Daily Miles: 17
Total Miles: 1447
Yesterday we finished up our drive south to Santa Fe and started our entirely too long journey on NM public transit to Chama. We spent about two hours actually on the buses riding and over five hours waiting for the various buses. We finally made it to Chama at 7:30pm as it was getting dark and we were exhausted.
We lucked out and got the last room at the motel in town. Someone had just cancelled their reservation, so we were able to get the room. We picked up salads at Subway, ate them while watching an episode of Shameless, and then zonked our for the night.
We decided that we wanted a more relaxing morning today, after the tiring past two days. We slept until 7am, sorted our food, bought a few more things at the grocery store and then waited for our ride. We had been in contact with a local trail angel who was going to give us a ride to the trail at 10:00am.
We were surprised to learn that the winter storm we had experienced in WY had been felt as far south as Chama. In fact, the town itself had gotten 6-8” of snow last Tuesday…and the mountains where the CDT crosses got even more. We hadn’t really expected to be hiking in more snow down here, but that seemed to be the situation.
Our Trail Angel, Marc, was right on time and brought us up to Cumbres Pass where we could continue our trek south. It was fun chatting with Marc and learning about the adobe home he is restoring.
We got on the trail at 10:30am and were walking in snow immediately. Some parts had melted already, but the areas in the shade still had snow. Other folks had already been on the trail, so we were just able to follow their footsteps.
The day was really beautiful. We had perfect temperatures and bright blue skies. We were instantly reminded of the great views in this area. We haven’t had much for big views lately, and we were happy to be back in southern Colorado.
We didn’t stay in Colorado long…in less than three miles we made it to the CO/NM border. At the border, there was a group of Americorps folks working on the border sign, which had fallen over last fall.
One of the guys in the group recognized us from our blog. He had checked out our information on the Grand Enchantment Trail before hiking a section of it last year. It is nice to know that we can pass along info that may be helpful to other hikers. We have certainly benefitted from reading other hikers’ blogs in the past.
Shortly after we left the border, the footprints of other hikers stopped. We hadn’t expected to be breaking trail in the snow here. Given the fact that the snow had fallen a solid week ago, we were amazed that no one had been out here this past week. It seems like we can rule out any CDT hikers being a week or less ahead of us. The only prints we saw at that point were from deer and elk…we even saw a set of bear prints in the snow.
The walking was a bit slow-going while we were breaking trail. We were walking through anywhere from one to six inches of snow. Not a ton of snow, but it was slippery. It seemed like this area got more snow than up in WY, but didn’t get the strong winds, as we didn’t encounter any new dead falls.
We got a few reprieves from the snow with some walking on dirt roads that were snow-free. And by late afternoon, we were walking in open areas where all the snow had melted. It was a bit muddy from the snowmelt, but we were happy not to be walking in the snow.
We decided to walk a bit later than normal since we got a late start and we are on a bit of a deadline with picking up our next resupply. We finally stopped to camp at 7:20pm, just as it was getting dark. We put up our hammocks quickly and are in bed by 8:00pm.