Day 27-30 A Couple of Days in Cuba

Day 27 May 28th: An unexpected break in Cuba.

I’m an idiot and didn’t plan around the post office being closed during Memorial Day when I shipped a box from Grants to Cuba. I figured this out about a day too late for me to make any adjustments, but as I arrived into Cuba today, I looked forward to a nice zero during the holiday weekend.

I did 8 miles into town and immediately stopped at the Cuban Cafe. The food was terrific and the coffee cups were never below half full. I did some laundry and then walked out to the RV park, where they have some spaces available for tent campers. The nice lady running the place responded to my question of do you have a place where I can plug in my phone with “oh, you guys will ask for anything.” I didn’t think it was that much to ask, but she said there was a spot to plug in my phone in the bathroom.

There’s really not much here; in terms of camping, it works just fine.  The shower looks like thru-hikers use it. If you have ever seen the shower after a hiker has used it, you know that’s not a compliment.

We spent most of the day drinking beer and telling trail stories. I was hanging out with the Count and Poppins mostly but Yeti and his girlfriend Spastsel hung out quite a bit as well. The Count grew up in the Twin cities.

We grabbed some dinner at the local barbecue and fried chicken place. Everything was mediocre besides the tacos. We grabbed a case of beer from the liquor store and decided to try to hitchhike home. It was only a mile but I guess it’s a thing thru hikers do. The guy came up and started talking to me and I gave him a beer and said hey do you know anybody who can give us a ride? He said he would get his girlfriend, and about 5 minutes later, a somewhat rusty old Dodge Durango pulled up. We jumped into an SUV that smelled like mountain lion pee and stale beer.

The female driver motioned towards the back seat and said my boys are back there.  The three of us were extremely surprised to see two young boys sitting in the back of this somewhat shady looking sport utility vehicle. We were happy for the ride, but we all wished we were somewhere else at that moment. My window is cracked and I was doing everything to avoid the smell of what I assumed be cat urine. But I guess could be be mountain lion or maybe even a larger iguana. The only thing I was sure of was that it was urine.

I’ve never thru-hiked before, and with that, I’ve never hitchhiked before. I’ve tried a couple times now but never had any success. I’m not sure if tonight was actually hitchhiking since I sort of bribed the guy with a beer. If the hitchhiking is anything like this, I’m going to take an Uber or walk the rest of the time. Seeing weird kids in the back seats of rusty SUVs isn’t my idea of a good time.

My cool hipster millennial friend told me about all the great hitchhiking experiences, but frankly, this one was a bit weird. Even if they only get half this weird, it would still be more weird than I’m comfortable with. Again, my trail name is Daddy Warbucks. I can afford the Uber.

Day 28 May 29th: Zeroing in Cuba

I spent the day getting coffee across the street from the RV park I was staying at, buying tickets for my wife and kids to come out and see me near Colorado Springs, grabbing lunch at a local gas station / burrito stand and hanging out with other hikers. Just a normal zero.

Excited about getting to see my wife and kids in a couple of weeks. It’s tough to plan that kind of trip when you’re not sure exactly where you’ll be and figuring out when and where for them to come in. Online as well make it work and we’ll have a good time. Not sure they’ll get a chance to see the CDT and it’s full wonder, but I think we’ll get to see the actual continental divide.

If it wasn’t for my inability to plan around federal holidays, I definitely would have been ready to go this morning. It’s not a long way to Ghost Ranch, and I was fresh off a zero in Grants.

Ghost Ranch will be my last stop before crossing over into Colorado.

Day 29 May 30th: Back to the wet feet.

I got up early enough to go get coffee and a couple of burritos before the post office opened at 8:00. I was the first one in line when the nice lady opened the door and asked how my weekend was. I had two boxes, one with food I shipped from Grants and another with a pair of socks and a pair of insoles I had ordered on Amazon. All stuff I didn’t need sent to Cuba.

I made one more coffee stop before walking out of Cuba. The trail is mostly a road until it gets into the mountains. A guy in a Ford F-150 stopped and asked if I wanted a ride a couple miles before the trailhead and I said sure. He stopped and picked up a guy named Mando, and when we got out of the truck at the trailhead, I noticed an Air Force pin on his hat.

I asked to confirm and he said yes, and I said oh, that’s funny, I just retired from the Air Force month ago. He said he retired from the Air Force in 2008 I believe, and was a electrical engineer. He said it wasn’t common to have retired Air Force officers running around the CDT. Small world nonetheless.

It was nice to be on an actual trail again. No more road walks for a while, I guess. It was a decent enough climb today: 4000 feet spread out over 20 miles. No scrambling, but definitely some cardio. At some point in the elevation, snow started to appear, and then with the snow there was the melting snow runoff and overflowed rivers, and with that you had lots of mud.

Today the mud wasn’t the worst of it. Nor was the cold water. It was the snow. Trouncing through old snow is slow, can be slippery, and then you can have the pleasure of post-holing where you step on the snow pile in your foot goes knee-deep. Definitely a harder 20 miles than just a road walk and anything I did in the Bootheel of New Mexico.

I bumped into one other hiker, a guy named Professor, who is somebody I met halfway through the Gila. I believe he used to teach at the University of Washington. And that’s where he gets his nickname.

Ghost Ranch is only another 35 miles from here, and I’m trying to figure out how to split that up over the next two days. I was originally going to do a zero at Ghost Ranch, but now that I’ve done a zero at the last two towns I’m not sure that’s prudent. But I’ll give it some good thought.

Snow in Colorado

So the heavy snowfall in Colorado this year has yet to dissipate. Anytime you get a group of two or three hikers together, it’s bound to come up. I know a couple people have already made plans to go up to Wyoming and do some sort of flip. I’ve heard rumors that some people hang out at Chama for weeks or so, waiting for an opportunity to move ahead.

Based on my schedule, I think I’ll probably take the alternate route. It’s not optimal, it’s not what I want to do, but if I want to keep moving north then I don’t really have another option. I could flip, but I don’t even know what that looks like, and at that point sort of breaks up the trail in a way I’m not really that comfortable with.

Taking the alternate if that’s where it pans out, then the next week or so gives me the opportunity still keep moving, and it might even line up with putting me closer to Colorado Springs when Alicia and the kids come to town.

I am still a few days out and I told my wife I wouldn’t be the first one on the trail north in Colorado, but nothing says I can’t be like the third or fourth. I’m definitely not going to put my life in danger; this is not worth that. But I’m also not an idiot and I know what I’m capable of. Should be interesting to see out pans out.

When other hikers ask me what I’m going to do, I say don’t worry, the day I show up is the first day it’s going to be clear enough to go. That’s the kind of optimism I bring.

Day 30 May 31st: Ups and downs and more rain

The day started off fine. Mostly downhill for the first three or four hours. No more snow, mud, or cold wet feet. There was an incredible number of blowdowns just off the peak of the mountain.

And early on, the weather didn’t look promising. You could see rain off in the distance. Again I remind you it’s not supposed to rain in May in New Mexico.

I came across a logging operation. Those of you might not know the difference between national parks and national forests is that national forests are still used for logging and other minerals. Oh, and I shouldn’t forget grazing.

Ascended one mesa. Not a spectacular view or anything, but that was the hard work for the day until the weather got a little salty later on.

I bumped into one other hiker after I woke up from my post-lunch nap. VW and I have been on the same schedule for the last week or so. She’s a much faster hiker than I am, but I wake up earlier, so that kind of keeps us on the same pace. She’s a really talented artist and is headed home in a day or two to do some work at her studio. One of the freeze-dried meal companies even paid her to do a painting of one of their meals in the wild.

I’m headed into Ghost Ranch tomorrow. But I’m not real excited about it. They have a buffet and I was told I needed to make a reservation a day in advance. So I found some cell service and called them and they said that the buffet wasn’t open to hikers. I settled for a tent reservation and I guess I’ll live off whatever they have in their snack bar. I’m a middle-aged upper middle class white guy. I don’t like to be prejudiced against.



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Comments 6

  • Leone Marie Quigley : Jun 6th

    Got to say good by to the girls on Sunday. They are looking forward to seeing you for Father’s day. Warm weather in MN, I guess it is getting us ready for FL. Enjoy your next state and hope you get good weather. Love you forever, Mom

    • Daddy Warbuck$ : Jun 7th

      Enjoy the trip mom.

  • Kathi Wunderlich : Jun 6th

    Cheering you on !
    If you want transport at Spring Creek Pass to Lake City for resupply let me know.
    Or, are you taking the alternate route ?

    • Daddy Warbuck$ : Jun 6th

      I’ll be in the alternate at that point, but thanks for the offer. I’m headed to Co Springs for Father’s Day.

  • Christopher : Jun 6th

    I am having breakfast at hotel in Brussels and just read “ I’m a middle-aged upper middle class white guy. I don’t like to be prejudiced against.” and snorted somewhat loudly.

    People looked at me strangely. I just smiled back unwilling (or unable) to explain.

    • Daddy Warbuck$ : Jun 7th

      Yeah I really showed them. I left them a one-star review on Google and TripAdvisor. Almost every other place has bent over backwards to be hospitable towards hikers.


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