In this post I describe why my experience in 1995 on the PCT, and with Wild author Cheryl Strayed, plays in important role in how I intend to proceed along the CDT north of here and into Colorado. In a way, this is my personal drama for 2016, and I am confident that my chosen path is the right one.
Entering the CDT Gateway to the Rocky Mountains.
This 93 mile section of extremes were on full display in this New Mexico landscape: from the colorful, rocky cliffs and towers of the Ghost Ranch area to the high alpine mountains that were holding some snow above 10,000 feet, even lower in some places.
Up Mountains and down to the beautiful Ghost Ranch scenery and bluegrass.
The day the group of hikers and me left the Del Prado “mice-tel” in Cuba we climbed 4050 feet to a camp at 10550 feet surrounded by large patches of snow. It was my first experience of snow on this hike. Hiking to that elevation was no problem except for the climbing effort and willingness to endure cold, wet feet from the rapidly melting snow.
Hiking in the Land of Enchantment
I was concerned upon my first step out of the Motel 6 in Grants on May 13. Would my latest pair of new and wider shoes acquired at Beales Clothing Store meet the demands of the CDT? New Balance 409 shoes look like they are meant for pedestrian city walkers, not thru hikers! Mt. Taylor, 11,300 feet, was the challenge on May 14, so those shoes were tested right away.
Pie Town to Grants, NM: Windmills, Trail Angels, and Lava Rock
The information about water in this section was clear. There were no natural sources of water except for a couple of stagnant, muddy ponds in places like Sand Canyon. It would be trail angels along the route who would make thirst quenching aqua available to CDT hikers. On the morning I left Pie Town I was walking fast on flat terrain.
Thank you for all the nice comments. I read every comment and am aided by your positive feeback. I am having breakfast at the Gathering Place with about 10 other CDT hikers before I head back to the trail this morning. Even more showed up after I took the photo.
The community of CDT hikers is another positive aspect of this journey. They represent young and older (like me!), U.S., Spain, France, Belgium, Germany, Australia, Korea, and more places.
127 miles, 6 days to Pie Town NM:
This section was a continuation of the Gila River route, a climb to the Gila Mountains up to 9,600 feet, and to the small , friendly community of Pie Town. The Gila River canyon appeared to me like a 40 mile cathedral a rock formations that reached to the sky as I made about 200 fords of the shallow river. The beauty and intrigue of hiking a canyon had a price to pay. Many of the crossings were immediately followed by bushwacking through brush that hid what trail may have existed. On the second day I was beginning to look forward to reaching the end of the canyon, but happy I chose this popular alternate route.