Day 121 – 128 – High point of New Mexico
Slept much better last night. Despite drinking a fair amount and staying up (hiker) late chatting with the group of hikers who had rolled in after dark. Including a number of hikers I hadn’t seen in some time. Also, I wasn’t thinking as much of that elk.
After a slow morning, we got a ride from a former bikepacker who’d rented a car and was touring around after his trip. Back on trail by 10:30 for some easy, if warm, hiking.
Camped with the same group from the hostel. As well as Tropical, who I haven’t seen in some time. It was one of the more social nights and the most tents I’ve seen in one spot since Luna’s.
That was a lot of climbing for New Mexico. Probably not many days like that left on the trail; pretty soon going above 10k will just be a memory.
Despite the climbing I feel like the trail has transitioned from the mountains to the desert.
We pushed hard to get to a trailhead near Cuba in order to be well positioned for resupplying tomorrow. Only an hour or so of hiking in the dark.
Day 123 – Cuba
Well, as planned, pulled hero resupply into and out of Cuba. The hiking was almost entirely on roads. Cuba had fairly few options which made it a pretty easy town stop despite needing to send a box to Pie Town.
Also, the tent repair piece didn’t arrive. Apparently, it arrived a couple days earlier but the PO returned it to sender due to incomplete information. Doh. I’ll continue with the gimpy tent until pie town, I guess. Not really a choice.
Off towards Grants. And, on paper, one of the easier sections of trail.
This area has some really cool looking geology. It’s both pretty and makes for harder hiking than the elevation profile would indicate. That, combined with the heat, made for a difficult afternoon.
Ended the day by some trail magic. Cache of candy, whiskey, and other stuff. While I appreciate the sentiment, one off abandoned trail magic just seems like well intentioned littering. It’s a long way to the next town (or dumpster) and I just don’t see it all getting packed out.
Mostly unremarkable hiking today. The morning had some more cool rock features that I had been seeing yesterday, but by lunch it was just tromping through the desert. Definitely in the desert, though.
Water is becoming scarcer and further off trail. Tonight and tomorrow has one of the longer water carries at 25ish miles.
Early start tomorrow to knock out more of those miles before it gets hot!
Today went about as well as it could have. Minus my battery pack unexpectedly dying. I can pretty easily get into town tomorrow with the charge I have left on my phone, though. And my headlamp is running low as well, so it’s only useful for dinking around camp.
That aside, I hiked the miles I intended to in order to roll into town tomorrow. Felt pretty good overall. And the first time on the trail where I’ve actually managed ’10 by ten, 20 by two, and 30 by six’.
Day 127 – Down to Grants
According to my watch, today I went up 272′ and down… around 5,000′. Which I guess makes sense for camping on a mountain top. Camping up there was neat; though if the garmin forecast I pulled had noted the evening thunderstorms that’d show up nearby, then I would’ve gone a few miles further. As it happened, I didn’t want to hike down a steep trail in the dark with an almost dead headlamp while rather tired. It worked out. In any case, it was a fairly calm night.
Grants is a very sprawling town. I spent most of the time walking looking at the local houses’ hvac systems, which are, unsurprisingly, way different than Portland. Professional hazard. Similar to how I look at the hvac in any bar that I walk into.
Anyhow, zeroing tomorrow. Looking forward to not doing much.
Day 128 – Zero in Grants
Didn’t originally plan on zeroing here but it was a long day into town. And I’m tired. For a section that I thought would be rather easy the last section was hard. Walked into town with no food, no power, and dumping out the last of my water. The latter b/c 1. It tasted awful and 2. I had acquired a milkshake.
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It’s a lot of fun living vicariously through your trip while working my desk job. Thanks Alex!
We will be seeing you soon.