The dropoff

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I wake up to a loud alarm at 6 am in the Palace Hotel in Silver City. I kiss Ann and she mumbles “no,” and turns over. I dress and venture out for coffee, but Silver City appears to be closed on Sunday. This doesn’t improve Ann’s mood.

Peter sniffs out a place to eat with seemingly random driving, and we load up on huevos rancheros. The coffee is pretty bad. This doesn’t improve Ann’s mood either.

We drive to Lordsburg, picking out the spots we’ll walk by again in a week or so. After that, the landscape opens way up. Recent rain has turned it an optimistic green.

We drive. And drive. At one point Peter just shakes his head and laughs, “You guys got a laaaahhhhht of walking to do…” When I look out across the vast spaces, I get sharp little shots of fear and excitement approaching panic. We really will be a long way from anything.

We find the spot where the trail crosses NM9 and bury our cache for 3 days from now. We hope no one sees three crazy gringos burying something in the desert. I think it’s fun burying things! Ann says “hmmf.”

The dirt road at the spot in the guidebook seems pretty bad, but we crawl along it for 20 minutes and it joins a better one. Still, it takes over an hour to cover the next 20 miles. Peter stops once to look in a stock tank and reports algae a foot thick. We’re glad it’s not one of our planned water sources. The next one looks like pea soup. We drop off some fresh water there.

A Mexican border guard is parked right across the fence at the border. Peter parks facing him, and they both get out and walk to the fence. Peter asks, “Is this the border?” The guard says, “No understand.” Peter then lets out a stream of broken Spanish, and the guard shakes his head. Finally he seems convinced we aren’t trying to cross and goes back to his truck.

The only marker here is one small faded plastic CDT sign on a fence post. We take some pictures, thank Peter, and say goodbye.

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