Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Pictures from pie town to Cuba!

obligatory update

Howdy all!

I'm in Cuba NM, spending a night in a hotel and resting the bones.  So far we have walked 500 miles in 20 days.  For those of you with no frame of reference, we are absolutely killing it. In this last section, we hike a 33 mile day, a 34 mile day, summited an 11,000 foot peak, and hiked 24 miles to make it in town before 6pm. All of us have healed from our overuse injuries for the most part, and my cankles are back to being regular ankles with bones and function!!!

The trail has also been more fun to look at lately.  We have walked along mesa rims, summited a peak, traversed lava fields, and generally enjoyed a varied terrain.  The walking has been a little more demanding as a result, but our bodies are adapting well. 

Sadly my body did NOT adapt well to gluten-filled pie. But it was delicious!  The pie shops did open the following morning in Pie Town, and we stayed until mid afternoon enjoying the delights.  I had an apple pie made with green chiles and pinon pine nuts...so good!! Unfortunately my tummy was grumpy at the gluten though and I felt like a ticking time bomb.  When we hiked out of town we passed some property with a sign that encouraged hikers to come take water and refuge at a piece of property along the trail.  Never ones to pass up such an offer, we passed through the fence and discovered a sweet trailer set up for hikers and two welcome mules! The mules got a little too friendly, trying to steal our food and one bit Sweet As in the bum! We decided to spend the night and cooked dinners on the front step and climbed into the beds, linens provided!  Our attempt to get out early the next morning was foiled by sleeping in.  Oh well!

We kept hiking.  Lots of miles, not so many days.  We've gotten our first reports about snow in the Southern San Juans, and it appears that it might be a bit of a slushfest and drastically reduce mileage.  But for now, we're still pushing forward and going to worry about the snow when we get there.  I'm only a day behind Liz, who I've been trying to catch since the start, even though she started a week before me, so the pushing has paid off, and I hope to see her at Ghost Ranch in two days! In a little more than a week I will be finished with New Mexico, and 1/4 done with the trail!!!

Monday, May 13, 2013

No pie?!

Ahhh! So I've finally arrived in Pie Town NM, famous for its cake clearly, and both restaurants are closed! Rumor is one will be open tomorrow morning, and if it is, there will be atleast 9 happy hikers!!!

So somewhere around 300 miles done in 14 days; a solid pace that has been generally easy due to unseasonably cold weather that has made the hours easy. Sweet As, Aquaman and I have crossed paths with quite a few other hikers, and hiked some incredible terrain, following the Gila river, crossing it between 150 and 200 times. We also spent more time in the trees, an exciting change from the 3 foot scrub of before. Sadly overuse injuries are plaguing us, myself suffering from what I believe to be Achilles tendonitis. A very swollen ankle that has made it necessary to hack open my shoes to help relieve the pressure on the swelling. With a heavy dosage of ibuprofen and baby talking to my joints, I've been able to keep moving, and hopefully I'm on the up and up!

Enough with the boring details. Here's what we've been doing to entertain ourselves. From 7 pm to 8 pm is "no judgment hour" in which anything and everything goes. We've developed a storyline about me being pregnant with a T-rex. We've attempted to communicate with the cows. We have white kid dance parties. We invented a cowbear, including mating calls. We have tried to skip rocks across cattle water tanks. We terrify section hikers or newbies with lunatic stories and foul language. We get jacked up on Crystal Light Energy, known as Crystal Crack in our inner circle. We punctuate our otherwise intelligent conversations about traveling with endless flatulence. And our never-fail entertainment is giving Aquaman a hard time. Anytime of day, that provides Sweet As and I with a solid giggle.

So, tonight is a relaxing night, with a hiker-friendly stew made from mystery meat from the trail angel's freezer and canned vegetables. As hiker midnight approaches (9 pm), we'll all trickle off to sleep and dream of pie, hopefully foreshadowing breakfast!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Hit the ground running!

Well kids, here's the first update I know you've all longed for! I'm currently in Silver City, approximately 145 trail miles from the border. For under 6 days of hiking, that's really good. And really brutal.

I'm hiking with two fellows, an Aussie named Clint (Sweet As) and a lad from Chattanooga, Kevin (Aquaman). Our adventure started at the train station, where we all met up, along with Dave (Trip) a kiwi who is currently just behind us. From there we Amtrak'd to Lordsburg NM, shoutout to the awesome train conductor that shooed us off the train! (we looked for you on Saturday, no luck) Then we met the incomparable Sam Hughes, a darling 84 year old man that allowed us to sleep in his yard before delivering us mostly intact to the border- we had a slight run in with a bush when Sam got a little off track. Sweet as, Aquaman and I got to the border just before 10 am for a quick photo session, then hit the trail. The terrain was easy, meandering desert, but the temps were rising, so we cruised onto the water cache we had placed earlier. After a short siesta under one of the few shade casting trees in the area, we pushed on through the heat of the day, though the trail disappeared and we spent a few hours playing "hide and go seek" with the trail cairns. We opted to go for a 26 mile day to be able to camp next to the second water cache, but it was dry when we arrived, so we ended up hiking another 3 miles in the fading light to a windmill with water. We were all losing our sense of humor at this point in the day, but once we were properly hydrated, life improved and we had some good laughs about the misadventure. It seemed an appropriate start to the journey.

The next few days passed uneventfully; big mile days, with long siestas and lots of ibuprofen. We've had foot pain, joint pain, scratches from run in's with the heroin bush (as we like to call it), a infected cactus needle wound, chafing in some "delicate" places, and just all around soreness. We have, however, made great time, having hiked good distance and managed to keep spirits up!

Last night we pulled into camp at dark, exhausted after a long 28 mile day, one of the first with significant elevation changes, and we tossed our gear to the ground and promptly fell asleep to starry skies. Around 2am I woke up to a drizzle on my cheek but in my half asleep state just hoped it would go away. It didn't. As the raindrops got bigger, panic and swearing ensued and we popped up tents. Well Sweet As and I did. Aquaman just wrapped himself in his tent and went back to sleep. We managed to fend off the rain and stick to our planned 5:30 wake up, and packed our soggy camp and hit the trail. We missed our turn, although we actually followed the trail signs, but apparently the signed trail was the wrong way? Anyhow we got on the right route and worked our way into Silver City, with a lovely 12 mile road walk that pounded our feet, ankles and knees. The heat held off though, so it was an easy enough stroll into town, where I happy rewarded myself to a medium nonfat latte! And in true hiker fashion, we had a motel room, showers and laundry done in no time. Our room assumed the all too familiar role of drying rack for wet tents, sleeping bags and ground cloths.

Our bodies are appreciating the rest, but tomorrow we will be off again into the wilderness. Next stop: the Gila river and cliff dwellings!