CDT DAY 15 – Last day in the Gila
Today is our last day in the Gila and to celebrate our departure back into the high desert we have a rare morning fire.
Technically, we’ll still be in the Gila National Forest for a bit, but the campground at Snow Lake marks the end of our time actually following the Gila River. Although we’re not even halfway through the state of New Mexico, I think the Gila is going to be the highlight of the state (it will be hard to beat).
When we reach the campground, we take advantage of the bathrooms, faucets, and sunshine to dry out our socks and shoes for what will hopefully be the last time for a while (the only downside to the Gila – having wet shoes/feet 100% of the time).
Now out of the dream that was the Gila and back into the reality that is the CDT, we’re back to walking dirt roads (aka the majority of the trail through New Mexico thus far).
The trail soon veers into a gully we follow up along a small stream – it’s a surprisingly enjoyable little section. However, when we reach the stream’s headwaters at the top of our climb we are really back into CDT New Mexico reality as we’re now standing at our last water source for 18 mi / 29 km.
Nothing like long water carries to whip you back into shape.
My fear of thunderstorms is still very much with me, and whenever we get out into the open I can’t help but think, “I really hope there isn’t a thunderstorm right now.” (Because, you know, lightning kills people.)
Thankfully, we get blue skies the entire day. The majority of the rest of the Gila River Alternate (which we’re still on) back to the official CDT at CDT Mile 351.6 (where we will most definitely not be making it to tonight) is quite exposed.
About 9 mi / 14.5 km into our dry stretch we take a break and a nearly sit on a snake. Blame it on the lack of water (and the lack of snake sightings until now).
We’re definitely back in the (high) desert.
CDT DAY 16 – Reserve, New Mexico
It’s freezing this morning when we wake up (and by freezing I mean that the temperature outside is the freezing temperature of water – 32°F/0°C – I said “freezing” to dodge writing the temperature in two different units, but I guess that didn’t work out).
Appa had a pretty rough night last night and nearly ended up fertilizing our campsite with his dinner; fortunately, he’s feeling better today.
We get a late start and are out of camp by eight. I guess we weren’t too eager to continue our dirt road walking from yesterday.
Apparently, Appa is feeling much better because he’s the first one out of camp and is well ahead of me and Moise. Maybe he’s looking for somewhere to poop.
Moist and I walk up the gently inclining road together until we spot another hiker down a hill to our right with his gear exploded all around him. We maintain our distance as to not commit to too long a conversation but we do have a brief shouting chat with him. His name is Spam and he tells us he’s been doing small days because of his horrible blisters. Sucks.
I take no joy from Spam’s suffering, nor do I wish for his hike to continue in this vein, but you can’t help but feel a little more confident yourself and your own hike when you see someone struggling more than you are. Don’t lie.
We continue up the road and stop at a spring just below the end of the climb. Fortunately, there’s water – but there is no Appa. While waiting for our companion to appear, a pickup drives past me and Moist with a hiker in the back. We can’t make out who it is, but we assume that it must be Spam heading into town to nurse his feet back into walking shape.
Appa appears and reports a successful shit. Nothing to get you going in freezing morning temperatures like the urge to move your bowels. Reunited, we head up to the top of the climb where we finally rejoin the official CDT (and futilely attempt to get cell service).
Over the ridge where meet back up with the CDT, we can see smoke rising from a fire north of us. As if preparing us for what’s to come, the trail enters a burn area and we pass two southbound section hikers who have surprisingly little to report on the fire that appears to be raging quite literally where they have just come from.
Southbounders – they’ve never got anything useful to say.
We follow the trail, switchbacking down a burn, before reaching a road and then taking a shortcut we find looking ahead on the map. We’re always looking ahead for shortcuts and it’s become a sort of unofficial competition, but not really a competition sort of thing – get it? Cool.
Following our shortcut, we take what’s known on the CDT as a “Ley Alternate” – so named because it comes from the maps put out (for free) by Mr. Jonathan Ley – down into a canyon (we do this based solely on the fact that this alternative appears to be shorter than the official CDT). At the bottom of the canyon, we are a little spooked because things have quickly become very smokey.
Dying in a forest fire is not on my list of things to do on the CDT. Luckily, our route is taking us east, away from the fire.
During our climb up the barely existent trail out of the immediate fire danger, we see a turkey (obviously a sign of good fortune) and then at our water source (where we collect some desperately needed water) we see JPEG and Chris – two northbound CDT thru-hikers we first met in the Gila.
We meet back up with the CDT as we finish the climb and reach the beginning of a long descent to Highway 12.
Twenty-four miles (38.6 km) west on Highway 12 from the CDT crossing is the small town of Reserve, New Mexico. Reserve is not one of those places that everyone stops in since it’s only another day and a half or two days to Pie Town, but since we’re nearing the end of our day, and since we’ll have done nearly 30 mi / 48 km when we hit the road, and since we have reception, and since Moist is offering to pay for a hotel room, we decide to call the local hotel, The Frisco Lodging Co. (+1 575-533-6600), and ask them to pick us up at the road ($40 for a one-way shuttle).
We tell them we’ll be waiting on the highway at 20:30 and then we start hauling ass down.
On the way down, we find an alternate route to the highway that’s 2.5 mi / 4 km shorter than the CDT and we make it down to the road at 20:00 (we later see that this route is actually where the CDT used to be).
We end up waiting until nearly 21:00 for our ride, but at least we got to hang with a chiller horse and a nice sunset.
On the way into town, the motel owners take us past the bar (where, in New Mexico, you can buy beer to go) and then past the pizza place (which the motel owners own) where we get two $20 pizzas (oh, how it’s easy to take advantage of a hiker’s hunger).
Coming into town? Great idea. Huge props to Moist for hooking it up big with the room.
CDT DAY 17 – Stubing (Leave Reserve)
I insisted that we do our laundry last night since I did not want to have to wake up and do chores – god damn, I’m smart, thank you, me.
We wake up slowly and hang out in the room milking every minute of lethargy until our 11:00 checkout. Leaving the motel, we meet two new hikers, Gut Punch and Five Cup. It seems we weren’t the only ones clever enough to take advantage of this town stop. We might have to fight these guys.
For breakfast, we head back to the pizza place, which also apparently does breakfast where we get free coffee and 10% off for having stayed at the motel (where was this 10% off last night?). They say they’ve got wifi here, but it’s garbage.
What’s not garbage? The service and the omelets. Again, top-notch, New Mexico.
Once we’ve drunk our fill of free coffee, we head to the local grocery store to stock up on supplies. Not that we necessarily need anything, but the next town, Pie Town, doesn’t have much, and despite having resupply boxes waiting for us there, it’s always nice to take advantage of what’s available.
Leaving the market, we realize that there’s another (more) CDT-friendly market next door (with a better selection) where we get 5% off and get to sign a big CDT-hiker poster on the wall (for those of you wondering, Jake’s General Merchandise is the CDT-market).
I’ve been wanting to get to Pie Town tomorrow, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen anymore. I’ve changed my goal to the following day before the post office closes (since I need to pick up my resupply box), but Appa and Moist want to hang around in Reserve today to watch the NBA Playoffs (I, on the other hand, have lost all interest in professional sports).
So we go to the bar (next door to the market).
We don’t get the most cheerful of welcomes.
Upon entry we’re all promptly yelled at for our ID and are told we cannot have open containers with us in the bar; this apparently includes our (empty) water bottles. Since this is the one and the only watering hole in the town, we don’t argue. After presenting our proof of age, we step outside to leave our water bottles under a bench outside the bar before assuming our seats in the drinking establishment.
After many $3 PBRs and a couple rounds of (surprisingly intense) pool, we make contact with the group of locals whom we’ve been subjecting to our bouts of Disney and punk music on the jukebox.
It comes to light that one of the town’s residents is about to shoot one of his dogs whom he simply doesn’t want anymore. Appa, being the drunken and dog-loving man that he is, tells everyone that we will take the dog from this man. Me, feeling the slightly more rational member of the group, remind Appa that we are hiking the CDT and cannot possibly adopt a dog.
However, Appa has a friend meeting him in Pie Town (40 mi / 64 km up the trail) and he promises that said friend will be able to take this dog to a no-kill shelter where it will be safe. Thirty minutes later, and there’s now a dog at the bar; our dog is at the bar.
We decide we’re going to call the dog TEDOLSON! in honor of the one and only TEDOLSON. And we gorge ourselves on the french fries, wings, corn dogs, and popcorn that one of the bar’s patrons buys for us after our adopting of the dog.
With the day getting later and small-town drama happening all around us (and with a dog), we finally decide it’s time to get back to the trail (with our dog).
The woman who bought us the food offers us a ride, but since she’s too drunk to drive she gets a friend of hers to drive the four of us, plus TEDOLSON! the dog, up to the trailhead. Admirable as her actions may be, after a couple of minutes of driving it becomes clear that this friend isn’t in any state to be driving (as evidenced by his spending most of his time on the wrong side of the road).
We survive the ride back to the trail which heads north from Highway 12 on a dirt road.
To be nice, our driver insists that he take us up the road away from the highway. He makes it probably a quarter mile (400 m) before the RAV4 insists that he turn around. Now the proud keepers of a canine companion, we make camp after a brief walk up the road (fearing that the Reserve locals will come back for us).
What a day. And we didn’t even get watch any basketball.
CDT DAY 18 – Stubing the doggo
Waking up in the morning, I’m surprised to find that I’m a little hungover. I’m even more surprised to see a dog outside of my tent – and all of yesterday comes flooding back.
Yes, it seems we have a dog now. Appa lays out some breakfast kibble for TEDOLSON! the dog to munch on as we pack up our camp. Let’s hope this dog can hike, because we’ve got close to 40 mi / 64 km to go before Pie Town (the actual name of the next town we are stopping in). With a belly full of doggo food and no bullet in his head, TEDOLSON! sets off with us down the dirt road that is the CDT.
We’re actually taking another alternate route now, known as the Pie Town Road Walk Alternate (dirt roads, that is), that takes us directly into Pie Town. The official CDT spits us out on Highway 60 which would then require us to walk 13 mi / 21 km east on the highway into town (probably not a good idea with a dog).
Also, pretty sure that fire we saw yesterday is burning along the official route.
TEDOLSON! came with an included leash, but when he’s taken off he never strays far from the three of us (that being said, maybe not the best idea for us to hike with an off-leash dog we literally just met). Ted slowly drifts between the front and back of our pack, but before long it becomes obvious that he definitely prefers being in the lead.
We make it to a cow pond (that is, basically a cow-poo-filled swamp) after an hour of hiking and TEDOLSON! joins us in drinking from yet another beautiful New Mexico water source.
TEDOLSON! has one blue eye and one brown eye, and when you look at his blue-eye profile, you would swear that he is a zombie. Zombie dog – because we brought him back from the brink of death? Probably.
We keep hiking until we hit a junction where there’s a campground with a bathroom, picnic tables, and fire pits. I attempt to use the bathroom, but the inside is literally filled with trash and covered in shit. Seriously, who does these things? I would like to imagine that this is the aftermath of an angry animal who became trapped inside the toilet, but I’ve got a feeling that there’s some shitty human out there who this could be traced back to.
As we sit at the nearby picnic tables munching on snacks (the snacking never stops), a forest ranger rolls up to clean the bathroom. My heart goes out to you, unsung hero of the backcountry, you’re doing God’s work.
The map tells us there’s water just ahead in a cow trough, and so we head into a cow-filled field to find it. There are dozens of cows crowding around the trough when we find it, but they quickly scatter at the sight of us mighty hikers. TEDOLSON! takes this opportunity to literally rub – not even rub, more like dig – his face in a fresh pile of cow shit. It’s easily the most disgusting thing I’ve seen on trail thus far.
In the distance we hear the cows erupting into an uproar of MOOs as two cows start charging and headbutting one another. COW BATTLE!.
After watching the cows duke it out, we move on to more pressing issues. Looking to our shit-covered dog, we decide it inappropriate to call him TEDOLSON! and we elect that from now on he will be William Wallace. Why? Because he loves freedom (and cow shit).
Continuing our hike, we head up to nearly 10,000 ft / 3,050 m to the Mangus Fire Lookout. The fire lookout is manned (which is good since there are actual fires to be looking out for right now), but we don’t climb up to hang out with the fire lookout hermit – mostly because it looks like there’s a storm brewing and we should probably lose some elevation.
On the way down we find a .7 mi / 1.1 km cut (have I mentioned that CDT is all about finding shortcuts?).
The storm eventually catches up to us as light rain turns into hail.
William Wallace (remember, that’s the Dog’s name now) is taking it in stride, and we have set a goal to make it to the next water source – a pump outside some guys house (who is nice enough to allow CDT hikers to take his water).
We make it to the water source and despite the hail, the owner emerges from his home to chat with us. Despite the weather, our miserable looking state, and a barrage of hints, we are not invited in out of the rain. And oh yes, the storm has intensified and we’re now also surrounded by thunder and lightning.
The man retreats to his home and we keep hiking down the road in search of camping.
It looks like the rest of the “trail” is going to be on this road and it looks like there are plenty of homes along this road (aka plenty of places we should avoid camping). Eventually, we retreat into the hills and find some acceptable (and reasonably sheltered) camping.
William Wallace crushed it today – 25 mi / 40 km! This dog must know we saved its life.
In other news, I finished The Hobbit audiobook today and have started The Fellowship of the Ring (that’s the first book of the Lord of the Rings trilogy for those of you who have yet to engage with a staple of this pillar of popular culture).
We’re not far from Pie Town and should be able to make it there before the post office closes tomorrow to pick up our resupply boxes.
CDT DAY 19 – Pie Town, New Mexico
It’s that time of the trail again, TOWN DAY! Today’s town, Pie Town, apparently does not have much besides a post office and a couple of pie shops (two or three, I think), but it does have the Toaster House. But more about the Toaster House in a second, there have been some developments we must discuss.
First of all, we’ve changed William Wallace’s name once more (I think this time it’s for good). He’s now Stubing – named for our long-lost friend Stubing from the Gila.
Second of all, this morning on our way into town we passed by a place called Fur and Feather. What’s Fur and Feather? It’s a 90-acre no-kill animal sanctuary – in fucking Pie Town. The thru-hiker adage “the trail provides” has never rung truer. There’s nobody there when we pass, but we take down the places information.
Back to the Toaster House. The Toaster House is a property run for CDT hikers by a trail angel named Nita – and she really is an angel.
The entirety of the house is dedicated to hikers – Nita doesn’t even live there. Like Doc Campbell’s Post in the Gila, the Toaster House is a place that nearly all hikers go to and so it’s a great place to meet your fellow thru-hikers (since there aren’t a ton of us out here this year – we probably average one sighting every two days).
You can also mail your resupply to the toaster house, but since I couldn’t find an address for it, I had my box to the Post Office (as did Appa and Moist).
Note: the Toaster House address is:
YOUR NAME (CDT HIKER) ETA:MM/DD
The Toaster House
603 South of US60
Pie Town, NM 87827
We’re excited to get our boxes (Moist and Appa have intelligently included booze in theirs since nowhere in Pie Town sells alcohol) so we head straight to the post office. We walk out onto the highway and head east up a hill to find the almost abandoned-looking building that is the post office.
And it’s closed. Yes, the Pie Town post office closes at noon. It’s now 12:30. Guess we should have made more of an effort this morning.
Fortunately, a pie shop, The Gathering is open next door and we step inside to get some pie. And quesadillas. And pulled pork sandwiches. And a quiche. And $1 sodas. We’re hungry.
Sitting at an outdoor table, you know, because dog (and I guess because we haven’t bathed), we are told by one of the very kind girls working in the shop that she knows the postmaster (who she describes as a dick) and can ask if he will open the place up and give us our boxes. No luck.
As we sit and brainstorm how to obtain alcoholic beverages, a car pulls up right next to us, and who but Mr. Stubing himself steps out (Stubing the man, Stubing the dog is still chilling with us at the table).
Stubing got off after a foot injury in the Gila and has been held up at the hospital in Santa Fe for a couple of days. He’s now rented a car and is driving around checking out the local hot springs. Stubing never described himself as a thru-hiker, he’s just going with the flow and heading where the wind takes him; in a couple of months he’s heading up to Glacier National Park in Montana (the end of the CDT) to hike southbound with some friends.
We hang out for a bit and as quickly as he arrived, Stubing is gone.
That car of his probably could have been taken advantage of, but we were so excited to see him that nobody thought to say anything. It’s still early and our thirst for alcohol isn’t going anywhere so Moist and I decide to try our luck at hitching west to a town called Quemado – a town 22 mi / 35 km west on the highway.
Appa heads back to the Toaster House with Stubing the dog while Moist and I head to a highway intersection just down the street. We get lucky as a couple of locals heading to Quemado stop to give us a life. They’re heading there to pick up a car that was being fixed and they say they’ll take us down to the shops and then back to Pie Town if we don’t mind waiting for them to swap cars. The trail provides.
When we make it back to the Toaster House we’re welcomed as heroes by the probably thirteen or so hikers there (not really, but that’s how we felt – that’s how I felt).
Inside the house is already jammed with hikers, so we pitch our tents in the yard.
We get to work on the beer and spend the rest of the afternoon meeting and getting acquainted with our fellow CDT hikers. There’s Fainting Goat, Napolean, Red Cross, Atlas (whom Moist and I actually met on the PCT in 2013), Hamal, Dion, Sherpa C, Lumber, Acorn, JPEG, Chris, and a couple others whose names I never got.
Before sunset, Nita came around to ask if anyone wanted to go on her Pie Town Tour. I volunteered and jumped into her car with three other hikers. She gave us some history of the town and then took us down to the Very Long Baseline Array. If you don’t know what this is, just go watch the movie Contact (and if you do know what this is, you should still go watch Contact).
Today wasn’t a zero, we hiked a whole 13 mi / 20.9 km to get here, but we’ve certainly been making the most of our time in town.
I wanted to get our boxes today so that we could hike out tomorrow morning, but now we won’t end up leaving until early afternoon at the earliest (after we wake up, get our boxes, come back here, sort our boxes, drink our leftover beer, and pack up our packs).
Appa is hanging out here tomorrow to wait for his friend to come pick him up; Moist and I are going to hike the next section to Grants without him.
It’ll be good to shake up the hiking group for a couple of days. Too long hiking with the same people and you’ll probably end up killing (or at the very least, hating) each other.
CDT DAY 20 – Leave Pie Town
I wake up in the morning to my tent, and the entirety of Pie Town, covered in snow.
As soon as he sees that I’m up, Stubing runs over and tries climbing into my tent with me. Probably not a good idea given how thin the floor of my tent is. I zip myself back inside and shake tent until most of the snow is off. Before I get out to brave the morning, I pack up my backpack, but I leave my tent standing in the hopes that the sun will appear to dry it out.
We might not be hiking anywhere today.
Appa and Moist are up before long and we all retreat into the house for breakfast.
It’s madness in the kitchen, but Appa charge and assumes the challenge of making us all bacon and eggs while Moist and I head up to the post office (which had better be open) to grab our resupply boxes. I’ve actually got three boxes: my resupply, a burner phone (to use as my GPS), and a new pair of shoes (the pair I started with is too small).
Also, where did all of these eggs and this bacon come from?
We find the post office now open and I stupidly have mine addressed to “Mac”. PRO TIP: if sending a box to somewhere official, like a post office, use the name that’s on your ID (also, in case you didn’t know already, Mac is my trail name).
After some mumbling and grumbling, I find my name written on one of my packages and the postmaster hands them over.
I break them open and then turn around and immediately mail home a box with my old shoes (which still have some miles on them, just not thru-hiking miles), my battery pack (which I am replacing because it malfunctioned), my book, and my umbrella. I also try to mail some postcards to some friends overseas and discover that I was ripped off when I bought stamps at Doc Campbell’s Post.
Speaking of Doc Campbell’s, I need to call them and make sure they have my trekking poles. And speaking of trekking poles, I need some new trekking poles.
Back at the Toaster House we eat breakfast and go to work on the bottle of whiskey that Moist had in his resupply box – we wouldn’t want him carrying all that extra weight on the trail. We’ve also got to stall a bit to give all this snow time to melt (which it’s actually doing quite quickly).
We’re joined by Franklinstein, Fly Balls, Knock Knock, and Bad Camper (who is currently trying to decide if he’s going to keep his size 14 or size 15 shoes – they’re literal clown shoes). More hikers trickle in including Dr. Bug and Stud whom we haven’t seen since the middle of the Gila.
Appa’s been in touch with the people over at the animal sanctuary, Fur and Feather, and they’ve arranged to come by and pick up Stubing later in the day.
Meanwhile, Sherpa C has gone with Nita to town to get more beer.
It’s a busy day at the Toaster House.
Appa gets a call from Fur and Feather to say they’re on they’re way to pick up Stubing.
When they arrive, we hang out on the grass with them and Stubing for a bit before the fateful hour arrives. It’s only been a couple of days, but Appa has grown quite close to Stubing and saying goodbye was definitely not the day’s highlight.
That being said, it’s good to know that we’ve quite literally saved this dog’s life.
Appa is convinced that he’s going to go back for Stubing after the trail, but that’s still many months away. A lot couple happen between now and then; we could all be dead.
At some point I got it in my head that we’re hiking today and when Nita’s car returns filled with beer, I tell Moist, much to his chagrin, that we’re leaving. How exactly I manage to convince Moist to leave since both he and Appa were against the idea (Appa, of course, because he’s waiting here anyway for his friend), I’m not entirely sure. But in the end, we start walking.
I’m not going to lie, we are a little drunk. But what better way to sober up than hiking?
North out of Pie Town we take yet another alternate, this one, the Cebolla Alternate, skips the Chain of Craters which includes a very long waterless stretch. It’s also shorter than the official CDT which almost always makes it the preferred option.
What, you think I’m out here to hike?
CDT DAY 21 – Put your gun away
We wake up to discover everything covered in snow once more.
Although the snow starts melting as soon as the sun makes an appearance, clouds quickly roll in and within an hour of our day’s start, we’re in near-blizzard conditions. Heavy snow and gusting winds are hammering us as we walk down the dirt road (and yes, another dirt road, I told you that there would be a lot of these in New Mexico).
Moist is not pleased with my having made us leave the shelter of the Toaster House yesterday afternoon.
From where we were camped, it’s 8 mi / 13 km to a place called Thomas Mountain Ranch – the home of an elderly couple who provide hikers with water and camping and/or shelter (and apparently, sometimes food).
By the time we arrive it’s stopped snowing and we see Fainting Goat, Acorn, and Chris leaving as we walk in (they were smart enough to wait out the weather).
We meet John and his wife who are getting ready to head into town as we arrive. John is proudly sporting a pin-filled hat from his service in the Korean War and he’s very excited to have us sign their hiker register. Moist and I are hiker numbers 132 and 133 this year (note: not everyone in this hike is a CDT thru-hiker – there are section hikers and bicyclists as well – so we’re probably northbound thru-hiker number 100 and 101 or something?).
John and his wife drive off to town as Moist and I fill up our water bottles and continue hiking.
We pass a water source off the trail and spot some thru-hikers sitting in the shade behind the water tank. We decide to skip this water source (generally not a good idea) because fuck going off trail to get water.
It looks like we’re going to watch up to Fainting Goat, Chris, and Acorn, but Moist and I are investigating a possible shortcut coming up to save us 5 mi / 8 km of hiking.
Approaching the junction for our shortcut, we approach two cars stopped in the road. One drives away just as we walk up and from the other emerges a woman who promptly greets us and then begins expressing concern for a nearby calf (that’s a baby cow aka veal) that appears to have been separated from its mother.
I don’t know a lot about calves (except that they’re delicious), but this one certainly appears to be in distress. Perhaps we should eat him?
Interesting as the baby cow may be, Moist and I are eager to keep walking. That is until this woman offers us some water bottles and some shots of tequila. We seem to have suddenly reconsidered our interest in this calf. One shot quickly turns into four shots (that’s four each) and before we can take any more, two guys on bicycles roll up – they appear to be friends of this woman.
The bikers leave, as does the keeper of the tequila.
Moist and I start walking again, but after only about ten minutes or so the tequila lady is back. She’s markedly drunker than she was when she left us before, and after stopping and getting out of her car, she pulls out a handgun from under the seat and starts waving it around.
New Mexico, your hospitality is excellent, but why all the guns?
Now speaking in a half-baked Irish accent, she refuses to put the gun away despite my insistence. I sidestep the barrel each time it comes in my direction which only invites yells of “I’M NOT FUCKING POINTING IT AT YOU!” It takes more than fifteen minutes for the gun to go away, and even longer for her to leave us, but eventually, we were free to continue north.
Handling a gun while drunk should be a crime.
Thankfully, to steady our nerves, as soon as we hit the pavement and begin our road walk on down Highway 117 into Grants, New Mexico (our next resupply stop), a guy in a silver van drives up and gives us beers. Why? Because we’re CDT hikers and people love us.
Seriously, though, this guy was clutch. We talked with him about our experience and gulped down our beverages. We’ve somehow managed to be drinking quite often on this trail. Perhaps it’s the key to a successful thru-hike? Probably.
The trail takes a turn off the road as we enter El Malpais National Conservation Area and find a picnic table where we eat dinner. Bonus, there are bathrooms and trash cans (trash cans are highly valued by thru-hikers – garbage = weight).
What a day. What a week.
- Day 15: 28 mi / 45 km
- Day 16: 28 mi / 45 km (arrive Reserve)
- Day 17: 1 mi / 1.6 km (leave Reserve)
- Day 18: 25 mi / 40.2 km
- Day 19: 13 mi / 20.9 km (arrive Pie Town)
- Day 20: 8.8 mi / 14.1 km (leave Pie Town)
- Day 21: 24.5 mi / 39.4 km
WEEK’S TOTAL: 128.3 mi / 206.5 km
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