CDT Day 119: almost Cumbres Pass to New Mexico – Y Motel Camp to Wait, There’s Snow in New Mexico Too? Camp
Miles hiked: 8.6
Total miles: 2058.2
We didn’t make it far today, but we made it out of town and hiked across the Colorado-New Mexico border. It’s official, we’re in New Mexico! Another bout with dehydration had me feeling crappy for most of the day, but I made it along with SpiceRack and a bunch of other hikers into the final state of this journey. What challenges and wonders does NM have in store for us?
I slept like total crap. It was too hot in the room, the paper thin curtains let in more light than on a sunny day at the south pole, and the bed was too comfy. I kept waking up, feeling terrible. I saw the dehydration coming and tried to get ahead of it, but it was too late. I still had a headache by the time the sun did finally lighten the sky. I should not have been surprised. Despite the decent amount of water I drank in town, I realized that I had only consumed about a gallon on the entire 60 mile stretch south from Pagosa. It was just too darn cold to drink water. But there you have it, dehydrated. Damn.
Fortunately there wasn’t much that I had to do today. Spice and I cooked up a big breakfast, then we checked out after tidying up at 11am. Then I chilled in the lobby and on the grass outside making phone calls and stuff while Spice rode one of the free bikes all over town, collecting packages from here or there. It felt like she was gone forever, and she came back, jacket pockets stuffed with things.
We found Crunchberry and Rooster at the grocery store. Mysteriously, Spice and I had made it to town last night, but they did not. Where did we pass them? Turns out, they stayed in Platoro at the only other open business in town with a bunch of other hikers. That put them ten miles behind us that night so they didn’t make it to Chama until this morning. They were ready to head back to trail though. The band is back together.
We resupplied, then followed the dudes to Patsy’s Diner where I watched people eat amazingly large and messy plates of food. I had zero appetite and still felt generally terrible so I did not partake. At 3pm Spice and I walked outside to try to catch a ride back to Cumbres, wondering where the day had gone.
Lots of cars. No ride. A lot of thumbs ups, waves, and awkward smiles. Close to an hour later, Ralph, a local trail angel did pick us up. He was already on his way to pick up the dudes and some other hikers and told us to hop in. So at 4:30pm, SpiceRack, Crunchberry, Rooster, Artemis, Jake, Amanita, and I were deposited at Cumbres Pass, three miles left in Colorado. Well, actually, Spice and I got dropped 1.2 miles down the road to finish the small part of roadwalking we didn’t manage yesterday, but everyone else was still at the pass waiting for us when we got there a half hour later.
Colorado felt like Colorado until the very end. Cool and windy. Riding a ridge with views on either side. Long dry grass, turned golden in the evening light, swayed vigorously in the wind. I didn’t have any profound thoughts or emotions. Just a bad headache. Then we were all there. A barbed wire fence ran through a small meadow. A post with a NM and CO license plates nailed to it. We all sat around, taking photos and making jokes. Eating chips. It was cold though, and getting dark, so pair by pair, one by one, we shouldered our packs and stepped across the line into New Mexico for real this time. One more border to go.
Everyone camped at the first creek after an easily corrected misadventure on the wrong trail. However, Spice and I kept going, feeling strong and desiring some peace and quiet after too much social time. We cruised by headlamp up through a network of dirt roads for another hour and a half until we reached a flat spot, protected by dense trees. There was a bunch of snow on the ground leftover from the storm that kicked us off the Divide. We were still above 8,000ft, but I guess I had just assumed that there would be no snow in this state. Only warm desert. And burritos. And cactus. And unicorns. Nope, this still felt a lot like Colorado. No desert yet. My appetite was still lagging, so just a handful of snacks for dinner. Too cold to eat anyway. Wait, that’s how I got dehydrated last section. Okay okay. I’ll eat and drink tomorrow. We made it. New Mexico. Spice and I made it. One more state, 700 miles to go. Cool.