24.9 miles hiked, a pillow under my head tonight in the town of Grants.
It was a gorgeous night under the stars. My little steathly tree provided a good amount of protection from the wind that inevitably picks up at sunset and I slept well (amongst the cow poo, obviously New Mexico). I’m crossing fingers there is water at the next windmill as there is conflicting information between the latest water report I have and the notes that have been left in the Guthook app, otherwise my brain is busy calculating plans to hike back to the road and possibly flag someone down for some water. Or even hitch to town and then come back with water… not sure what will happen.
I get to the windmill and as feared it has been turned off, with only a couple of inches of slime at the bottom. Crappppp. I put my pack down and get out my scoop, resigning myself to my fate of filtering sludge when I spy some containers under a tree. The amazing Mumms have done it again! The trail angels who stock the last cache have started one here too! From the looks of things I may be the first person to use it, and I am so so grateful for the little bottles of water that I thirstily gulp down and with which I fill up my bottles. YAY water! YAY no road walk!
Through the canyon I hike, today not striking me as a podcast day, but instead a sing-a-long day. I spent nearly an entire day before I left creating playlists on Spotify for this trip. One for general everyday miles, one for singing along, one for climbing mountains, and one for chilling in camp at night. The most beautiful chaotic mix of genres that satisfy my music ADD, that are public so if anyone loves a random mix, follow along 😃 . There are also some secret ones with a lot of songs from Disney, musicals and classical pieces 😉
The first canyon ends and joins up to a busy dusty road. Still pretty, but biiiiig clouds of white dust explode around the tires of all the pickups (apparently the official car of New Mexico) that drive through. Thank goodness for my ever trusty buff – it covers my mouth and nose for most of the day. Snakebite the Backroad Bandit.
A clump of trees provide some respite from the sun as I eat my sunbutter and crackers, chilling with the cows on the side of the road. As I hike on in the afternoon I make the mistake of turning my phone off plane mode and it zaps and bleeps and bings to life with the noise of a thousand messages from the week. A little roadside sit to answer some of the more pressing messages and emails turns into a vortex. I realise the day is getting late and I have a shower somewhere in the town of Grants calling my name.
The dirt road ends as I exit the canyon and it turns to hard highway punching my feet as I walk. I receive the usual unhappy greeting from the local dogs and I hike past their homes, and can see the busy highway that I have to walk in the distance, teasing me into thinking it is coming soon when I still have a bunch more miles to go.
Up onto the busy highway, over the bridge with the interstate, then 3 more miles down the main street of Grants that is filled once again with closed down businesses and ghosts of a town that once was (or that never came to be?).
I’m done at the first hotel and pay for a cheap room. Clean sheets, hot shower and wifi that works for my phone call are all I need tonight.
Laundry in my rainjacket and what is left of my rainpants, dinner from Walgreens (a green juice and bag of dehydrated snap peas) and I wait up long after hiker midnight to make my call. Blergh to time difference!
Then I fade away in exhaustion to the land of nod, with clean hair and sunburnt skin.