CDT Day 29 (NM – Grants to Cuba)

Tenacious Trio Tackles Taylor

  • Mt. Taylor Alt. Miles: 1.3-15 (13.7)
  • CDT Miles: 553.4-565.5 (12.1)
  • Total Hiked: 473.6
  • Elevation Range: 8,100-11,301

I got up the earliest yet for me on CDT. Last night an idea developed in my brain of trying to get at least close to the top of My. Taylor (I camped about 3 miles away) for some nice sunrise views. So, 5:40am, I was moving up the trail. I actually only needed my headlight to pack up and when hiking it was already light enough to see. I was in the shadow of Mt. Taylor though, so everything had a bit of a dull light to it.

It only took a half hour before the forest started disappearing as things opened up. Looking back, there was some nice color on the horizon for just a short bit.

The trail went pretty much straight up the grade here (try as I may, I just can’t get myself to not notice poor trail layout when I see it. I’m guessing this trail is just the result of someone saying, “I’m going to the top of this mountain!,” and heading up the thing. I’ve done it before myself. But alas, folks keep following this route. There are several scars of old trail, having been moved over and over as the old one becomes a giant rut from water choosing it as a preferential pathway and transporting the eroded sediment down down down. Ok haha, I digress). And as I neared a sort of transition point where I was to cross over a ridge, I spooked these elk. I thought I’d spotted a white elk, but nope, a cow. Must be friends. The cow friends didn’t really mind me though.

The sun showed up in full force once popped over the ridge…

It was wonderful but short-lived. I popped back into the shadow and then could see the switchbacks up for the final summit push. It was still quite a ways ahead, but everything was so open, the path was clear the whole way almost. Until this point, wind had been a non-factor. I even had de-layered when hiking straight up the mountain, but as I started up from here, the cold winds were a blowing! I was stubborn and went a long ways before stopping behind a tree and putting back on my rain pants and jacket.

Looking back down where I’d come from…

I made my summit pose with my comrades Sumi and Mary Lou at 7:15am. Not too shabby at all. Only problem was, I was shivering cold and my fingers a bit numb. Super views from the top though!

I probably only stayed up top for a total of 15 minutes or so because of the wind and cold, but it was rad. The last pic I took was looking to the south where I’d hiked from. I believe I was seeing the cliffs of the Narrow Rim Trail and the adjacent expansive lava field.

I figured once starting down the other side, it would generally be downhill until connecting back to the CDT red line. That was true with the exception of one mega hill. From the peak, I went down about 800 feet, then had a steep climb back up 300 feet or so. Doesn’t sound like much, but kicked my butt. Nice views going down.

And the little bit of snow didn’t cause me any issues!

More pretty mountain views

This next one’s looking back up at My. Taylor with mega hill hanging out over on the right.

Down to the CDT red line was mostly different forms of two track walking, but it was quite nice and easy strolling most of the time. The pictures don’t really show it, but far off, down in the low elevation stuff, there were lots of interesting cliffy rock formations and such. Just nice being up high in my opinion.

Later in the morning, I filled up water at a lovely source a tad off trail. Doesn’t look great with the scum in the tank, but I was fortunate to collect directly from the water flowing out of the pipe itself.

While filtering, a hiker named Denver walked out of the woods and joined. He let me know he’s feeling a bit under the weather since leaving Grants and tented up the hill from the water just taking it easy today. He seemed to be on the mend and said he had enough food, so onward I went through this forest.

At lunch, I laid right back and looked up. It sort of struck me, realizing that this is my norm. Eating under the sky, under giant trees, no ceiling… it’s pretty amazing.

The afternoon’s walking didn’t have the pazazz as the mornings and the road was quite rocky causing me to choose my footing carefully. Tunes helped later in the day to keep me cruising and in good spirits. And I made sure I stopped at 6:00pm cuz I was pretty dang tired.

Getting into camp at this time gives me a little more than two hours to set up, cook, eat, pretend to sort of clean up (wet wipes), and generally get situated for the night… so plenty of time. In my tent I’ll usually take a brief look at Guthooks for the morning stretch and next day, probably try to write some stuff for the blog, and then typically watch a downloaded show.

Tonight, I had a whole movie downloaded, The Batman. I’m always so tired, I only get about 20 minutes in, but whatevs. Anyway, I had my headphones in and was getting into the movie, when outside my tent I hear what sounds like an animal breathing heavily… immediate panic/take action senses kicked in. I sat bolt upright and yelled “Hey!” Not sure if this was smart, but unzipped my tent and stuck my head out with headlanp on. “HEY Bear!” As I scanned around with my light, I didn’t see a bear. Instead, a seeming abnormally large cow was hanging about 20-feet away staring me down. It slowly moseyed on and my heart beat starting slowing again. Sheesh oh Pete’s.

Albums of the Day

Southland – Lyndsay Lou

Life is Good on the Open Road – Trampled by Turtles

One thought on “CDT Day 29 (NM – Grants to Cuba)

  1. The blue sky (and the full spring around my home) indicates it’s nice and warm were you hike. And every time I read about the temperatures, I’m surprised how cold it still is.
    And so lovely 🙂
    I’m glad that foxes are the biggest animals that could have surprised me during camping trips.


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