5/23/15, Day 29

M724.2 to Hopewell Lake CG – 9931′ 

Tent – Nights Spent Alone: 7

27.2, 578.2 Trip Miles

Mostly Cloudy, snow off and on from lunch time on

Day’s of Snow: 5 – Day’s of Rain: 9

# of Zero days: 1

Gila Crossings Final Total:  221


Critter Count
4 Chipmunk
4 squirrels
1 Cotton Tails
1 Ground Squirrels

119 Lizards

46 Elk

22 Cotton Tail Rabbits

17 Chipmunks

17 Squirrels

12 Deer

9 Horny Roads

9 Jack Rabbit

6 Ground Squirrel

5 Snakes

3 Coyotes

2 Toads

1 Mouse

1 Skunk

1 Rattle Snake

I slept like a champ last night. Being so tired helped. I did hear a short rain shower during the night.

Rafiki and I had a much better day today. We did hike in snow and some mud but it wasn’t anything like yesterday’s mud. The snow only lasted a few miles.  I would say most of the day was on dirt roads but we’re talking primitive ones.

open prairie

One of the many fields we hiked through today.

While Rafiki soaked his ankle which has been bothering him in a small stream I was laying down on the trail. I thought I heard something up the hillside but with the light snow falling on my umbrella I couldn’t see or tell.  Rafiki announced “WILD HORSE”  I sat up and turn around and sure enough there was a horse on the hillside.  He was solo and looked wild enough but who knows what he was doing out there.  He was a beautiful brown with black mane and tail.

We hiked mostly above 10k today. Our lowest point was the Rio Vallecitos, a river at 8561′. The data book says there’s a bridge but we didn’t see one. So I had my first ford of the CDT. It was muddy thigh deep water for me. Rafiki wasn’t so lucky as he’s shorter than me.

Snowbound trees

The snow was always in the trees making it hard to follow the trail.

It never got very warm and the constant breeze kept us chilled. Lunch was cut short by the start of off and on snow showers. I lost count how many we had. I’m not talking heavy snow just those little round balls that you see sometimes.

We had planned on camping at mile 24 but when I saw there’s was a campground three miles further up the trail we both agreed to push on. Before we even got there we started to see the toy haulers and campers. We forgot it was Memorial Day Weekend.

marshy fields

One of the man low areas we crossed, of course filled with water and marshy.

We found the campground and our plan was to score some beers and ice for Rafiki’s ankle.  As we walked by the first few sites a pickup puled up next to us.  The women, Camp Host, driving asked if we were hiking the trail.  We said we were and she asked if we were looking for a place to stay.  We again said yes but heard the campground was full.  She said we could stay in the site right behind us for FREE.

Now it gets better.  So the site we’re in was occupied by an 80 year old guy we only saw in her truck who backed in his camper and was gone before us in the morning.  She, the camp host Sarah, was on one side and on the other was this big group.  We thought “Oh, no! Their going to be loud.”  As we cooked I noticed the large group was a bunch of death people who were all using sign language.  It was like hitting the lottery!   Not only did we score beers, we got a second beer each, green beans, cheese sticks, fresh mangos all from the Camp Host and had the worlds quietist campers.


Our bounty from our Camp Host

Pushing on was a bold move as we’re camped at almost 10k but it paid off. It also means less miles to Chama and CO!

Yesterday it was the mud, today it was the cold.  It was one of those days your nose never stops running, both because of the wind and second because of the cold.  Even as we sat and cooked it was already freezing.  Sleeping was going to be cold for sure.  

Our situation at camp was one of those ones that can go one of two ways.  The first being someone gives you Trail Magic and then proceeds to question you for hours or the second, in which they give and expect nothing back leaving you be.  For us it was the later this time.  There have been many times on the trail where I’m so exhausted that I just waned to cook and fall asleep.  Despite being alone all day I don’t want to interact, just do my camp tasks and sleep.

The rub is I can’t in good conscious just blow someone off who just gave/offered me Trail Magic.  I’ve seen others do it and it’s understandable how one might.  For me I always try to do my best to take the high road in situations like this.  I might distance myself or simply refuse the Trail Magic.  The beauty of these situations is if you pass on them you might miss out on some great Trail Magic or not get to interact with some amazing people.  The trail constantly reminds you to be open and to not pass judgement too soon. 

Back to Day 28, Forward to Day 30


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Get out there!

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