A Few of My Favorite Things: Zeros, Canyon, and Breakfast

Admission: I’m a proud member of Team Double Zero! I love having one day to do town chores and one day to be absolutely lazy. So when Krafty suggested we take two days off in Cuba, I jumped at the idea. I proceeded to spend the next two days being extremely lazy. I spent long hours under the covers watching TV. I did get some town chores done, of course, but only because I had to. After two days of rest I was ready to hike again.

On the third morning we packed up early, and after a stop at McDonald’s, we hiked out of town. We followed the main road through town before turning up a small side road that would take us to the trailhead. From this trailhead the trail climbs for a few miles till it reaches a plateau. As we got near the top we started to reach snow. In the forest the snow was patchy but as we got to the top it turned into a very soft snowpack. We spent the afternoon slowly making our way, postholing every few feet. Tired as I reached the downhill, I was excited because I would descend out of the snow. Though I got out of snow, the trail turned into a jungle gym of blowdowns. Any hope I had of picking up speed to get to camp was dashed as I picked my way over fallen trunks. I finally heard flowing water, signaling the river where we had decided to camp. I had finally arrived!


The next day I woke up with a tent wet from condensation. Nonetheless, I packed it into my backpack and hiked out. The morning was a beautiful section of trail. I hiked alone through a pine forest just admiring the trees. About seven miles in for the day I hit an unexpected climb. I went turtle speed as I climbed through the hot sun. I knew I was falling behind the group but was helpless to make my legs go faster. I finally reached the top, tired and sweaty. The descent from the terrible hill once again put me more comfortably among the pines. I hiked the forested section to a dirt road before it dumped me steeply down. About a mile down from the road I found the others having lunch. I put my gear out to dry and ate a quick lunch. They hiked out before me so I was once again treated to solidarity in the woods. After lunch I hiked through an amazing canyon. The tall red walls guided my way and distracted me from hiking fast—though I can’t really complain about that! I arrived at the dirt road that I would follow for a while as part of the Ghost Ranch alternate. I walked slowly along, waving at the passing cars. A mother and daughter stopped to ask me what all these people were doing on the road with backpacks. I chatted with them for a little while and explained to them what we were doing. I continued along the road for a ways longer till I got to where the trail turned off into a field and forced me into cross-country navigation. I made my way over the hill and as I was focusing on my GPS for navigation I forgot to pay attention to my surroundings. That is, until I heard a rattle close to my foot. The sound snapped me back to reality and I bolted in the opposite direction. With a pounding heart I set my course and made my way down to the road. Phew! I only had a few miles left so I thought I would be there shortly. That was until I was staring at a closed animal sanctuary and a map that told me to go straight through it. I used my new fence-hopping skills I had acquired in Southern New Mexico and began to make my way in the general direction the trail went. After an exhausting section I found a well-marked horse trail that I followed to Ghost Ranch. I got in after dark and was exhausted. I set up my tent and crawled right in.

In the morning we woke up with one thing on the agenda: breakfast! Ghost Ranch has an all-you-can-eat breakfast and we were not going to miss that. We packed our bags and went to the dinning hall. We all gorged on eggs, hash browns, yogurt, and fruit. Oh, and lots of coffee! I ate so much my stomach hurt but it was delicious. After breakfast we spent time getting our boxes, charging phones, and relaxing. Around noon we pulled ourselves away from comforts and began to hike. This was another amazing section of canyon hiking. We climbed out of the ranch through a canyon and came out on top of the mesa. From here we had to take service roads to connect back to the actual trail. We camped near the junction with trail on the edge of a beautiful meadow.

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