Saturday, June 8, 2024

Chama to Ghost Ranch

We made a great decision to do this section southbound! The drive to the trailhead was beautiful and we were in Colorado!! The Log Man took off at record speed up the trail but we just took our time! There was green everywhere! And trees and meadows! Later there would be snow and mud and lots of blowdowns but still it was perfect! Sadly not very far in we crossed back over to New Mexico but we had to finish up the miles. In the morning going over the snow wasn’t too bad as we could stay on top but by afternoon we were postholing quite a bit.  It slowed us right down. It was fun at first but there were logs and rocks under the snow so each time we postholed was an accident waiting to happen. We made it through with no injuries though! And we got to see hikers we hadn’t seen in awhile! It was a perfect day!

I woke up and it already seemed really bright out. We got a bit of a late start but hiked    perfect trail that went up and over the hills, through the trees and down to bright green meadows. There was so much water that we didn’t really need to carry any water but we did.

 I was feeling a bit off all day and thought it was maybe a mild case of altitude sickness. After lunch I felt worse and we had to take several breaks and were moving so slowly. I drank some electrolytes and felt a bit better and then we stopped for a really long time at dinner and I felt a lot better.  After dinner we saw Free Will and Pack Runner and they told us a bunch of people got sick after Ghost Ranch. I definitely touched the cooler door to buy some drinks while I was there, I bet they did too! It all makes sense now! Anyway, we set up the tent the earliest we’ve ever stopped for the night in the perfect spot!

We slept in again in the morning and took it easy all day. We stopped at a campground for lunch and right away someone offered us bottles of water. I took a nap and a guy offered us beer. TBD had one but I wasn’t interested. Another hiker came over and had lunch with us. And then it was time to pack up. It was nice to be able to leave all of our garbage in the bin at the campground. It was even nicer heading down for most of the afternoon. We made it to Rio Vallecitos and crossed the river easily. The cold water felt great on my feet and was only k we high. On the other side we stopped for dinner and met Shake and Bake and her husband (I can’t remember his name). They had hiked New Mexico and Colorado in 1998 and were out doing a 500 mile loop trail in New Mexico. After dinner we still had miles to go so we headed up the trail. All day the trail we have been in trees and meadows. We saw an antelope and then some deer today and right before we went to bed TBD thought she saw a mouse. It will be the mouse that might be the problem. 

There was no mouse and we got up early to hike. I still wasn’t feeling the greatest so it was slow going with extra breaks. It was a beautiful area we were mostly hiking down from 10,500. There was still lots of water so we didn’t need to carry much. We hiked to another campground but only stopped to throw out garbage and hiked down to a stream for lunch.  We saw lots of elk today and prairie dogs. 

We woke up early and were hiking by 6am. It was town day and the last of New Mexico! We started out hiking with pine trees and green grass but soon the sage brush and cactus were back and the sand. We hiked down the sides of cliffs and back to the desert.  Along the way we met a few hikers climbing out of Ghost Ranch. At last we made it down to a stream and I knew we were close. The last miles was just Ghost Ranch paths or roads. 

We made it! We finished New Mexico! We celebrated with lemon iced teas and root beers. This was by far the nicest section of New Mexico but I’m glad to be done with it! We were both hungry and knew we still needed to hitch to Chama for food so we headed down the long driveway and stuck out our thumbs. A couple who had been out looking for elk horns picked us up and dropped us off in Chama at our hotel. Thank you!  The hotel was a big score! We had tried to book a hotel  from Ghost Ranch and TBD ended up contacting a friend to find a spot for us while we hitched. By the time we arrived in Chama we got a message telling us where we were staying. When we walked into our “room” we thought there had been some mistake because we walked into a two story apartment that had everything and three beds. We are living in luxury! The rest of the day was spent eating, getting clean and relaxing. At some point Free Will and Pack Runner arrived and we chatted for awhile before heading to bed.

Day 34.    14.8 miles/28.8km

Day 35.     19.9 miles/32km

Day 36.     21.6 miles/34.7km

Day 37.      25.6 miles/41.2km

Day 38.      10.3 miles/16.5

661.5 miles/1,061.5 so far!


“Hiking is a bit like life: The journey only requires you to put one foot in front of the other…again and again and again. And if you allow yourself the opportunity to be present throughout the entirety of the trek, you will witness beauty every step of the way, not just at the summit.” Unknown

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