Day 39

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Arroyo Chico to Arroyo Piedra Lumbre
21 mi ::
471 mi ::
Morning overcast, then some clouds, warm, breezy

We start following cairns into the mesa lands today. They are visually appealing formations with sculpted clay and sandstone, and lots of blooming wildflowers. There are often fabulous views of the jumbled surrounding country.

We stop by a juniper for a cold breakfast. This saves stove fuel, which we’re low on, and water. Our next water source is a spigot which should be reliable.

The spigot is hard to find when we reach the spot, but it’s there and working. We fill our water bags and carry them to a shady spot for dinner. We also take a sponge bath. Every time one of us starts getting wet the sun goes behind a cloud and the wind comes up and freezes us. In the end it feels great though.

We decide to take a calculated chance with water, as we often do. The next water source is a windmill our book calls reliable. We think we can reach it tonight carrying two liters apiece. If there isn’t water there, we’ll have to cut to NM44 and possibly get water from cars or the Rio Puerco.

We walk and walk, leaving the cairned route for roads, but find no windmill. After exceeding 20 miles for the day we stop and camp, disappointed and anxious.

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