I’ve done it. I’ve walked the US segment of the Rockies. I’m in the
desert. It’s fantastic.
In Lake City, Pagosa Springs, and Chama we wanted to zero, and didn’t.
Walk while it’s blue out. Get out of these mountains. The trail
register at the Chama post office showed me that many southbounders
arrive in Chama around the second week of October. We were early and
that was good. Their stories of feet of snow didn’t sound fun. We were
in a section where Yogi (the handbook queen) talked of road walks
around the high country. Every section had a highway. “You might not
like it but…” But, what? It’s beautiful! Blue skies, perfect temps.
New Mexico has been a drastic change. I’d been expecting a
continuation of the mountains. Sure, we’re in the mountains, but
they’re not “really” mountains. Not after weeks of above treeline
exposure. Cruising along at 10,000ft we’re in forests and meadows.
There are big Ponderosa Pines, beautiful Aspens changing colors, oaks
and many other types. There is FAR more wildlife. We even saw some
bear prints, likely the first time since Montana. And there are cows,
I’d heard of all of the beer cans that litter the roads. It’s true
that Bud Light is the drink of choice of a-holes who litter. We spent
some time picking up cans. I hope that other thruhikers do that too.
If each of us picked up cans for a miles a section, we’ll have this
trail mostly cleaned up in fifteen years or so. If we don’t do it,
it’ll never be cleaned. The CDTA needn’t focus resources on the task
and we know that the hunters, ranchers, campers, drunks and forest
service won’t do it. It’s up to us. I think it’s possible. Lost and I
picked up about 30 cans in 20 minutes. Most of them are old, many well
over a decade old. They’re not being discarded faster than thruhikers
can pick them up. Join in on the great New Mexican Hiker Trash Pickup!
Lost is over a computer; she’s catching up on a month and a half of
missed journals. Day by day. “Where did we camp on September 19th?”
Ghost Ranch has a “no key” policy. The library and the computer room
are open and free, all day and night. Camping is free too for
thruhikers. And with all you can eat meals, I’m more than a happy guy.
Very much looking forward to an even more relaxed hike than I’ve been
having. I’ve fully resisted feeling pressured. Sure, I’m still hiking
25 miles a day. Most days. But I’m also reading magazines, waking up
“late”, stopping “early”, taking too long at breaks, playing cards,
soaking it in. And now that the mountains are mostly gone, and the
weather is good, I’ll be zeroing more, and fooling around more. Lost
figured the schedule today at breakfast. She brings maps and planning
stuff to most town meals, it’s a funny habit. Word is, we might finish
Sooo… Drinking cow water. Hit the beginning of the desert. In high
spirits. Behind most people. Lightning has made a re-appearance, but
so far no problems.