Day 42: June 4, 2019
Destination: CDT Mile 792.4 (Cumbres Pass/Chama)
Today’s Miles: 10.4
Start Location: CDT Mile 782.0
Trip Miles: 664.5
Today was going to be a big day! I was hiking out of New Mexico and into Colorado. Perhaps more significant to me was that I had pushed through the rough conditions over the last few days and would officially have hiked the length of New Mexico by the end of the day.
I woke up and everything was frozen. My tent, my shoes - all frozen. I got up early, but it took a while to get going as I had to use my stove thaw my shoes. Nevertheless, I still got hiking before 7.
The first thing I had to do was cross the icy river I could see from my tent. It was about 34 degrees outside, and when I stepped out of that water, my toes were numb for about 15 minutes. My timing was good though. The storm and wind last night had left the snow crusty, so I was able to make good time walking on it without snowshoes. Moving fast helped me warm up.
There were a couple of route choices and I ended up on a snow-covered forest road for a while. When I rejoined the trail, the only tracks following the CDT were from a single elk. I walked that way and started post holing, so I popped on my snowshoes. I rounded a bend and the trail became a narrow, steeply-slopes pseudo path. It looked really sketchy, like the kind of snow that is both unstable and hard to traverse as the day warms. There was no way I was going to take this route.
I walked back to the junction point, determined to go cross country down through the valley instead. I looked where I had come from, and who is walking towards me but Dutchman. What?!
I was so surprised to see him! They left the day after me (Dutchman and Mouse), but they had hiked some big miles and caught up, along with the guy from the Czech Republic I met at the Toaster House, Z Fox.
We discussed the weather, and apparently they were just far enough back to where they had great weather and didn’t get hit by the storms that were battering me! Amazing! What a difference a day makes.... they even took a picture of the lightning storm that hit me last night.
I warned them about the pass and they joined me cross country. It felt really good to see other hikers again, and my spirits were lifted! We continued with cross country routes until we all reached the border with Colorado. It was a great moment! We took a photo together, and then made the final push to Cumbres Pass, our access point to hitch to Chama. Mouse even spotted black bear tracks in the snow - bonus fun!
Girly Girl and her boyfriend, Tinman, were in town. He was visiting her and they offered to give us all a ride from the pass into town. How awesome! Mouse let them know we were there, and soon they arrived! Sadly, Viper was in the car with them and said he was going back to France. He said that the logistics and communications required by the trail conditions made it tough for him with limited English, which is why he was returning home. I will miss seeing him on trail!
We got into Chama and I stayed at the Chama Trails Inn. It’s not as cheap as the Y Motel where most hikers stay, but it is really nice and has WiFi (the Y doesn’t), which I really needed. The folks at Chama Trail Inn are also all incredibly nice!
I was happy to be in town and to get food and see lots of other hikers. Now it was time to figure out my next move. To Colorado or not to Colorado? Flip up to Wyoming? Tomorrow was going to be a busy day.