My alarm went off about 5:45 a.m. Didn't get out of the tent till about 6:15. It took about an hour and 2 cups of coffee to break down as I kind of milled around for about 10-15 minutes when I first woke up. By 7:45 the camp is completely broke down and I'm heading back down the trail. I survived my first night in the desert alone.
I went through 3 1/2 liters of water overnight mostly because I killed the first go around at dinner. So I headed back to the Bus because 1/2 litter for 2 1/2 miles is completely doable. I didn't want to try and strech it to the 4 miles to the Elephant Butte dam. After suprising Kris and Jaco, a refill of water and a cup of coffee, I left at 10:00 a.m. heading to Elephant Butte.
At about 12:10 I made it to the to the split right at the dam campground and sit for a little bit having some water and kind of figuring out which way to take up to the paths to the ridge so that I can walk along the path that takes me to the Elephant Butte State Park
At 12:30 I ended the break and began heading over the Rio Grande . Now I am hopeful I'll find a path along the Rio Grande otherwise I'll to climb through the desert. I've had two routes from dead reckoning just not work out. One of the paths along the river had an arroyo with a steep incline of almost 60 degrees and I just saw no reason to put myself in that kind of situation.
I can't tell whether the Bureau of Reclamation has this route blocked off or somebody has private property or what not but there's a path that would take me to within a half mile from the dam That would easily have me cut right across the desert but no joy. I was hoping to be there in about an hour.
To get out of the desert and back to the road I had to follow a ridgeline after the road ended. I was forced to hike back down about 300 feet on a path that looks like only the coyotes use.
After getting to the road and waiting for a little bit, I I walked up the 2 miles from the base of the river to the top of the Butte. I was able to get in the campground around 3:45 and was pretty tired. That was a long climb and there was a lot of PUD, a lot of long long up hill climbsbut somehow not a lot of down hill climb so kind of tired and prepared to make dinner and watch the sunset against the lake.
Made it to Elephant Butte State Park and took one of the shelters along the ridge line. Great views of the lake. Setup, made dinner, enjoyed the sunset and crashed hard.