We were lucky to get a ride from a trail angel in Pagosa. Dave dropped us off to a snowy wonderland, once again. The next 40 plus miles were hard, we were swimming through fresh powder snow drifts, and the area around Summit Peak and Montezuma were at least a few feet under with the white powder. We made just about a mile an hour the first two days out of Wolf Creek Pass. As we got closer toward Cumbres Pass the mountains changed. We could see green rolling hills in the distance next to the jagged peaks we just slogged through, and no snow! It was a welcome change.
Out of Cumbres Pass and into New Mexico we left the snow and the San Juans behind. We dropped down below 10,000 feet for the first time in a long time, and walked through Ponderosa Pine forests. That was where we saw our first other thru-hiker, Steve, since parting ways with Smiles in the Winds. We hiked and chatted with him and the miles passed quickly and very pleasantly. He is a farmer who runs a CSA in Central Pennsylvania, feeding around 100 families on 5-6 acres of land. It was neat hearing his story.
The day we ran into Steve, October 2nd, also happened to be our three year anniversary. We celebrated on trail, as we usually do out here-we walked a lot and ate a lot and talked a lot. It was the best way to celebrate.
This morning coming into Ghost Ranch was another stark change from where we’ve been. We hit Juniper Pines, trail lined with Sagebrush, Cholla, and Prickly Pear, and we followed the trail near a box canyon cut out by rivers run a long time ago. It feels like I imagined New Mexico to be.
Life is good.