(Some of my previously written blog posts were saved despite the broken phone! Joy!)
I got chased by storms all day. Literally.
I woke up to thunderheads coming my way in the morning, so I made short order of packing up and headed out to climb the big mesa in front of me. I had just made it to the top when the winds picked up and I could see the clouds approaching (it actually felt quite good as I was SWEATY), but kept moving. This happened all morning until early afternoon when they actually caught me.
I’m meeting my friend Alan at Ghost Ranch tomorrow morning to take a day or two off in Santa Fe, but with this dark dark sky, the 26 miles into shelter and food and a bed doesn’t sound that bad. I think I’m gonna do it! Another big day when there is still snow falling in the mountains north of here and people telling us to slow down…but it’s so hard to slow down when my legs are feeling strong and I am hiking alone and all there is to do is hike. This is what I’m here for! So I hike. And I’ll probably get to some considerable snow soon…but the good thing is I’m fairly comfortable in snow, and I have my skis coming!!! That’s right. It looks like I may get to use my shoe-binding skis in southern Colorado. In fact, it might be easier if there is more snow (sorry other hikers!)
Back to the hiking…after that first big climb on the mesa the rest of the day was downhill, on some really nice trail. It’s hard not to make miles when it’s so good! And when I emerged from all the downhill…..WOW, it does get better! The scenery keeps getting better! A lot of the terrain on top of the mesas reminds me of the high desert in Oregon, but then I get a glimpse of these dramatic and jaw-dropping sandstone cliffs, and I am blown away.
Today I was almost literally blown away…the storm was still on my heals, and I didn’t linger long as the rain was starting to fall. I tried to soak in as much of the beauty as I could…pictures just can not do this area justice, and kept hiking.
The rain came. I got out my umbrella. Kept hiking.
More hiking until I reached the Ghost Ranch alternate, and started the 11 mile walk to warmth! The road I was on follows the Chama River, and yep, another waterway I would like to come back and boat.
I kept looking back and the storms and rain and clouds made for some pretty dramatic landscapes. Even though the miles are long and the pace is hurried, I had a great day.
I turned off the road and unfortunately the periodic rain created the perfect concoction for mud boots. The heavy red clay soil caked on my shoes again and again, it felt like 10 pound weights on my feet. UGGGGGG.
And then I was there!
Oh beautiful Ghost Ranch with your all-you-can-eat meals and your bunk rooms. There was enough space for about 10 dirty hikers, and I met a bunch of new hikers that have been in front of me. Pimp Limp’s dad had come to visit and brought the desired beers! We ate and celebrated the fact we were not in the downpour, and of course all the talk was of the snow. Yep it’s still snowing.
But tonight, dry and warm.