Wednesday, June 17, 2015

May 15 Day 21 En Route to Grants

Ah the joys of New Mexican nights.  Falling asleep to a blanket of stars.  The enveloping depth of space.  Not a cloud to be seen.  And to be woken up in the middle of the night by raging winds and rain.  Where did that come from???  It was one of those nights, scrambling to set up our shelters in case the slight drizzle became something more substantial. It did not luckily, though I half wish it had to justify setting up at 1am.

We groggily put ourselves together and got walking by 6:15.  More road walking.  Lots of it. As we began the well paved highway walk a couple, Brenda and Jim Hudson from Texas, stopped in their truck, intrigued by us crazy cats, and then proceeded to give us cinnamon rolls, fruit cups, cold pizza, offers of beer, and fresh water!  WOAH!  

Talk about trail magic!  We ate all of the cinnamon rolls and packed out the rest (not the beers though. We weren't feeling that offer.  Need to be productive and well hydrated on trail).  We are eternally thankful to that amazing couple!!!!  With our spirits rejuvenated we plowed on.

By the looks of things, the storm we had left Pie Town early to avoid was coming in a bit early.  The clouds were looking ominous, taking war-like formations, marching darkly toward us.  We were working on a relatively long stretch of highway, walking as hail came down on us with a bit of frigid rain.  I blasted Girl Talk on my phone's speakers and Hot Springs and I had a rainy day dance party to brighten our spirits.  I do believe that SpoonMan would have gotten his boogie on if he hadn't been feeling his shin splints so acutely.  He was actually talking about hitching into Grants and coming back to finish El Malpais, the section we were looking forward to.  The lava flow!

Welp, he didn't even have to try because as we rounded a turn in the road we saw a friendly face walking toward us!  It was Pacer!  And the warrior hiker RV!  We picked up our pace and, with huge smiles on our faces, hopped into the RV where Rick made us all Hot Cocoa and offered to drive us into Grants to avoid this nasty storm.  Pacer was heading out from Grants to deal with some personal things back home and to let his feet heal properly.  
(Pacer in the RV)

I was truly heart broken to hear that he was leaving trail.  I know how important trail had been and was to his life, but it was the best decision for him.  Without too much hesitation, we all agreed to join the ride into town and return in a few days after the storm.

We checked into the Super 8 and immediately showered and hot tubbed!  Oh my goodness!  Why don't all motels have hot tubs!!??  There was a huge hiker crowd in Grants.  We had all reached a standstill.  I even had caught my starting group!  Toast, Malarky (Burly had a knee injury that took him off trail just yesterday!!  So sad to hear!), Banana Pants, and the others (LaLa, DayMan, Sanjay, etc.) were all there.  They ended up triple zeroing!  Everyone knew this storm was coming through and further north it was dropping a lot of snow and cold temps.  Colorado was no longer a distant thought, but a reality we all needed to plan for.  Now there was no rush, but a necessity to wait to see if this snow would melt quickly.  The San Juans are currently unpassable.  What's the rush?  Everyone slowed down and it seemed like everyone was trying to decide what to do here in Grants.

What happens when there is such a huge group of hikers?  We have a huge party.  And so we did.  Our motel room was seriously full of hikers, stanky feet, and many, many laughs.  I will worry about the snow ahead tomorrow or the next day.  Tonight, I sleep in a warm dry bed and dream of breakfast.

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