Date- October 8, 2019
Location- Ghost Ranch
Elevation- 6,496 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 14.7 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 2,112.9 miles
Weather/Temp- clear, 60s
Pain level- zero
Spirits/Morale- Lucky weather!
Wildlife encounters- Tarantula
Days without shower- 5
Days without laundry- 5
Today was exciting, beautiful, sad, AND relaxing. I spent it hiking with Sharkbait, Leap Frog, and Peacock. It was a very easy hike into Ghost Ranch, albeit an iconic one. Today was the first time the biome has changed since leaving the Great Basin in Wyoming. We finally went from the alpine zone down to the desert, after nearly 800 miles of almost exclusively being in the alpine zone.
Where is that Pesky Wabbit
But, before we made it out of the gorgeous alpine zone full of ponderosas, pinion pines, and other evergreens… we got lost. Once again, we got off the trail without even knowing how or where. The four of us ended up on a nearly one mile bushwhack effort through the forest to reconnect with the trail (without backtracking). It wasn’t too bad, and I don’t think we lost that much time.
A few miles after reconnecting, the trail began a long descent towards lower elevations. As if by magic, the trail went abruptly from luscious forests and green foliage to rocky canyons, cactus’s, yellow grass, juniper pines, and your odd cottonwood.
Hostile not Hostel
Soon after that we were descending through a canyon right out of a western movie… literally. This area around Ghost Ranch has been the site for major Hollywood movies for decades – including the most recent movie filmed here called “Hostiles,” with Christian Bale.
Today made up for all the grief of yesterday, and got me seriously excited for the rest of New Mexico. This state is going to be incredible – I can already tell! We even found a small tarantula on the trail that climbed onto my foot. So cool! I didn’t even know tarantulas were on my list of creatures to encounter on a thru-hike. Well… now they are, so that box has been checked.
We cruised into Ghost Ranch a little before 2 pm and have been hanging out ever since. This place is a bit of a tourist attraction, as well as a retreat for a lot of different groups. It’s a very laid back place that has a dining hall with AYCE breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
After hanging out at the visitor center for several hours, we all had dinner together for the last time. The trail family would be getting smaller after tonight. Townie and Animal finished here the day before. Due to flight schedules, they had to leave a day early in the storm from Chama.
Now it’s only Jetpack, Smiles, Peacock, myself, and a guy we just met here named Sundown. Sadly, Smiles will finish in the next town called “Cuba” about 53 miles away. This is her final stretch.
We’re all camped at a nearby campground and planning on a 31 mile day tomorrow. I’ll do it, but I’m going to have the breakfast buffet first. I think Jetpack and Smiles are going to hike out super early….
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