5/26 The Subway says it opens at 7 for breakfast so we dropped our keys in the motel box and walked, arriving just past 7. Wefound that the doors were open but the woman was still setting up. It took till 7:30 for her to be ready and she said coffee wouldn’t finish brewing until noon. Deal breaker. We got take-out sandwiches for the trail and I grumpily made the Ravens backtrack to McD’s for breakfast and coffee. We didn’t start hiking the highway out of Cuba and the 15 miles of uphill until 8:30.
The trail got into trees. There was plenty of snow in the shade under their protection. Nothing steep so the open areas were full of melt, all marshy and muddy. Out of the barren mesas into the lovely forests, spruce and pine, facing east and northeast, a little intro into what’s ahead. It wasn’t a hard day, but wet, cold feet can take their toll. Mama feels bad that I “had to put up with” her family. Really? After my meltdown this morning over no coffee at Subway? But I think it’s because Mama thinks she lost her patience when Joon had a mini hissy fit when it became apparent that she couldn’t keep feet dry in the umpteenth marsh we had to navigate. Mom guilt! It’s a trap! Anyway we camped at the top of all the climbing on dry ground and no wind. And I heard the usual wonderful sound of the kids laughing in their tent as the light faded from the sky. I love this family. The day is done, tomorrow we go downhill to start with.
5/27 Since we did the big up yesterday, today was quite easy and enjoyable. I’m getting used to how the Ravens take their breaks and they’re not adverse to speeding them up a bit.
This should be my last night on the trail for awhile. I’m really excited to fly home to Anchorage and be tour guide for son Chris, his Ashlee and their ginormous dog Grimm.
I caught up to Robinath from Amsterdam on the switchbacks down to the creek, he hiked out from Cuba the afternoon before us.
5/28 13 miles to Ghost Ranch. Great setting, I see why Georgia O’Keefe lived here. There’s a fossil quarry nearby from which dinosaurs were dug, and this area has had culture upon culture through the millennia, each with their own tool making, pottery, basketry, and creation stories.
Arriving at the conference center, we were greeted on the deck by Treeman, Burning Calves, Dassie, Nuthatch, Party Saver, AJ and Quicksilver. Treeman had taken time off to trail angel but when he got back on trail, he slipped and split open his knee which is now stitched. From Berlin, and a PCT 2015 hiker, he said the last time he had that knee stitched due to another trail incident, he was told, “You have skin like an elephant!” Apparently, thick, tough skin develops in athletes like hikers. Treeman is friends with the Ravens from the PCT and they’d all been hoping to do some hiking together this year. He’d reserved a bunk room that slept all 6 of us and included the all-you-can-eat breakfast. We all had dinner in the cafeteria with more hikers. The 100 or so regular people here for retreats and classes looked like they were enjoying this place too, although the hiker table was the only one that had a constant parade of people going back for seconds or thirds. Hilarious! Dan will arrive tomorrow to bring me and Burning Calves, to Albuquerque airport. She’s going to Atlanta to hike the AT with a friend but may come back to the CDT a bit later in the season. Meanwhile I am drafting an “Application to Marry My Daughter” for Treeman. It’s a perfect match.
5/29 I love small museums. Ghost Ranch has both a museum of Anthropology and Palaentology that I visited while waiting for Dan. He arrived and met all the hikers and ate lunch with us. As we said our goodbyes before heading out, Treeman said “Bye Mom, bye Dad.” He’s racking up points.