Ghost Ranch(696.9) to Tip of Mesa(+4.6) 4.6 miles Total Miles:570.4
Elevation: 8,124.6 feet
Today was all about playing the waiting game. I knew my package would be delivered today, so it wasn’t a matter of if, but when. I really wasn’t too stressed about it. As long as I could get out of Ghost Ranch and hike a few miles I’d be happy. I had a nice long nero day in a super hiker friendly establishment. Life was good. I woke up around 6 and dozed on and off for awhile. Breakfast didn’t start until 7:30 and the front desk where I needed to buy a meal ticket didn’t open until 8. Chuck had already left the room by the time I was up, so I took the opportunity to go through my pack and clean up my gear. The dust from the desert gets all over everything. I fell asleep last night before finishing my blog so I also started on that. Eventually I decided to go do to the welcome center so I could pay for breakfast as soon as they opened. An employee saw me loitering outside and asked if I needed anything. I explained about a meal ticket and she graciously offered to let me in early. When she found out that I stayed in a room last night she gave me breakfast for free. Apparently all registered guests get this, but she didn’t even ask me for proof. I can’t get over how friendly the staff is towards hikers. I joined Chuck, Mo, Turtle, and a volunteer nurse named Ronnie for breakfast. They had a build your own breakfast burrito bar, fresh fruit, juice, and cereal. I was in heaven. Mangus showed up a little while into our meal. It was nice to have our little group back together again even if it was short lived. Turtle and Mangus were planning on getting their boxes and hiking out after breakfast. I was prepared to say my goodbyes. Chuck was heading out to start his hike so I did have to say goodbye to him. Thanks Chuck for being such a great guy.
My new friend
Mo was also heading home, but let us keep her room until checkout time. I understood Chuck letting me stay with him because he is a long distance hiker, but Mo was just a regular tourist who graciously let Turtle stay in her room last night. I don’t know very many women who would share their room with a dirty smelly male. Thanks Mo for being so wonderful. Turtle got his box as planned, but Mangus’s wasn’t here yet. We said our goodbyes to Turtle, but we hope to catch him soon. I was in a position where I knew I would get my box today, Mangus wasn’t as lucky. He couldn’t get a hold of his wife to find out any tracking info. He was hoping it would be delivered with mine, but ultimately he had no idea. As we waited there was a ton of things to occupy our time. We did laundry, ate a great lunch of AYCE(all you can eat) pizza, wings, salad, and fresh cookies. Then it was decision making time. Most hikers send there cold weather gear to Chama, NM our next resupply point. Mangus and I had both decided to not send it until our next stop Pagosa Speings, CO. Mangus started to think that since we didn’t have our cold weather gear going to Chama we might as well skip that stop all together. It is a long hitch to get there and Pagosa isn’t that much farther down the trail. He finally onvinced me of his plan. I am skipping Chama and carrying almost 8 days of food to make it to Pagosa Springs. I’m not sure I have ever passed up a resupply point and made a section more difficult. With the long hitch into Pagosa it just seems like a logical plan, but carrying 8 days of food will be difficult for a few days. I also had to turn my 4 day resupply box into 7.5 days worth of food. Turtle had left us some extra food, but it wasn’t enough. I ended up having to buy some expensive snacks from the gift shop, but with how much money I saved yesterday it wasn’t it a big deal. I spent the rest of the day contemplating what gear I needed for Colorado. For almost 200 miles I will be above 12,000 ft in elevation. I have been pretty cold most of New Mexico and that has been a lot lower elevation. I decided to err on the side of caution. I’m switching to thermal baselayers, adding a wool beanie, a new warmer sleeping pad, and waterproof socks. I’m also having my parents send me micro spikes and my ice axe. Most if this new gear had to be bought and the $400 REI bill gave me pause. Ultimately if these new additions keep me warm they will be worth there weight in gold.
By the time all of the above was accomplished my package had arrived and it was already 3 o’clock. I repackaged my food and barely managed to squeeze it into my pack. Mangus’s box still didn’t arrive. He was really bummed about the prospect of having to wait another day at least. Along the trail we have a saying, “the trail provides.” Just about the time Mangus decided he would have to wait another day a hiker named Walks with Yeti arrived. He was having problems with his tent and had to go to Santa Fe to replace it. He donated his entire box of food to Mangus. It was just enough along with Turtle’s leftovers for him to be able to hike out with me. Yeti refused to take any money for his food. He was an engineer and VP of his company before he retired and said he didn’t need or want the money. Ghost Ranch was a magical stop for us both.
Adobe style conference center
Georgia O Keeffe’s cottage
This entire ranch is very historical. O’Keefee lived here during the summer and the surrounding landscapes were her muse.
O’Keeffe painting featuring Pedernal
Another famous O’Keeffe painting
Several major movies were filmed here. The opening scene of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, 3:10 to Yuma, The new Magnificent Seven, Cowboys and Aliens, The Missing, and many more. If you want to find a nice place to get away in New Mexico I highly recommend it. They have all kinds of retreats year round. The also have work for stay and you can volunteer as well. They are always in need of nurses.
Once our boxes were stored away in our bags and the logistics of thruhiking were taken care of, we couldn’t procrastinate any longer. We finally hit the trail around 4:30. The next stretch is 160 miles and our packs were really heavy. Of course when we left the ranch we began climbing. Unfortunately we got turned around and started hiking down a wrong canyon. We figured it out pretty quickly, but it still cost us time and a lot of effort. Once we found the correct trail we started climbing up a steep Mesa. I’m glad we had fresh legs because it was hard work. We both wanted to make it farther, but it was getting late and we plan on an early start in the morning. For the next 6 days we have to average 23 miles per day. With the miles we have done for the last few weeks I don’t think it will be an issue. Mangus’s wife will hopefully pick us up in Pagosa Springs. If not we have a 28 mile hitch to town.
Definitely type II fun
View back down to Ghost Ranch
With all of the food I have consumed since dinner last night I didn’t plan on being hungry in camp. I didn’t bother packing out a dinner to cook. Instead I had chips and bars. Tomorrow I will begin to make a dent in my food bag.
“I try to be grateful for the abundance of the blessings that I have, for the journey that I'm on and to relish each day as a gift.”
- James McGreevey