Out the Lobby window I saw HoJo, who I had met back at the Gila Hot Springs and again at the Toaster House, walking toward Denny's. I joyfully hopped out to say hello and joined him at Denny's for tea as people slowly joined. Hugo Mumm came to get me to make a final Post Office run. I needed to send home some more gear that was not necessary but I had been carrying with me. It is a constant game of "do I REALLY need this?" Big Foot said it well back in Lordsburg. We carry our fears in our packs. As we become more confident in our abilities and understanding of our equipment, we need less and less to feel safe in the wilderness. I also finished my book The Glass Castle and sent it back to Josh, the dad I babysat for back in Chicago. Great book! Highly recommend it!
I got dropped back off at Denny's where everyone had just ordered. HUGE group! Scout, Frodo, Guy on a Buffalo, Grim, Bearclaw, Old School, Chaps, Tails, Spoon Man, Scallywag, Hot Springs, HoJo, Fozzie and others I can't recall. I was surprised not to see Ratna and Wide-Angle there, but they were still a day behind unfortunately. I missed them.
Once we all ate, laughed, and paid our bills separately, Hot Springs, Scallywag, and I packed up and headed out to the trail. We took the small streets in town to cut a couple miles off the in-town road walk and connect to the trail. Just as the small road we were on joined with the main road we connected with the other group that had hiked out! It was Grim, Bearclaw, Guy on a Buffalo, Old School, and HoJo! What a big group we were all hiking together!
Bearclaw is a seriously fast hiker. You can check out her blog at Stay Wild and True. She is sponsored by a bunch of different companies and has been in a fair amount of magazines and articles on backpacking. She was going to yo-yo (hike all the way up and back) the trail, but due to a foot injury early on is not going to be able to. This group informed us that the only water was at a ranger station about 200 feet behind us. The next one was on the other side of Mt. Taylor, which we would get to tomorrow. There were rumors of water caches left for the Warrior hikers along the way, but they should not be relied upon. I took the risk.
Scallywag and Hot Springs dropped their packs and ran back to fill up at the ranger station while I hiked onward. A truck driver saw us on the road and stopped to chat. He had seen lots of PCT hikers by his house out west and was wondering what we were doing. We told him and he was very interested and intrigued that a trail went through these parts. Grim then asked him, as he was about to leave, to yell "NERD!!!" at the female hiker that was way up ahead of us (Bearclaw). The truck driver grabs his loudspeaker mic and yells "NERDS!!!" much to our pleasure, promising to do so when he catches up to Bearclaw! We have to amuse ourselves somehow out here!
We got the trail head, the end of the road walking for the day, and there was a water cache! Thank goodness! I filled up my water and we took a short break, leaving just as Scallywag and Hot Springs arrived with Old School. The day was smooth and lovely and we, Bearclaw, Grim, Guy on a Buffalo, and I, cowboy camped right at the base of Mt. Taylor. Guy has been carrying a Cherry pie to eat at the summit!
We plan for 30 miles tomorrow, so we'll see if my body is up for the bigger miles now! We have to get to Cuba before 11:30am on Saturday, when the post office closes because it is Memorial Day weekend and we will be stuck for a while if we don't make it. That means bigger miles for this stretch. Summit tomorrow!