I didn’t set out to hike over 30 miles today. In fact most of the day I was congratulating myself on not giving into the temptation of town within reach. My plan was to camp about 5-6 miles short of Cuba, then do the quick walk to town in the morning in time for breakfast, and walk my way across town to resupply, eat lunch and possibly eat dinner, before hiking out a few miles. A well strategized nero day.
I should have known that plan was doomed when I came across Pimp Limp still in his sleeping bag that morning. He was planning on hiking into town…I explained my plan and think I almost had him convinced on the nero idea, but I kept hiking as he was packing up.
Cut to the terrain out here…AMAZABALLS! It just keeps getting better. I don’t know how, but it does. I HAVE to come back here and explore more. Granted there isn’t much water, and I ended up carrying enough for a 30 mile stretch, but wow, it’s truly spectacular out here.
I didn’t have a ton of water left, so was trying to make good time to Jones Spring before the day got too hot, or the clouds decided to form into thunderheads. I cruised through crazy cool sandstone hoodoos, up and around mesas, and every once in a while got to walk the rim of one of the monolithic giants.
I made it to Jones Spring in time for lunch, and spent the next two hours napping in the sun, eating almost all of the rest of my food and luxuriating in the cool sandy paradise. Pimp Limp had arrived, and he sounded like he might not make the push to town after all, it was still 15.7 miles away.
So the afternoon consisted of climbing up a CRAZY steep route to the top of the next mesa…it would be scary in bad weather…sometimes the only thing holding the rocks to the side of the slope was rebar or luck. The wind had started to whip up and I could see huge billows of cloud forming…uh oh…storms are coming.
The wind picked up steam as I walked across the top of the mesa, and at that point it was just my plan to get to a spot to camp before the rain started. I was just starting to scope out possible spots before town when I noticed the sky was getting darker and darker, the clouds bigger and bigger. I started evaluating the trees and landscape for how it could protect me from the lighting that was sure to come, and the driving rain. Would it be better to pitch up against the side of a rock? Or in the middle of trees? But not trees that were too tall…
I’m not liking my choices when I turn around and see Pimp Limp speed walking towards me. “I’m going to town!” he exclaimed. I didn’t miss a beat. “Me too!” I said. I fell into step behind him and our new goal was to hike the 7 miles to town before the skies unleashed their fury. It didn’t look good.
Fortunately having someone to talk to helped make the miles pass, and then the drops started to fall and the cold air came rushing in. You know it’s not a good sign when you get that rush of cold air…
I pulled out my umbrella and the last few miles it sprinkled; it was gathering steam and as we got to Cuba and saw the motel sign we started to make a run for it, and within feet of the front door it started to POUR. Picture torrential downpour. Yeah. But we were there. We made it. Nice try sky, not tonight!
We threw down our stuff in a room and went out again into the night…we heard there was an amazing mexican restaurant in town…and as luck would have it, it was a mile down the road. But who cares! We’ll be dry tonight! The thunder and lightening can do what they want!
After an amazing meal we entertained the prospects of walking back the mile in the pouring rain. I had already hiked 32 miles, the farthest so far on this trip, and did NOT want to walk back. We started talking to the owner, Hazel, and she offered to give us a ride back. Trail Magic!!
Glorious wonderful town. I don’t regret the pounding in my feet or the enchiladas in my belly.