Wind, sand, heat, scorpions and snakes will greet me as I start the first leg of my CDT adventure in New Mexico. It’s a beautiful, yet harsh landscape, where water supplies are limited. Here’s how I’m planning my trip for the first 5 sections in New Mexico.
My start date is Saturday, April 20th. I will solely be using the Ley Maps and taking the Columbus vs. the Crazy Cook route. My research shows there is better water along the route and it is more scenic as well. It is also the easiest to reach and since my family is driving me down to Deming, I wanted it to be easily accessible for them as well. They will not be taking me to the actual border because honestly, I don’t think it’s safe for my sister, mom and nephew to be in that area. It’s fine for me but, not something that I’m completely comfortable with.
The ride to the border will be with Keith from Deming, NM. Keith is a long time trail angle from Deming and offers rides to the border for only $25. He will tell you exactly how to get back to Deming, alert border patrol of your presence and knows the local landscape.
Here is my plan for the first 5 sections out of 10. I’ve split them up with the help of Yogi’s CDT Handbook and various other resources:
(Mileage is my own estimates; please do your own research as well-this is also in North bound order)
Section 1- Mexican Border to Deming: 68 miles
Ley Maps Columbus 11-7 – Local Resupply
After taking some pictures and walking a couple of feet into Mexico I’ll start heading north. Now it’s time to stop dreaming, and time to start doing. My plan is to take it easy in this first section. I plan on putting in some easy miles and not get too excited. I don’t want to push it too hard, too fast, and risk an injury. I do not plan on doing anything as I walk through Columbus except maybe pop into a convenience store.
Section 2- Deming to Emory Pass ( Hwy 152) 69 miles
Ley Maps Columbus 6-3 – Hitch 40 miles to Silver city- Local Resupply
I plan on leaving a resupply box and Heet at Keith’s to keep things easy and to keep up my early momentum. This will make for a quick and easy exit out of Deming after staying the night, probably in Keith’s back yard. Hopefully take a shower and wash some clothes. Once I’m in Deming I’ll tell my sister to mail my package to Doc Campbell’s because this is a must for resupply. This gives it plenty of time to arrive and ensure it is waiting for me.
The ‘trail’ out of Deming is a mostly gravel road that hugs private property lines. I hope to avoid any problems with local ranchers. I think my biggest problem will be finding reliable water during this section, with most of it coming from cow tanks. Maybe some nice old lady will let me take water from her faucet, who knows?
Section 3- Emory Pass (Hwy 152) – Hwy 35 (Mimbres): 26 miles
Ley maps Columbus 3-1- Hitch/walk 6 miles to town- Local Resupply
From what I can tell this is an uneventful section, but fun I’m sure. The town of Mimbres is only a 6 mile walk (or hitchhike) and has a decent resupply from what I have read. I expect to get creative here with food selection. But it’s not too far to get to Doc’s where a resupply will be waiting for me.
Section 4- Hwy 35 (Mimbres) – Doc Campbell’s: 47 miles
Ley Maps NM30j, 36-34 – Mail box to Doc’s- Zero Day
This stretch will start to be a change as we start heading into the Gila’s and getting close to more exciting terrain. I’m excited for this section because I am a fan of Ancestral Pueblo or Anasazi culture. I believe that I will start to see some cliff dwellings, rock art and possibly some ancient remains.
Section 5- Doc Campbell’s to Reserve – Gila River Route: 86 miles
Ley Maps 34-28 w/ river route – Hitch 30 miles to Reserve – Local Resupply
Once at Doc Campbell’s, I plan on taking a zero day. I’m excited to look at the Gila Cliff Dwellings and all the sites in the area. I will also have a chance to lounge in the hot springs and sleep in a bed if I choose to spend the cash. Other hikers have stayed at the campground in the area for much cheaper and still have access to the hot springs. Notes for the area say to bring cash and not to skip the homemade ice cream at Doc’s. I know I won’t miss that!
When you leave Doc’s you can either take the mountain route or the river route. I am definitely taking the river route. They say you do about 85 river crossings total, but the scenery and history along the river is unbelievable. I can’t wait for this section as most say it’s finally like you’re in wilderness after walking on the roads for what seems like forever.