9/29: 18.6 mi (2315.8 – 2334.4)
Did you say there was a climb today? Why of course there is! 3,500 feet to be exact up to 10,500 ft of elevation. New Mexico you are a tricky state.
You placate us with your diversity and abject beauty, so we will gladly climb, just to see what more you have to show us. And show us you did.
Today we entered the Don Pedro Parks Wilderness and man is this place AMAZING! So far this stretch has been the most beautiful part of New Mexico and makes one of the top four places we have walked through on the CDT. Mountains. Meadows. Springs. Healthy forest, plant and animal life. Tread that is pleasant and easy so you don’t have to constantly watch your feet, but can actually take in ALL the surrounding beauty.
With the exception of being rained and hailed on, it was a near perfect day. Hell it WAS a perfect day, because as we were getting water near the San Gregorio Reservoir, who should come around the corner, but our friend Jan (SheepGoat). Last we saw him was just before the Bob Marshall Wilderness. He had hiked like a madman to catch up to us. It was because of the fires near the Idaho/Montana border and the “Butte Cut-off” alternate route that he was able to mitigate the miles we had done last year. He also is a bad-ass and stomped out multiple days in excess of 30+ miles with no days off, just to catch us. I guess we could have slowed down a bit…more, but then where’s the challenge in that?
If we could have camped next to the reservoir, we would have. We had a lot of catching up to do. We walked and talked till we found a place to pitch our tents. We talked and laughed some more until it was just too damn cold to sit outside. Tomorrow we would walk into Cuba, and take at least two zeros for much needed rest and to sit out the dangerous storm that was to land mid morning and cause dangerous flooding.
9/30: 12.2 mi (2334.4 – 2346.6)
Today we head into Cuba for resupply and at least one Zero…if not two. We tried in earnest to call and get a room, but no one seemed to be picking up their phones at 8am.
We descended 3,600 ft down into Cuba, just as the dark body of moisture filled clouds moved in. It was a good day to be headed into town. The road walk however, just killed our feet. I think its time for new shoes. Hopefully we can last till Grants, as we were too late to order and have shoes sent to Cuba.
When we got into Cuba we sadly discovered that ALL the hotel/motels in Cuba were full. CDT hikers that already had rooms were extending their stays, and wait out the worst of the storm. We ducked into the Cuban Cafe, just as skies let loose and the deluge began. For the next two days it would be too rainy to walk safely in the high desert. Flash flood warnings are to be taken seriously.
Whilst over second breakfast, and almost a “third” one, we collectively hatched a plan that involved new shoes, and hotel rooms. The closest place for new shoes, was the REI in Alburquerque. Hmm, how to get there? And more importantly, are there rooms available?
Our first thought was to see if we could hitch to Alburquerque, but that most likely would have been a bust as the rain was relentless. Who wants to pick up drowned rats? Then we discovered the New Mexico transit system. Totally free and totally amazing!