Leaving Grants, NM – Early Camping Shenanigans

 Once we arrived in the hotel room in Grants I sat down on the bed and fell asleep within seconds. My body was in dire need of rest. I was exhausted to say the least. My feet were painfully sore; this was the case for every other hiker as well. Road walks are killer. Every single body part starts screaming after the nonstop pounding against hard packed even pavement. When you’re on trail, your feet are constantly adjusting with every step. The trail is uneven and therefore the muscles in your feet get to move freely as they traverse the rocky path. When you’re on the road, you take the same exact step mile after mile, there is no reprieve from the harsh jolting that takes place. Road walks are NOT fun!

The boys woke me up in the morning to get breakfast, but there was no way I was waking up. They came back a few hours later just before check out. We packed up our gear, headed to Walmart for a few supplies, then hit the wide open ‘trail’ again. We walked along the road… oh joy! We passed by a correctional facility. I couldn’t imagine being cooped up in one of their small enclosed room. We joked about escapees saying they were thru-hikers and just walking North to their freedom.

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“Hospitality Center”…. this looks like the worst hospitality I’ve ever encountered…

There were signs posted alongside the road, “Do Not Pick Up Hitch Hikers.” Ipod and I took pictures right next to the sign and got a few good honks from passing motorists as they whizzed by.

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Classic Hikers Goofing Off

When Ipod, Nugio, and myself finally got to the trailhead we saw Chim rounding the trail ahead. The three of us took off our packs for a break while Chim got out in front. Not long after we sat down, a couple in a truck pulled up and offered us water and Gatorade. We gladly accepted and talked with the lovely duo for about half an hour. Nuge’s feet were killing him and we didn’t plan on going very much further that day. It didn’t matter that there was still plenty of sunlight left, our main goal had been getting out of town… and we had succeeded.

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Nugio and Ipod at the trailhead where we met the lovely couple

We saddled up again and I followed as Nuge lead the way. We made it less than a mile before we came upon a flat spot on the right side of the trail. It didn’t matter that there was cactus scattered throughout the entire plot – we were happy to see flat ground. Nuge and I laughed as we both laid out our Tyvek and yardsale’d all of our gear. Ipod showed up a couple mins later and he agreed it was a good spot to NOT hike. We had done maybe 12 miles that day.

Nuge and I broke out our Dodgy Bottles filled with whiskey and proceeded to medicinally treat our wounds. Slowly the aches and pains relinquished their grasps and faded away into soft murmurs. This was a good day!

Nuge and I were a little bummed that Chimi wasn’t with us. Chimichanga is much faster than we are. He will most likely be finished with the trail by August… as I’m typing this he’s somewhere in Northern WY (he may have already crossed into Montanta). We laughed and thought, well… that’s the last time we’ll ever see him again. We were both bummed, but we knew that this day would come eventually.

About an hour later, Nuge and I turned on our phones. There was texts from Chimi asking us if we went the wrong way…. we both laughed at the scene laid out before our eyes – both of us well on our way to being drunk while waiting for the sun to go down. We told Chim that we’d stopped and made camp for the night. About another hour passed before we heard Chimi’s call above our heads. Nuge and I were in disbelief. Chimi was coming down the trail after us. Nuge and I bust up in laughter. As he strolls up, we tell him to come sit down with us and take a swig. We must have been quite the site. 4 hikers all sitting on one neoair. Shocked, but pleasantly surprised, the sounds of laughter danced in the air… we had Chimi back!

We stayed up pretty late talking and having a grand time. I was very happy our little family was reunited once again. The three of us fell asleep to the stars above our head as Ipod slept soundly in his tent.

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A rock cairn on our approach up to Mt. Taylor

The following day was our first REAL mountain that we’d get to climb – Mt. Taylor. As the 4 of us made our approach we ran into a water cache. As we were taking a break and filling up our bottles the trail angel showed up. He had more water! We helped him unload his entire trunk (and even his backseat) and strategically placed the bottles into the coolers that he had left for CDT hikers. It was an honor meeting him. We were al VERY grateful for his dedication and kindness to complete strangers. He bid us good luck and we parted ways.

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Nugio on the final ascent to Mt. Taylor… after a pretty gnarly bush whack

We reached the top of Mt. Taylor and relaxed in a wind break. We laid out our sweat soaked shirts and let them dry in the harsh sun. Chimi took a nap while the three of us relaxed and enjoyed our first summit on the CDT. This was a good day. Over an hour later we looked up at the sky due south of us and to our displeasure we saw rather ominous looking clouds. We hurriedly packed our gear and began the decent to find camping for the night.

Chimi, Nuge, and Ipod in the wind break atop Mt. Taylor

Chimi, Nuge, and Ipod in the wind break atop Mt. Taylor

 Chimi and I found a million dollar camp site and settled in. There were two Teepees, a fire ring complete with rock tiling on the floor, and wonderful sitting logs. It was an absolutely amazing find! Happy and tired the 4 of us went to sleep.

Chimi, Nuge, and I had cowboy camped (sleeping under the stars) and woke up in the middle of the night to rain drops. We hurriedly set up our shelters before drifting off to sleep again. Another great day on the CDT.

 

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3 thoughts on “Leaving Grants, NM – Early Camping Shenanigans

  1. Long time lurker! Awesome, I’m inspired to do the same one of these days. Thanks for taking the time to update, I’m grateful. Great insights about the trail. I figured we would hear from you again until you finished, that it was practically wilderness once you got out of Mexico. I hope you can continue writing. This is awesome!
    Love your sense of wonder and dedication to doing what you LOVE. I’m a former Peace Corps Volunteer ( Ivory Coast). The wife and I live abroad, but we want to do the Triple Crown one day when we return to the US. Currently in Central Asia and the wife in Maritime SE Asia.
    All the best! WAY TO GO!

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