On Tuesday, May 11, we left the hotel at about 5:40, ready to jump back on trail. Healed (mostly), resupplied, and rested. Emma agreed to help us out by driving us 22 miles north, cutting down on mileage and supplies needed to make it to Cuba. But fate decided to make it a bit more challenging, giving Emma a migraine headache. These are very bad for her. She was in such pain, she sobbed. Threw up many times. We stayed with her until 10am when she was feeling better. Sad to say goodbye but we know she’s strong and heading to an exciting new job as a trail worker at the Grand Canyon.
As planned, we only hiked ten miles the first day, wanting to gauge the effect of hiking on our shin splints. I am pleasantly surprised that our shin swelling continues to diminish and John has fewer blisters.
We were surprised by the terrain and surroundings of the hike between Grants and Cuba. We were expecting a flat desert walk but instead it was much like Canyon Lands. Plateaus and canyons. Ascents and descents, some quite steep. Beautiful and challenging.
We walked right by a coiled rattlesnake at the end of the day on Thursday. We were exhausted but John found the energy to do a jump and a dance when he heard it. Made me laugh out loud.
In the evenings we’re exhausted and grateful to be in the luxury of our tent. For example, Thursday evening we start by eating something salty then move on to lemon tea and salted dark chocolate. The next course is a little broth, followed by pasta carbonara (ramen noodles, parmesan, olive oil, beef jerky, and rehydrated tomatoes). I finished my day watching PBS British costume drama on my phone and checking out the route for tomorrow, all while nestled in my sleeping bag on my air mattress and pillow.
We’re feeling the need to drink more water in the heat. Must be around 82 degrees although it feels warmer in the sun and sand. Water supplies are about 15 miles apart, meaning we have to carry 3-4 liters to get us through. Luckily our food bags are almost empty, so the weight isn’t too bad.
I have felt a bit nauseous lately. Can’t stand the thought of eating some of our standard hiker fare, especially tortillas, pop tarts, trail mix, oatmeal, and peanut butter. Basically everything that will be coming in our resupply boxes. I’m looking forward to eating in town and mixing up our food bags to include more breads, cheese, granola, instant milk, nuts, and chips.
On Saturday morning we hiked ten (miles) by ten (o’clock)! Woke up at 4am, were hiking by 5:05am. Visions of chocolate shakes, cinnamon rolls, and real breakfast dancing in our heads. Such a delicious breakfast at Cuban Cafe! I must have sighed over a hundred times. Next we checked into the Del Prado Hotel (delightfully dilapidated), bought some groceries, then got down to the business of relaxing. The perfect balance to being on trail, with all the beauty of nature, physical output, uncertainty, and exhaustion is a zero day spent in a hotel, with its rest, tidying, preparing, and mental/creative pursuits (writing, painting, reading).
The next 180 miles is taking some planning. The CDT doesn’t go through any towns for the next 370 miles or so, meaning we’ll have to chose where to hitch a ride off trail to pick up supplies. Looks like we’ll be leaving Cuba with six days of food, hitching to Chama twice between here and Pagosa Springs. Expect to hit Colorado around May 28, as we expected. Hoping the snow melts before we arrive!