The night was cold. The very first night I actually felt it unpleasantly. I have not been freezing but certainly cold, despite the fact I was wearing all my clothes. To me that's a clear sign that temperatures must have dropped below -10.
My deep frosted 1.5l water bottle outside more or less confirms. It never has been frozen through yet [it will not even fully thaw throughout the whole day]. At least the water bottles inside managed to remain in the state of crushed ice. I do also appreciate that my chocolate milk has the consistency of milk shake. I love milk shake!
Unfortunately I am shaded by a mountain and thus it takes until 9AM until the sun reaches my tent. It makes for a late start.
It's six days [and roughly 600km] until Christmas. I will spend it in Safford, AZ with Renadé - a friend of Ilmas mother. It's not outrageously far for 6 days but certainly not much time for sitting around either.
I will take the more or less direct way and will travel through the Navajo and Hopi reservations for the better part of the next days. After a few miles on the highway I turn south on Navajo Route 41. I pass a coal mine and seem to leave the red rock formations in the rear mirror now.
Once up an a high plateau something like a snow and ice desert enfolds in front of me, some hills, some smaller pine trees again. I am reminded a lot of the Chilcotins. Especially because a vast network of dirt and gravel roads is ahead for today all named just as the good old forest service roads in Canada. Navajo Route 8027, Navajo Route 8029...
The sun is up, no cloud, still just 1 degree in the shade. All cars great me friendly, some stop for a chat. By 5:30PM it's too cold for me [once the sun is gone temperatures drop rapidly] and I pitch the tent a bit away from the road. It's rather easy to find spots here, yet Navajo land is technically private property. However, since there is nobody here, people have been rather friendly and I have the informal approval from the people I met today I assume it to be fine.
The full moon is up and provides ample light. A night on 1900m again. Let's see how that goes.