Monday, June 29, 2015

May 21 Day 27 Storms and Quicksand - En Route to Cuba

Another hurried morning to get going and make miles.  Got going a bit earlier than yesterday with the hopes of doing about 27 miles today to leave us with 30 miles tomorrow (Friday).  That way we would only have 10 miles to do Saturday morning before the 11:30 am post office close time.

Another cold morning.  I keep expecting that one day it will feel like summer.  One morning I will wake up to a balmy feel in the air.  Maybe one day I will not go to bed with cold fingers and toes.  It is time to buy a sleeping bag liner to add some more warmth to my 10 degree sleeping bag.  How a new down 10 degree bag cannot keep me comfortable at 25+ degrees is beyond me.

A hazy, thick, cloud cover lingered over us for most of the day.  I figured the hot New Mexico sun would burn it off eventually as it often does, but not today.  Today the clouds would make their presence known.  As we hiked on through beautiful trail in forests and up high with amazing views, the clouds began to get darker and more ominous.  With the cold temperatures, a rain storm was not my idea of safe or fun, but on we hiked, hoping for the weather to hold.

I get a bit skittish sometimes, especially when it comes to cold weather rain.  I've had hypothermia before and it is a scary place to get to. It is one of those places that spirals downward very quickly, and I know I am prone to it.  My body just doesn't manage its temperatures well.  So, when it finally did start raining on us, I ran under a tree to hide and stay dry while the others got their rain gear on.  I also put my rain gear on, but remained under the tree until Guy gave me a look and politely asked if I was planning to wait it out.  I quickly responded "no" and got my act together and put one foot in front of the other.
(Bear Claw rocking the rain skirt)
(Guy enjoying the rain)

It turned out to be like so many of the New Mexico storms, light and sporadic. Nothing to freak out about. Great!  It was still cold and wet, but nothing dangerous like the 2 hour downpour at the beginning of trail!  

As the day went on and we were nearing the end of our ability to hike longer, we reached a water source.  A spring!  It had been dug out a bit to allow for a larger collecting pool and it was surrounded by what we thought was just mud.  No big deal.  It was actually quick sand.  Bigger deal.  Jonathan Ley, the creator of the main maps people use, had made a useful note about this section, casually mentioning that there was quick sand somewhere around here but that it would be no fun to reveal its actual location.  Great sense of humor.
(My filter)

Bear Claw was the lucky one who got to experience it and warn us against it.  We all filled up with the great water and were packing up, Bear Claw had already headed out, when I look over to see Guy filling up one last bottle.  As he is pulling it out of the spring, full with fresh, cold water, it slips from his fingers and sinks into the depths.  I cried I laughed so hard!  It was one of the funniest moments on trail and his expression of utter surprise and realization was truly priceless.  He spent the better part of the next 20 minutes on his belly reaching as far into the spring as he could to try to find that poor bottle.  No success, just me laughing and taking pictures.  I know, I'm so helpful.
(Guy searching for his water bottle)

We booked it out of there as the weather was looking even more grim than before.  After walking through a big beautiful canyon, Scallywag set up camp and Bear Claw, Grim, Old School, Guy, and I kept walking.  We found ourselves in a very exposed area past the canyon and knew, through Bear Claw's Verizon service, that there were supposed to be thunderstorms tonight, so we kept trucking along until we got to the other side of the barren, open section.  The sun was going down and we were on the verge of serious Hiker HANGER (angry hunger), when we finally found a runoff ridge line we could get away from the wind and hopefully have some sort of shelter from any storms. A 28 mile day!

Grumpy me set up my fixed frame Cabella's tent for the night and was especially grateful to be stuck with it.  I had a tarp tent coming to Cuba and had ordered it weeks before trail, but it just hadn't been made in time, so I was carrying a 4 lb solo tent that my brother had left in my parent's house.  I get grief about it sometimes, but not during a thunderstorm!

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