5/19: mile 629.9-642.5
Total trip miles: 499.9
I heard rustling around 5:30, yes someone else was awake! I had stuck my head out and it looked shockingly clear outside. Yay for hiking and town days. Of course it was Mountain Spice, I love hiking with other early risers. Bigfoot and Kramers were having none of our early morning nonsense so off we went.
It was less than a mile to the top of the mesa but it took us almost an hour. Let me just say sandstone cliff mud is something else. That took more effort than I could have ever anticipated. It started with s slow contour up and then it was just us desperately trying to not sink or fall off or on our faces. The mud caked onto shoes and we just tried not to fall off the Mesa. There was some serious rock engineering going on but the mud was doing its best to take us out. To make it even more dramatic a giant cloud appeared out of nowhere turning the whole landscape orange and it was pure scifi movie as we climbed the pale Mesa.
Then it was sailing across the Mesa. Good views and thankfully less mud. Plus the rain left some great puddles in the sandstone and I got to grab some extra water. I wasn't on empty but the extra was a treat.
Coming down off the Mesa we ran into Cookie Monster and Dayglow. Fun hearing more storm stories.
We found a totally unexpected water crossing and thinking we were pretty clever we took off our shoes to avoid silt filled discomfort. Our shrieks of surprise from the icy water were pretty ridiculous and I almost fell face first into the brown water. Ridiculous, even more interesting though was later Shane and Lint told us there was almost no water in the afternoon, totally jump able. Guess that storm dumped a fair bit of rain on us.
Once across we played hobbit and trekked a good bit in the mud barefoot. It seemed like a good idea, spa day for the feet? Cow poop is extra moisturizing didn't you know? The mud got old and we eventually just tried to wash off in a mud puddle. More nonsense and laughing and back to the mud that was pretending to be road. I have never been so excited to see a paved road walk in my future.
Then it was highway walking the 4 or so miles to Cuba. We had plans to go all the way to the motel where we thought people were but being totally starving we stopped at the first place we saw. Fresh veggie omelettes and one chocolate milkshake later we headed over to the Del Prado Motel and Funsize!! Turning the corner we found a whole mess of hikertrash. By the end of the day I think we saw over 20 hikers. The whole hotel was full, and there wasn't a single car. I definitely hiking in a giant bubble of people.
The afternoon was gear drying, snow talking and avoiding resupplying. Hanging out in the parking lot, showers, laundry and more snow talk. It wasn't too hard to be convinced to take a whole day off. There's just so much snow in our future and we've been cruising. So I'm now taking my second zero of the trail in Cuba, New Mexico.
Honestly the days off are hard for me. I love the break but I love walking more. However I know the recovery days are important and it's easier for me to take a day here and there rather than the full week some people are debating once we get to Colorado (150 miles away!).
Food, good company and more folks rolling in and out all day. It's a great community and more people than I ever met on the PCT. I promised myself I'd take more days off and enjoy the people and the towns more this time around and it seems I'm sticking to it. It's a great hike and great people, just feeling ridiculously lucky to be out here right now.