Day 06 to Lake Roberts

"Someone needs to invent instant water. All you do is add water." -Cassi
37 miles, 4200 ft climbing

Another early start to beat the heat. There was no traffic on Hwy 15 as we climbed out of Silver City and into the Gila National Forest. We arrived in the little town of Pinos Altos, feeling transported back to the 1800's. Judge Roy Bean had a general store here once before heading to TX to become "the law west of the Pecos". Unfortunately we were too early for a drink at the Buckhorn Saloon, so we pushed on.
Outside of town we split up again. John staying on the pavement to Lake Roberts and Cassi and I taking the round about way on the CDT. This time we carried our camping gear and 7 liters of water each in case we did not make the lake and had to bivy. We had a wonderful day of riding single track. Higher elevation meant cooler temperatures, less pinon-juniper and more shady Ponderosa forest.  For lunch, we hiked up to the Signal Mt Fire Lookout. The smoke from the fire on the AZ-NM border was plainly visible. The Miller fire in the Gila Wilderness was pretty much done but many trails there were still closed. We were bummed that we weren't going to be able to do the backpacking loop past the Cliff Dwellings on the West and Middle Forks of the Gila River like we planned. However, it is always good to leave some things undone. Now we had a good reason to return. John, the fire lookout, gave us the grand tour including how they use the view finder and huge map to pinpoint the fire's location.
We met the first person we'd seen on the CDT, a day hiker. The CDT does not see a lot of use, especially in NM and especially in June. We would see only 6 hikers, 2 bikers, 2 horse riders and 1 work crew on the trail the whole month. The long descent from the fire lookout was fun especially at the end. We lost the trees traversing an old burn, then the volcanic walls of Skate's Canyon came into sight.  Back on pavement we zipped right past the campground and John had to ride us down. I continued to the store in Lake Roberts to try and replace a leaky water bottle. Not much in the store, including water bottles, but a gatorade bottle would do. The clerk was a character, talking about the fire and recent travelers who'd been through. Totaling the gatorade and 2 cans of Bud I was buying for dinner, he looked up and, pulling a number out of the air, said "How about $4?" Turns out earlier in the day, after sharing his grill cheese with John, he'd done the same for a can of beans. 
Our campsite was a nice spot nestled in tall ponderosa with clean drinking water. After dinner we walked down to the lake to be greeted by a menagerie of animals, including a herd of javelina, deer, ducks and herons.  Being the only surface water for miles during this drought, it was a popular place.

new plants seen- Douglas fir, prickly poppy, NM locust
animals identified- mule deer, javelina, gray fox, turkey vulture, great blue heron, mallard ducks, desert cottontail, desert grassland whiptail