A Desert Birthday for Ann

We’ve been waiting out cold weather (though not snowy as predicted), and today seems just warm enough to try an overnight. On our way we detour to the Gilman Tunnels for some mellow climbing on Sierra Corazón 5.5. Then we set off to find a dirt road that I know crosses the Continental Divide Trail, but I’m not certain where it meets the highway. Ann gets skeptical as we continue further and further north, but the road shows up! We follow it to a wide open cow pasture full of sage, where we fill our packs and hike south on the CDT. As we pass Jones Spring the sage pastures turn to canyons, then a mesa top covered with fossil-laden sandstone. We eat our dinner on the windy mesa, then continue to a more sheltered area near another canyon to camp. Here we play with our new tarp ponchos, attempting to construct shelter without much success. Luckily the sky is clear, and a bright moon looks down on us.

The night is colder than we’d hoped. Ann measures a low of 22°F. We both suffer a bit. I think I’m able to sleep more than Ann, me in my 40°F summer bag and Ann in her -5°F REI Halo. Being a cold sleeper is a big deal when backpacking.

In the morning I build a tiny fire and we have a little birthday Ceremony for Ann. The sun comes, it warms up, and the desert welcomes us again.

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