Day 25 5/24 19 miles
Yesterday afternoon Speed’s friend Brian came and picked us up in Cuba and he and his wife Jan put the 3 of us up at their house about an hour outside of town. Brian and Jan were great, they both retired young and spend their time having adventures, mountain biking, rafting, and raising a 1 year old golden retriever named Scout, all while living in a dugout house on a beautiful piece of property in a canyon outside Jemez Pueblo. Getting to their house we drove through San Ysidro village and past Jemez Pueblo, both places have been inhabited for hundreds of years. The 6 of us(including Scout) went to dinner in nearby Jemez Springs and I ate some authentic Northern New Mexican food. I slept in their camper van that acts as an extra bedroom and this morning Jan cooked us a substantial and delicious breakfast of French toast, sausage, and scrambled eggs with cheese and green chili. After breakfast Brian drove us back to Cuba and we got on trail around 10 am. The trail climbed out of Cuba and before long we were up over 10,500 feet. We walked over snow and through ankle deep icy cold water that was a result of recent snow melt. We then descended for awhile and climbed over and around countless blowdowns(trees that fell onto the trail) begore finding a suitable campsite. Brian and Jan’s awesome dugout houseScout! In the San Pedro peaks QB practicing walking in the snow Queen B and Speed splashing around
Day 26 5/25 25 miles
It was a windy night and it sounded cold outside my tent but it was surprisingly warmer than I expected as I faced the day this morning. The trail was quite pleasant as it dropped in elevation a couple thousand feet through a spruce forest and then climbed for awhile with views of red, yellow and orange rock walls. Eventually it opened up into a gigantic valley with sandstone walls all around, it was awesome. In the evening we crossed the mighty Rio Chama, a tributary of the Rio Grande and also the largest water source we’ve come across. This river was ripping and way higher than usual according to the locals. After the river the trail splits with an option to go east towards Ghost Ranch, so we headed in that direction for a few miles before finding a place to tent next to the Rio Chama. I love New Mexico in the morningSpeed powering up a steep climb I can never remember eitherhuge sandstone cliff walls crossing the mighty Rio Chama(on a bridge)
Day 27 5/26 9 miles
Last night I thought I was in the direct path of a tornado. I mean I didn’t really think that but since I’ve never been in the direct path of a tornado before I wasn’t quite sure that I wasn’t. All of a sudden, as I was resting peacefully in my tent, it got wicked windy for a few minutes and even collapsed my tent, but that might have been due to my shoddy tent pitching skills. The wind only lasted a few minutes then subsided but it did come back with a vengeance a couple hours later just to wake me up again. Eventually I made it through the night and walked the 9 miles to Ghost Ranch this morning. I know what you’re thinking and the answer is; I don’t know if this place is haunted or not but it probably is. It’s a resort with people visiting from all over and famous for being the home of the artist Georgia O’Keefe as well as the setting for many movies. I think Ghost Ranch is a bit of a milestone on the trail, not unlike Kennedy Meadows on the PCT. North of here the trail gets into the Southern San Juan mountains and lots of snow, higher elevations, and variable conditions. What I’m saying is; after Ghost Ranch the trail gets tougher. There will be lots of decisions to be made in the next couple of weeks. In a perfect world I would like to continue right along with the CDT but it’s possible I’ll have to audible and switch it up for safety’s sake, especially since it’s a higher than average snow year. I just picked up a few things that I mailed myself ahead of time including snowshoes, microspikes, and an ice ax, so I’ll be a little more prepared for the upcoming challenges but I still might have to seek alternatives. One thing we can possibly do is take the Creede cutoff and that would put us at lower elevations, this would be continuous footsteps north but we would be going around some pretty dope mountains that I want to see. Many people do this thing where they flip up to Wyoming and do a stretch of the trail up there while they wait for the snow to melt and then come back to the San Juans later on. Another option is to flip all the way up to the Canadian border and start hiking south until we get back to where we jumped off trail. The option I’m most interested in, if it doesn’t make sense to plow right through, is to hitch over to Southern Utah or Northern Arizona and do a little exploring for a couple weeks. Stay tuned and I’ll let you know where I end up. And like always feel free to find me on insta for more pictures @endlesspsummer.