Monday, June 29, 2015

May 26 Day 32 The San Juans From a Distance - Arriving to Ghost Ranch

It was a funny day.  It was a day that included only 1 break in 25 miles.  How exactly that happened, I am not sure.  I think we kept misunderstanding the map and thinking we were closer than we were so we kept pushing.  It was a lovely day full of great conversation and many laughs as usual.  Very pleasant overall.  We left camp at 7:40am or so and had a bit of up and downs, but nothing especially taxing.  We did get lost due to getting lost in conversation, which will happen if you don't pay attention.  I had been warned of this before getting on trail, so it's true and I should have known better. We never got seriously lost anyway.

At a couple points along the trail we were able to see the San Juan mountains, the ones covered in snow north of us. They looked like big bad mountains and the decisions ahead began to feel heavy upon us.  You see, with all the late season snow fall we had to decide whether to push on or try to wait out the snow melt.  The other option would be to find our way north an hike through Colorado later in the season. I had been avoiding this decision until we were closer because a lot can happen in a week or two.  Guy and I had talked about just plowing ahead and seeing what the conditions were like for ourselves.  People really like to over dramatize things out here.  I think it is a mix of wanting to feel more epic than they already feel and different levels of comfort.  People like drama.  Seeing the San Juans now made me realize how real this decision was and how close it was.  What WAS I going to do?

We arrived to what I thought was Ghost Ranch and were super confused.  It was very empty and creepy. There was nobody there.  No signs of life.  It looked like a really old museum that was no longer used.  And that's what it turned out to be.  Ghost Ranch was still a ways further.  Phew.  On we went until we got to a cool suspension bridge, which we crossed and got REALLY frustrated with everything!  The signage was not clear and it was very confusing.  That was when we realized that we had not taken a break all day (21 miles in), so we sat down for an hour and ate some food.

Once we got our wits about us again we continued on until we actually made it to Ghost Ranch.  It was MUCH better than I expected!  It is used as a retreat center now, but Georgia O'Keefe lived there and painted many of her famous works there. There is a great, healing energy about the place even though some of the staff had some bad experiences with hikers and no longer give us much respect.  There were a few incidents, which could have ruined the experience due to the bad reputation hikers got from some past people who didn't follow the rules of the place, but luckily we were able to look past the attitude and enjoy our stay.

We found Bear Claw in the evening and she was kind enough to share her room with Guy and me. I cooked my dinner on my little stove in the bathroom and we shared some red wine before bed.  Grim would be arriving tomorrow and we were all excited to see him again.

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