Day 36: Ghost Ranch

Miles Hiked: 16.8

Total Milage: 589

Today Rockslide dropped us all off around 9:30 am. I was really sad to say goodbye to him but I’m hopeful that I will see him soon! Free Fall and I continued to hike the Ghost Ranch alternate while 12 Pack and Jenga opted to go back to the red line. Our paths will cross later in the evening where the two routes meet. Free Fall and I had to pay $10 just to hike through the Ghost Ranch Property for about 3 miles. I wasn’t thrilled about it but I wanted to keep my continuous footpath going. The only other option for me was to do a really long highway walk that I was not interested in.

The ghost ranch alternate started as a road walk from where we were. We checked in at the front gate and passed a bunch of buildings where people can stay and visit a museum. Most of it was closed due to covid but things were slowly reopening. After stopping in at the visitors center for post cards and a bathroom break we continued to hike thru the property down the box canyon trail. After about 3 miles of being on the property we entered back onto national forest service land. I was laughing at how stupid it was for me to pay $10 for three miles of hiking but then again, I was paying $10 to not walk 8 miles down a highway. On the box canyon trail we were following a small stream. We accidentally missed a turn and ended up at a pool of water in the dead end of the canyon. We turned around and corrected our mistake. We continued to hike upwards to the top of a mesa. It was a hot day and after leaving the small stream there wasn’t much water ahead.

I was so thirsty and hot all day long. Eventually the deserty mesa turned into a dirt road walk and then some hiking across alpine meadows. When the ghost ranch alternate ended and I was back on the official CDT, I finally got water again from a small spring. It was only 16 miles of hiking but the day really kicked my butt. I think just because it was so hot and I was dehydrated. The sky started to get dark with storm clouds and I heard thunder in the distance. I really wanted to set up camp but my friends were no where to be seen. I went about one more mile before deciding I felt like I was done hiking for the day. I really didn’t want to be caught in the rain.

I ended up camping alone for the night. I really missed my friends but I was also glad for the alone time. I’m actually surprised I haven’t camped alone yet. I don’t enjoy doing it too frequently but it’s nice every once in a while. I want to try and do it at least once in every state. The rain storm I saw never ended up coming but it made some awesome light for sunset! Half the sky was dark the other half was colorful. I took a time lapse of it while I called my family and Rockslide on the phone. When it got dark I crawled into my tent and the coyotes started howling. They ended up waking me up on and off throughout the night. It really creeps me out especially when I’m alone. I’ve learned to ignore the cries for the most part. I plan on waking up really early tomorrow to a) catch up to my friends who hiked past me and b) make it to camp before it starts raining, or at least hike in the rain as little as possible.

Happy Trails!

-Early Bird

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