The Trail Is Lava

Well, Pie Town lived up to its name and I ate a lot of pie. I made it a point to try pie from every place I could. I would say the best pie was Pie-O-Neer; the sweet potato pecan is to die for!

After many slices and a restful zero we hiked out. Leaving Pie Town is a long road walk! We walked about 15 miles along a dirt road before stopping for lunch at TLC Ranch. The owners were very nice and gave us water and snacks. After a nice break we began to hike again. In about another ten miles was a water source that was the only one for a while. We stopped there to gather five liters each and hiked another nine miles. This was an incredibly long day, but when it’s all on roads the miles come fast. After setting up camp we gladly sat down for dinner and settled in to bed. The next day we hiked through the chain of craters. Though we couldn’t actually see any craters, the area was super beautiful. We hiked over lava, through fields, and over hills with amazing views. This is another area where the trail is not well established and we played spot the post in the field. Moving through these areas is always a little slow because footing is uneven and navigating takes a little effort, but they are often well worth the hike.

The next day again offered a mix of road walks and lava fields. After a morning of road walking on a dirt road we popped out onto a highway. As we were walking a couple asked us if we needed water. We were very glad for this offering because we were coming from a dry section and were all a little low. We gladly took some of their water and after chatting with them hiked to the ranger station. We probably looked a little crazy hopping the fence of a closed station but we needed the water spigot and welcomed some picnic tables on which to enjoy lunch. After our break the group split up. Stats and Poles took an alternate into Cuba while Krafty and I stuck to the CDT. We hiked a few miles from the ranger station and came to a trailhead. Here the trail was a little hard to follow. There were no markings indicating which of the three trails we were looking at was the CDT, and Guthook had the trail about 500 yards into the woods. We decided to try to get to a spot where Guthook said we were on trail. We bushwhacked through the woods till we came to a lava tunnel. It indicated the trail followed the tunnel so we scrambled to the bottom and followed it until we ended in a cave. Though slightly frustrating the cave was undeniably cool! We scrambled back out of the lava canyon and bushwhacked back to the established trail we had seen earlier. Eventually it connected us back to the CDT right next to a cave that had collapsed in. We took a few minutes to explore the cave and then continued on our way. The rest of the afternoon was spent walking through lava fields. This terrain was super slow and tedious as I tried not to roll my ankle. However, it was also very interesting. There were red flowers popping up among the black rocks and long tunnels to peer down into. We spent the rest of the day climbing lava hills and avoiding big cracks. Getting into camp late, I just cooked dinner and went right to bed.

In the morning we walked a little way down the trail to the highway where there was a water cache. We grabbed water and began our road walk into Grants. This was a long road walk of about 20 miles along a paved highway. It was hot and boring but we made it to town by midafternoon. We rejoined our group who had mimosas waiting for us! We had pizza and mimosas and relaxed for the remainder of the evening.

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