Sunday, May 26, 2013

Trail Names and Cold Beverages

San Pedro Parks

This stretch was a relatively short resupply at only 2.5 days.  We are now at Ghost Ranch, one of Georgia O'Keefe's haunts, and taking a zero day.  Hopefully this gives our feet some time to get rid of some aches and pains as we head into our first round of real snow in the next few days.  We also just found out that Cowboys and Aliens, as well as a bunch of other famous movies, were filmed or partially filmed here.  I am now on the lookout for Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig, and of course Olivia Wilde. 

After leaving the library in Cuba we ran into a group of guys at the Saveway we have been hiking with and around for the last week or so.  A big part of thru hiking is trail names, which you are not allowed to give yourself, so we had been hoping that these guys would come up with names for us.  They did not disappoint.  Typically the names reflect either some expression you repeat repeatedly, some quirky mannerism, or something you really enjoy.  Names we have run across so far on the trail include: Don't Panic, Mountain Rat, Turbo, Mr. Furious (not furious at all), Whuppin' Stick, Naughty Eyes, Half Ounce, Green Flash, Bird Man, Bloodbath and Rampage (boyfriend and girlfriend), Nicotine, and the Czech Express.  Trail names supposedly began as an Appalachian Trail thing a while back as a fun way to remember people.  As Don't Panic put it, "I will meet a lot of Ryan's and Scott's but probably only one Naughty Eyes."  So, thanks to Turbo, Sara and I are now called Track and Field.  I am Track because I run/coach track, and Sara, Field, because she pole vaulted.  We also like to think it is because I stay on the trail/track and Sara follows every cow path into the field.  For the next few months we are no longer Forrest and Sara, but officially Track and Field.

Leaving Cuba we quickly gained elevation into the San Pedro Parks Wilderness.  Here we had our first taste of snow covered trail, although it was only feet at a time, and beautiful mountain streams and forests.  The Parks were the headwaters for various streams and rivers and were vast rolling meadows full of shallow, snow-melt water.  We both quickly soaked our shoes, but I did not mind so much because it was gorgeous, and Field did not mind because she had a massive headache.  It was great not having to carry too much water, but that only lasted for a few hours.  Just as quickly we dropped

Moon rise

back down out of that wilderness, across a valley and up into a drier wilderness.  Fortunately we found Fuentes Spring to be flowing and very clean.  We filled here and then went straight up the side of a ridge to try and find the trail again before the storm clouds opened.  Before we made the trail we came across an old road bed that created a bench way up on this steep slope overlooking the Fuentes Rivershed.  We opted to camp here and watch moon rise a day shy of full.  It was absolutely gorgeous. 

Rio Chama
The next morning we found the trail and dropped over into the next canyon, Los Ojitos. We then followed this down to the Rio Chama.  This river looked to be flowing between 500 and 800cfs, so quite a bit of water for the desert (we dropped back down to cactus and other prickly bushes), and seemed very refreshing.  The river was surrounded by sheer walls of some sort of sandstone and heat mirages.  Since we had decided not to carry a raft with us we had to walk the 7.5 miles of boiling gravel road instead of float down the river.  After a lunch of attempting to soak feet in the frigid water, the road turned away from the river and into a broad valley of sun.  After about an hour and one turned down offer for a ride, a couple guys heading towards the river offered us cold drinks.  At this point we were quite parched and our river-soaked shirts had moved past the drying stage, the sweat soaked stage, and were back to dry stage, so anything cold sounded good.  He asked what we wanted and pulled out a couple very cold Tecate's before continuing on his way to the river.  That made the rest of the road walk go by very quickly and totally made our day. 

We turned off the road to follow a fence line then nature trail into Ghost Ranch.  During part of the cross country section we came across some interesting rock formations that were laid out in almost irrigation type patterns.  It looked like huge circles or squares.  They also crossed current property boundaries so were older than barb wire.  I was not sure if they were used to retain moisture or soil, or by whom.  If you have any ideas please comment.  All the rocks were small but laid in rows about 3-6" off the ground as seen in the picture. 

Rocks continued in huge circles or squares, multiple rows, gradual slope

So far Ghost Ranch has been great.  We have showers and laundry and an ice machine, plus hiker boxes with plenty of granola bars and marshmallows.  It is weird not hiking but also nice to stay off our feet.  Our next resupply is at Cumbres Pass, then into Colorado! 

Happy Trails

Track and Field


  1. You two have really put away the miles! And congrats on the Trail names. They fit you two very well. Good luck and happy trails!

  2. Those rocks might show something if you could see them from the sky. Um, did you get my package. I'm sure I sent it to Ghost Ranch? Oh yea, you should have packed some packrafts. Not that you need more weight, but they are only like 5 pounds I think.

    1. We missed your box! The hikers behind us found it though and thank you a lot. Thanks for the thought

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.