Day 5

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Black Diamond Draw to Ninetysix Ranch
15 mi ::
71 mi ::
Sunny and windy!

The first half of our day is spent looking for roads that aren’t there. We even go to a GPS coordinate – nothing but fences and cows. Either things have changed since the guidebook author hiked this segment, or he was subject to vivid hallucinations. The searching causes us some aggravation, but once we give up and just head for Separ cross-country, we’re fine. We get more practice crossing barbed-wire fences, hoping we’re still on public land.

By the time we reach Separ it’s getting really windy, and the horizon is obscured by a giant dust cloud. At the Continental Divide Trading Post we encounter the first people since we started, Howard and Judy Carey. They have ridden their tandem mountain bike up from San Diego, and are now headed north up the continental divide bike route. We exchange some quick stories, then wish them luck as they ride off into the wind.

We stay to eat some sugar and make some calls before we follow them. The wind is crazy, but it’s mostly behind us. so the flying dust isn’t too uncomfortable. We walk on a dirt road, buffeted by winds, watching the strange spectacle of dust storms around us.

We take refuge and make dinner at a stock tank. It provides some shelter from the wind, but we get splashed by water blowing over the edge.

Another short windy walk and we come to a section of road with fence on both sides, so we decide to camp. There are no sheltered spots, so we walk off a ways and find the best place we can for the tent. The wind seems to be dying down now, so we may have a peaceful night.

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