5/15 22 miles to Solar Well
The Ravens and I hiked out after eating saved Pie from the night before for breakfast. Yum! We stopped at the Thomas Ranch for water and conversation at about 15 miles. What stories he has to tell, a Korean War vet, pastor, all around fine human being. It was tough finding a break to stand up and keep hiking but we had miles to go. Endless and Queen Bee tag teamed us and caught up later at the next water source and camped with us. I doubt I’ll see them again as 22 miles isn’t enough for some speedy hikers.
A good day, I’m glad to have blasted free of the Toaster House vortex and even gladder to be with the amiable Ravens and not solo.
5/16 22 miles on the Cebollah Alternate
Last night the wind died down after I watched another episode of Into the Badlands. I woke to mooing at 4 am,put in earplugs and woke at 5:57 just before the 6 am alarm. We walked on a dreary graded dirt road with increasing clouds and cold. We went uphill to rain, then down in intensifying wind chill. I hate the wind but wearing rain gear over layers helped me not get hypothermic. Finally made it to Hwy 117, paved, and our water source till tomorrow afternoon, a solar powered cow tank filled with green water. We walked the paved highway for several more miles, gradually getting out of the wind and warming up. My goal was to camp in the first set of trees along the highway, hidden from both the wind and the motoring public. It worked, I’m not loving NM today but I’m so glad for the cheerful company of the Raven family.
5/17 We had to decide if we would take a highly recommended alternate through lava fields then up to the Acoma-Zuni Trail, a bit longer, higher, more difficult but scenic or stick with the CDT route on the 117. Papa talked to Grants trail angel Carrolle Mumm who told us the next day would be thunder stormy so we opted for the quicker, shorter road walk. The weather turned out to be fine, much better than yesterday and the road was flat, even and fast. Our plan was to camp a few miles short of Grants, then have a low miles day tomorrow to have town time and a zero in a comfy motel. Camping discreetly next to a highway hemmed in by barbed wire is becoming kind of normal. We walked the fence line and 3 horses came up to greet us. A bit further on we crawled under the fence and pitched our tents. I did not know how friendly horses are until I was woken by a gigantic muzzle poking through my tent fly. I shooed him off and he and his pal went to the Ravens tent. Repeat. Pests! One finally curled up next to the Ravens for awhile and blasted them with gas. Between the wind and the horses trying to get in our tents with us, none of the adults slept well.
5/18 6-8 miles road walk into town. The road has taken its toll on my back which is now stiff and aching for the first time. Hopefully it will loosen up before I have to hit the trail again. Lunch at Subway, dinner at Denny’s and a very clean and comfortable room at Comfort Inn. The only weird thing is that when I did my laundry in the hotel’s single washer/dryer, the next guest put my dried clothes on the folding table, that’s fine, but it was minus 2, count-em 2, pairs of Injinji toe socks. Why? Creepy foot pervert? Good thing I was wearing pair 3 and 2 new pairs will be in the box I’ll pick up at the PO.
5/19 Zero in Grants. For $.50 a shuttle bus will take you anywhere. Papa Raven arranged a bus for 9:15 to the post office 3 miles away and another bus 9:30 to take us back to the motel. Meanwhile I got all my resupply food for the next 106 miles to Cuba at Walmart, including freshly baked cinnamon pound cake for breakfast, Spam Classic singles with bagel thins for lunch and a new connector thingy for my earbuds so nobody else has to listen to my podcasts and audiobooks as I hike. I got my package: new Hyperlite Mountain Gear pack to replace the one I’ve worn out after 3000 miles, new socks, new Purple Rain hiking skirt in a size down since I’m already skinnier, and a bonus giant Snickers bar Dan threw in the box. I’ll be unrecognizable in all this new stuff!
For way better photos and another perspective check out the Ravens blog at http://www.theRavens15.wordpress.com