Cuba, NM-just over 500 miles and 273 switchbacks
The last post I wrote in a quick frenzy since my dad was hungry and wanting to take us to lunch, so I did not get to edit it or mention that the Flag High track team ran AWESOME at the state championships. The girls 4x800 repeated as state champions and Tatiana won the 3200 and the 1600. The boys 4x800, placed 5th after being seeded 15th, but I have yet to see that video because Calvin (calling you out) has not sent me a link yet. Congratulations!
In trail news, we ended up leaving Zeno with my dad. He had difficulty getting out of the car in Grants so we would not have been able to do nearly enough miles, or carry enough food, to make it work. It was, yet again, a tough and sad decision but he is home for good now.
We left Grants Sunday afternoon right after a rainstorm came through and hiked out in clouds. The first few miles followed the bike route of the Quad, until we passed the prison, before taking a trail (a real live trail) up the mesa towards Mt Taylor. We thought it would be a good idea to camp at the edge of a meadow where we could see the mountain but that ended up being the windiest and coldest spot during the night's rainstorm. We awoke cold and began the last few miles up to the summit where we were in time to see the last of the fresh snow melting. The view from up top was incredible. During the Quad I was in such a dazed fog at the top and Sara was looking at the view in the wrong direction that neither of us noticed the great bowl on the inside of the mountain. This area definitely needs more exploring.
The trail took us down the backside of the mountain where we rejoined the official CDT and trudged north. The next day (31 miles) we dropped into an awesome valley created by the Rio Puerco, which had numerous mesas and arroyos and very little water. We spent the entire next day (28 miles) trying to get from one water supply to another in very hot weather. The views were incredible and we were on nearly all trail, but the heat and aridity made it tough going. We finally made it to a spring as the sun set and camped under a nearly full moon.
A tradition we started at the beginning of our hike that seemed like a fun idea and is now turning into a ridiculous and painful idea is pushups. We decided to do a pushup for every day on the trail. Day 1 we did one. Day 5 we did five, etc. Today we need 26. I thought that if we built gradually I would get strong enough to handle this, which I might be, but the pain level increases with each day. I am hoping to make 30 before I have to break it into sets. I am also thinking we should switch to snickers for every day on the trail.
Cuba marks the end of desert for the most part. This afternoon we start into some mountains with a creek and river and climbing and fun! We're getting reports of lots of snow in CO so our hike is about to be very different.
I am trying to post a lot of pictures but Sara's super fancy camera has too big file sizes for most library internet speeds (like this one). More are on my facebook page.