Date- October 6, 2019
Location- Side of trail
Elevation- 8,888 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 27.9 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 2,070.2 miles
Weather/Temp- clear, 60s
Pain level- zero
Wildlife encounters- 20 turkeys
Days without shower- 3
Days without laundry- 3
Today was the easiest day in recent memory. I was hiking by 8 am and only had my shorts and a t-shirt on by 8:15 am.
As far as any excitement goes, today was extremely boring – but not without its other perks. For the first time in what feels like a long time, I’ve been able to really zone out and pursue the thoughts and activities I want to pursue. No more freezing on windswept ridge-lines… or gasping for air on high elevation climbs. No more feeling tired and drained all day long. I just felt focused, alert, and energized.
The trail was incredibly mild today with just over 2,000 ft of climbing across 28 miles of trail. A big chunk of those miles were on forest service roads. These roads allowed me to move quickly without really having to focus too much on where I put my feet. As a result of this easy, mindless hiking, I was able to devote a lot of time to memorizing and reciting more poetry. It was a wonderful change of pace.
The terrain has still been drastically different from Colorado already. To be totally honest, the aspens here in northern New Mexico are even more plentiful and gorgeous than in Colorado. I can’t believe how many there are!
TRADE – OFFS
What’s also been apparent is the increasing lack of water. As we’ve slowly come down in elevation, the quality and frequency of water is declining. It’s a fair trade in my opinion. I’d rather carry a little more water than still be stuck at those high elevations – freezing in the wind all day and sucking air on every climb.
DID SOMEONE SAY BEER?
I hiked alone and took two breaks all day – a 1 hour lunch break around noon, and a 20 minute snack break around 3 pm at a remote campground. At the campground, while looking for a purported water spigot, I asked a female hunter if she knew where it was. She replied with, “Wouldn’t you rather have a beer?” I told her that sounded nice as well, so she ended up giving me an “Imperial Java Stout” from a brewery in Santa Fe. Usually not one for coffee flavored beer, but this tasted so close to an iced coffee (and with 8% alcohol!), I couldn’t help but love it. She also filled up my water bottles as well, so it was a fortuitous meeting.
I moved quickly through the entire afternoon and early evening, timing my arrival into camp with about half an hour of daylight to spare. Around 5:30pm I spooked a flock of two dozen or so turkeys. They didn’t fly, instead opting to sprint across a meadow and into the treeline where they disappeared. I could sure go for some roasted turkey right about now.
I got into camp with Jetpack, Smiles, Leap Frog, Sharkbait, and Peacock around 7 pm. Twigsy had hiked on. We all ate dinner together in the grass and now I’m cowboy camped next to Smiles under a large ponderosa. It’s going to be a cold night, as we’re in a low spot next to a creek – but I just don’t care. Now that we’re in the home stretch and about to be in a desert soon, nothing (almost nothing) can get me down. Tomorrow we’re striving for another 28 mile day that will put us within a half day’s striking distance of our next New Mexico stop called Ghost Ranch.
You can read my current and past posts, and see my photos by clicking this link and going to Boundlessroamad.com