Day 41: Cheers to the Land of Enchantment

Miles Hiked: 12.9

Total Milage: 667.5

Location: Elk Horn Lodge, Chama NM

This morning I woke up at 5:15 and started hiking at 5:45. I was glad that everyone else also woke up as early as I did. I wanted to cross the border with everyone before it started to rain. The sunrise was very pretty and I was glad I got to see one last colorful morning in New Mexico!

The first three miles of the day went very smoothly. We hiked across a lot of wide open alpine meadows with pine trees dispersed throughout. There were lots of small streams from snow melt running through the meadows that also made them very muddy and slippery. After those first three miles the post holing began. At first the post holing was very patchy. I’d walk on a trail for a couple hundred feet, go into some snow and then repeat. After that it was almost completely snow all the way to the border. Post holing in snow is super exhausting and slows you down a lot. It was really hard to find the trail and really easy to get lost. There were foot prints everywhere going in the wrong directions. I had to constantly check my map to make sure I was in the right spot. I was hiking with 12 pack almost all day through this section. It was really nice to be with a friend who could help me navigate and make sure I was okay. The post holing got pretty dangerous when we were in areas with lots of blown down trees. You could easily lunch down deep into the snow and end up with a foot stuck under a log. This happened to us a couple of times and it really sucked. At one point 12 pack and I only moved 1.5 miles in one hour. A normal hiking pace for us has been 3 miles per hour.

Around noon we crossed Dixie creek and found a bare sunny hill. We walked from there to the border and we’re cheering in celebration along the way. When we got there we took pictures and waited for the rest of our friends. Eventually Free Fall, Jenga, Melissa, and Sunshine all showed up. It turns out they took a different route than us to try and avoid the snow but they were post holing just as much. We celebrated and took a group picture together before hiking on to get out of the rain.

We saw the dark clouds rolling in fast. Past the border, we followed some switch backs down the side of a mountain and then hiked across a ridge to Cumbres Pass. When we got there my boyfriend Rockslide picked us all up and gave us doughnuts and Gatorade! He is the best trail angel. I was so excited to see him again.

Once we got to town, Jenga, 12 Pack, Rockslide, and I all got lunch at the local bar called Fosters. I had breakfast for lunch! Afterwards we checked into our hotel. We were staying at the Elkhorn Lodge again. Everywhere in town was booked up because so many hikers are here. We all hung out for the rest of the night and made some microwave food for dinner. I’m excited to be finished with New Mexico! It’s hard to believe it started in a hot flat desert and ended with one of the most exhausting days of post holing I’ve ever had. Tomorrow we will be taking a zero day to let some bad weather pass.

Today Jenga told us he made to decision to get off trail for a little bit. He has no desire to continue hiking through snow like we did today. It’s only supposed to get worse from here. I’m really sad he won’t be with us any more but I think he has made the best choice for himself. He plans to continue hiking the rest of the summer and finishing the CDT. He will most likely hike south from Canada in a month or do some sections in Wyoming without snow.

Happy Trails!

-Early Bird

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