The Sunny Day


Joe Pesci the cactus takes in the morning sun

Day 29: May 22, 2019

Destination: Bonita-Zuni Alternate Mile 19.6

Today’s Miles: 26.4

Start Location: CDT Mile 513.8

Trip Miles: 428.7


I finally had a sunny day where I was able to hike without a jacket! Today was a good day.

I felt strong, I ate loads of food because I had extra and will be in Grants tomorrow, and it did not rain, hail, thunder, sleet, or snow! I actually had to use sunscreen today!

Meet Liz!

The day started waking into The Badlands and spending about 7 miles walking over lava rocks. Lava is so hard and sharp! It wasn’t that bad to walk on, but will definitely do a number on your shoes. It’s also not a good place to fall!

Miles of lava rock

I was amazed at how small shrubs and cacti managed to grow out of the rock. Nothing can stop life! The area still felt a little desolate, just because it was relatively flat and quiet. I enjoyed hiking up and down the lava ravines.

There were lots of deep cracks and fissures in the lava rock

I then hit the junction for the Bonita-Zuni Alternate. A couple from Colorado stopped to talk. They were day hiking and asked what I was going to do about Colorado. Long story short, it got me thinking again about whether I really want to hike through and deal with the snow, or whether I should flip up north. I’ll think more on this in Grants.

The Bonita-Zuni route runs through Bonita canyon. It’s mostly dirt road, but it is very scenic and the only vehicles that passed me were two motorcycles. The day got warm in the canyon. It felt so good!

The striped walls of Bonita Canyon

Windmill pumping water into a cow tank, a water source I used in Bonita Canyon

Eventually I made it to a larger gravel road that goes into Grants. I made it about 5 miles from town through another canyon, and then needed to stealth camp for the night before I got too close to town and there was nowhere to flop. I didn’t want to camp beside the road for fear some drunken hooligans might shine lights or shoot at my tent. The amount of beer bottles next to piles of shotgun shells that I saw today told me that I didn’t want to be around when that party started. So, when no cars were around, I dashed up the side of the bluff and came out on top of it with a view of the road and Mt. Taylor in the distance. When in doubt, go up! Mt. Taylor is over 11,000 feet high, and I will climb it after Grants.

Campsite with Mt.Taylor in the distance

Close up of Mt. Taylor

Today was full of great scenery and wonderful weather. I haven’t seen another thru-hiker for two days! I’m looking forward to Grants tomorrow. I have a lot to eat and do there!

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