Ghost Ranch to Chama: to the San Juans

New Mexico is finished! After about 650 miles from the border, I finally crossed the state boundary line the other day. Feels good.

The walk from Ghost Ranch to Cumbres Pass was a beautiful one. RightOn, Uberdude, Cloud, Cowboy Stripper (formerly known as Tink), and I also experienced some weather which was cool too. It snowed a bit one night and also “snowhailed” three afternoons. And some thundersnow… love that word.

The scenery was beautiful. We went from desert-ish canyon to high cow pasture land to pine forests to high mountain meadows to rolling mountains covered in snow. More deer and elk were seen.

My shoes were on their last trip, and the tread was pretty much worn away. I slipped all the time in mud and on snow later on- made for some fun times. I also kicked a stick through the mesh at a certain point and ripped a hole through my left shoe. That, combined with some holes in my socks, had me pretty much walking on snow touching bare skin the last day. What fun.

I also experienced some trail magic twice! One night we were at a campground, and a family invited us over to their fire for green chile pork stew and some corn. Sooooo good. The next day, I happened to run into a family on a dirt road before another campground, and the grandad challenged me to a slingshot battle. He was pretty good. Afterwards, they insisted that I take some beer, chips, soda, pastries, and a sandwich. I have to say, I was pretty darn happy walking down the road with a Modelo beer in one hand and a turkey sandwich in the other. RightOn and Cowboy were super stoked when I showed up to camp that evening.

In other news, I finished reading Moby Dick. Extremely interesting read. We even started calling the trail the “white trail” when we started hitting snow. Sometimes I’d post hole (when your leg sinks into the snow) and say, “Avast! She took me leg!” Oh Ahab. I just received my kindle in my mail package with the Lord of the Rings loaded onto it. Oh boy. I also read The Pearl by Steinbeck in town, such a good writer.

Anyways, we spent a day postholing through snow and then camped at the NM-CO border. The next day we hitched back into New Mexico from Cumbres Pass to stay in Chama. Nice little town. Here I picked up new shoes, Berger cookies, my kindle, snowshoes, microspikes, and an ice axe.

Everybody is worried about the snow in the San Juans. There’s a lot. And the next 220 miles are above 10,000′. It’s gonna be fun. The general plan is to wake up super early and hike on top of snow while it’s still frozen with microspikes then switch to snowshoes when we start postholing. It’s 70 miles from Cumbres to Wolf Creek Pass (where I’ll hitch into Pagosa Springs), and I am taking 6 full days of food with me to be safe. We are hoping to do 15 miles a day, but that will be tough. A group ahead of us went from doing 25 miles per day to 10 miles per day. I’ll just have to find out for myself.

I am so stoked for the mountains. We will be walking on the actual Continental Divide for much of the trail. We’re going as a group because none of us wants to be alone up there. I’m feeling well prepared with my gear and with the knowledgeable people I’m going with and also in my extra maps in case we need to bail out.

New Mexico was absolutely beautiful and a great way to start the trail, but the adventure is truly just beginning now. Let’s do this Colorado.

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RightOn and his hair
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Climbing out of Ghosf Ranch
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Cowboy
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Break time

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You can tell it’s an aspen by the way it is
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Great water straight from the pipe
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Sketchy crossing
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Playing board games in a bathroom to get out of the wind

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Little bit of snow!
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Packing up

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Another fun crossing
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Huddling under my tarp in the afternoon reading Moby Dick out loud

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Look at that valley! Lots of brookies down there
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Doing the sawyer sit (filtering water)
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Uberdude glasses repair
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Cloud

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I see the mountains
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10:10am = snickers

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Snow way
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Snow wow

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The border!
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Camping with a view
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Thar it is
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Snow gear in Chama!
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rides around town in the back of a truck
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Makeshift snow baskets made out of light switch covers #ingenuity
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RIP first pair of shoes
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