Day 33: Chama River Canyon Wilderness

Miles Hike: 28.2

Total Milage: 572.2

Location: Chama River Canyon Wilderness

This morning I woke up at 6am and left camp before 7am. My goal was to hike 28 miles to the highway and go to Santa Fe for a double zero from there (two days of not hiking). I wasn’t sure if I could do two big days back to back but I wanted to give it a shot. I was surprised by how fast the miles flew by today. The hardest part was an uphill climb around 10am. The terrain today was mostly on an exposed sandy trail or on pine needles through a forest.

At one point there were suggestions on our mapping application to hike the road instead of the actual trail because there was so much bushwacking. I tried to follow a forest service road but I messed up and followed the wrong one. I ended up on the highest point of a mesa right next to the trail. I looked down at my map and realized that I was only 0.4 miles off the trail but almost 1,000feet higher than the actual trail. I looked at the topographic map and realized I would either have to hike backwards to find the trail or bush wack back to the trail and hope to not get cliffed out. The topographic map revealed an extremely steep downhill between me and the trail. It looked so steep I thought some sections could possibly be vertical. All I could do was give it a shot and hope for the best. Luckily, it worked out in my favor. I didn’t end up on any cliffs but my knees were hurting so bad from how steep it was. I was so glad I had my trekking poles to use as a crutch everytime I took a step down. When I finally found the trail/ actual road I was supposed to be on, I looked up at where I came from and realized I actually could have ended up on an actual cliff if I didn’t start bushwacking as early as I did.

After that adventure, I got on the actual and trail and continued to descend another 1,000 feet. I’m glad it made the hiking really easy and fast but my knees hurt so bad by the time I got to the bottom of the canyon. At the bottom of the canyon I followed a stream for a couple of miles before going into another wide open desert. This time there were some awesome views of canyon walls on either side.

Eventually I crossed a bridge over the Chama River where Rockslide was waiting for me in his car. I sat down and took a break in one of his chairs and he gave me a cold tea to drink. He took my pack while I walked the last 9 miles on the road to the highway. From the highway he drove us to Santa Fe for the night for the start of my two zero days in a row! I’m so excited for some rest and excited to see Santa Fe.

Happy Trails!

-Early Bird

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