks along the CDT that a person in a vehicle from behind would attempt to pass another vehicle in the exact spot where I'd be walking on the shoulder, passing at high speeds just a foot or two from my right arm scaring the shit out of me. It's impossible to keep looking over your shoulder to see what the cars are doing from behind. Unfortunately, you can't trust them.
Last campsite of the CDT. Three sisters to the north

 I was so glad to get off the highway and rejoin the Columbus route for the final stretch of trail near the Three Sisters. I couldn't ask for a more peaceful campsite for my last night on the trail, Thanksgiving. I could see the town of Columbus, just three miles away, as well as the Mexican town of Palomas, on the other side of the border. I said a prayer of Thanksgiving. I was still alive and had survived and completed the CDT, despite my faith and belief system being shaken to the core. I am still processing what it all means.

Last mile
 When I reached the town of Columbus the next morning, Black Friday, I stopped by the gas station and purchased a cigar to celebrate the final three miles to the border.
"Are you starting the trail or finishing?" the man behind the counter asked me.
"Finishing!" I exclaimed, shaking off the final insult, the last explanation for why I was hiking so late in the season!
The end
An hour later, I was standing at the border. This journey, that words simply cannot do justice for, was over.


  1. Yee-ha! :D Hiking from Canada to Mexico or Mexico to Canada twice. That's just too cool for words.

    Who's the guy carved out of the tree? I was going to guess Junipero Serra, but maybe Jedediah Smith? (I may have misspelled both of their names).

  2. Skyhiker, I don't know who the guy is! I thought it was St. Francis!

  3. I was trying to decide if he looked Franciscan or like a mountain man. St. Francis, it is, then!