Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls
CDT Miles: 415.2-438.8 (23.6)
Total Hiked: 368.4 miles
Elevation Range: 7,200-7,690
My goal was to leave the Toaster House pretty early this morning. Intentional vagueness in that statement because I figured no need to add unnecessary pressure in giving myself a specific time.
After packing up my tent and getting things organized back into my pack, I went inside and found Green Mountain Girrl hanging at the table. Shes a true angel and once again had coffee started! Thus, I decided to boil some water on the stove for oatmeal.
Storm Mocker joined us and the three of us had nice conversation at the breakfast table. Charlie, a hiker I’d met the night before, joined in after a while too. I love these moments, just getting to hear stories from folks all across the country (and world) and with so many different life experiences. Good stuff.
Storm Mocker was sending out some post cards, but they seem to be from different parts of the trail we haven’t gotten to yet. I liked see these spots way up ahead, motivation to get there!
Afterwards, I filled my water bottles up and finalized everything for taking off. It’s tradition to get your photo out at the entrance gate before setting off and so Jefferson tracked me down and got my Toaster House photo.
I love this place. I arrived to Pie Town tired and quite worn down after a long stretch of trail and road walking, but was filled up staying at the Toaster House. I head out with a little pep in my step even. Jefferson and Nita seem like such wonderful folks. I didn’t explain it really in my last post, but the story I heard was that in the earlier days of the CDT, Nita just opened up her family’s home (this same home) to hikers and travelers and over the years kept doing it. She said she always grew up with an “open door” policy, accepting folks in. So, it’s free to stay here, but I was happy to add to their donation box to help keep things going! Definitely up there in the trail angeling world with the likes of Scout and Frodo, the Saufley’s (Hiker Heaven), and Anderson’s (Casa de Luna).
It was about 7:00am when I left and walked about .1 miles down the road before my first break of the day. I took half an hour at the RV park to use their WiFi one last time to get some final downloads in. I had a long road walk and needed some good stuff to listen to. Then, I was off…
Actually, the whole day was gravel road walking. I didn’t take many pictures and don’t have too much to say about it really. On the road walking spectrum, I’m rating this as a 4… 1 being most worn two-track road that’s basically a wide trail and 10 being busy city multi-lane road (28th Street).
I covered something like 16 miles before lunch. Crazy. Roads make for fast walking. And, the last five miles of that I did with Com and a new hiker (to me), Kenya. Here’s catching up to them…
Kenya is from Austria and I learned has walked five different routes of the Camino de Santiago. I always enjoy hearing about this pilgrimage and it’s interesting character, so was all ears. Walking and talking makes time fly, so it was great. We arrived to the TLC ranch around 1:23pm.
TLC Ranch allows hikers to camp and provides water on an otherwise very dry section. Super nice. They have a little shelter with table and chairs even. Super deluxe and a nice stop for us to have lunch. Kenya even made french pressed coffee (using his jet boil stove) for whoever wanted, which was me of course! An unexpected treat. Valkyrie and another new hiker (to me), Denver were hanging too
Denver was the hiker that had called in a wildfire on trail back behind us. After I strolled through the Gila Alternate, there was a fire, I think it ended up being called the Turkey fire, that started on the big gravel road walk on my first day after leaving the river. Denver recounted his tale, which sounded terrifying to me. He saw it small at first (not sure what caused it… someone theorized a prescribed burn that wasnt entirely out?) and just like that a tree went up in flames super quick. That’s when he ran and ended up getting just enough service to get his coordinates off Google maps and send to his sister to contact the fire department.
I was the last to leave TLC of those I had lunch with. Karl showed up as I was leaving, but don’t think he saw my exit song.
For those of you that are confused, that’s the start of one of the greatest songs of all time, “Waterfalls,” by a group called TLC. I figured it had to happen.
The after lunch walk was much the same as the before lunch walk. Lots of Pinyon and Junipers. I went about 6 miles ahead to a water source and found Valkyrie and Kenya. We sat down and rested up, had fun chatting a bit, and eventually got water and moved on. There was talk of camping there because it was such a nice water resource (straight from a well with a grundfos pump and a solar powered switch that turned it all on), but each felt we could go a little further. I filtered cuz I always do, but some of these folks didn’t.
The three of us walked together leaving the well. Valkyrie stopped first, pulling her biggest day yet! I went next, and Kenya pushed onward. There he goes off into the great wide open.
I got off just as the trees were thinning out before the wide open expanse. Figured I’d try and get some wind protection. And when I found my spot, it wasn’t quite big enough for my tent without crushing some bushes, so thought I’d give cowboy camping another try. I set up and started cooking dinner right away.
It’s so nice having an abundance of food and water again. Early on tomorrow I’ll have a split of an alternate route option and this time I’m taking it. Because of this change up, I’m getting into the next town earlier than planned and have at least a days worth of extra food I’m carrying. Or we’ll see, maybe I’ll eat it all!
While eating my three cheese mac-and-cheese shells with spam chunks, I enjoyed looking out at the openness. There was a single horse (or something resembling a horse) out there grazing. Differing from the openness coming into Pie Town, this area has small bushes, almost sage-like or it could be rabbit brush . I found it quite pretty.
Before signing off for the day, I have to report another sad spoon situation I’ve found myself in. At the Toaster House, Special K had found a replacement for me in the hiker box. I was pretty excited about it until today when I realized its broken. How can a spoon be broken you ask? Well, it’s a foldable one and every time I try to spoon some food, it collapsed on itself. So, I did what anybody would do, duct taped it. Boom, fixed for now.
And… as I was wrapping things up and getting inside my sleeping bag I had a visitor still by. This one I’m pretty sure is a pronghorn and thought to see in the dark (and poor filming), but I think it did have horns. Super cool. Just walked in by.
Ok, and just one more thing I promise… Today when walking with Com and Kenya, they told me that the snow in the San Juan Mountains (Southern Colorado), is reported to be melting quickly since warmer temps. and no added precipitation. Now, this sucks because these areas need water! In the hiker world though, this means that the door might be opened to pass through earlier than we’d all thought. Now, I immediately jumped on board with this notion that snow would be gone when I get there. Only later did I step back and realize this is all hearsay and I need to just keep trekking and not let this info. cause me to do anything drastic, like significantly increase my mileage per day. Il do my research closet to it. Don’t go chasing them water falls if you know what I’m saying.
Albums of the Day
Crazysexycool – TLC
Led Zeppelin IV