Just when you think you have things figured out, the trail will throw something else at you. Left Cuba, NM feeling pretty good, only hiked about 5 of the up hill miles and camped. Turns out that was a better plan than doing the whole 12 miles up and over the mountain.
The next morning we thought we’d just crank out the next climb. Wrong. As we climbed things just got worse and worse. On the upside I saw my first bear! I saw him first and when I started making noise he ran. Anyway we crossed a stream getting our feet wet but thought they’d soon dry out, wrong again! For the next 5 miles we were in, surprise, snow. Not just snow but also melting ice cold run off. It was SO cold. You don’t know cold til you’ve walked in ice water for an hour. Seriously we were post-holing in icy water up to our knees at times. My feet were numb, so we stopped changed socks and put plastic bags over our feet.
Treeman caught up to us soon after. He is a super nice German guy with long legs and pretty fast. He was just plowing through the snow with his neoprene socks. He left a whole day after us, that’s how slow we were.
This was easily our worst section, thus far. The plastic bags added insulation but did nothing to stop them from being wet. It took us most of the day to complete that climb and start down, what with the blow downs on the decent. At one break we just sat and laughed (to keep from crying) at the ridiculousness of it all. There was no out, just through. I have never been so glad to get to camp.
This section weighed heavily on us as we knew it was just a precursor to what awaited us in Colorado. We camped that night with Youngblood who asked what our plan was for Colorado. We have none. Both Yougblood and Treeman are getting off trail for a week to wait for the snow to melt. They also both have ordered snowshoes for Colorado. Neither Kelsey or I have snowshoes. I don’t want them as I don’t have any idea how I’d carry them.
Trail being the trail the next day we descended further to warmer temps and spectacular views. We headed for Ghost Ranch, where Georgia O’keeffe’s paintings come to life.
Ghost Ranch is beautiful and you can rent cabins there. We hurried to get there for lunch in the cafeteria, it was so good. Of course while hanging at Ghost Ranch the clouds rolled in rain and cold temps followed. Why is it so cold, not good for my morale. Now that we have received our cold weather gear (re: extra weight) we will pause and try to figure out what to do next. Just plowing through the San Juan mountains might not work, there is still much snow. In the Sierras on the PCT I just plowed through (highly unprepared) I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Ignorance is bliss.