CDT Day 145: 27.4 miles /44.5 km

CDT SOBO: Mile 2224.6 – 2252.0

Sunday September 8, 2019

Hammer woke ready and eager to get going and get the last 39 miles done. Its been a long and challenging time on this trail and it’s time to bring it to an end. I poked my head out of the tent and was very excited that the sky was clear and millions of stars sparkled above us. Lightening and thunderstorm are predicted for the Southern San Juans today. I’m hoping we are far enough south that we will not be affected.

It was a warm start to the hike. We were less then a quarter of a mile from the Colorado/New Mexico border. We made it in what felt like no time. And just like that Colorado was done.

The highest point of the CDT in New Mexico at 11,000 ft was about 4 miles further and we aimed to reach it before sunrise. It was a relatively easy hike especially once the trail joined an old jeep track. It was so nice to be back in New Mexico. The sunrise filtering through the trees once we were on top was pretty special. We were on the highest point of the CDT in NM (Mt Taylor near Cuba is higher but it is not on the official CDT).

From here we descended towards grazing pastures with the sound of sheep bleating in the distance. We passed two cyclist breaking camp. They went by our campsite late last night. They were from Abique and were on a short biking adventure. They recommended visiting the hot springs in Abique which is near Ghost Ranch.

Hiking through the pasture was a bit confusing as there were so many cattle tracks that looked just like the trail. Most of the day we hiked through pleasant grade grassy rolling hills and relatively healthy pine forest. After lunch dark clouds gathered and rain fell intermittently.

Reaching Lagunita campground in the late afternoon felt like another tangible milestone. We are nearly done, it’s 19 miles from here to Highway 64.

The rain would stop and start all afternoon. It was a constant game of rain gear on, rain stops then rain gear off and the rain starts. Towards the end of the day we had to cross the Rio San Antonio. It was a very confusing section of trail. We wasted quite a bit of time reconciling our map with the trail markers which did not match. It was raining and we were tired and getti g very frustrated. Eventually we worked it out and made it across the river.

Rising up out of the river valley we came upon two tents. I didn’t see a hunter sitting nearby under a tree. He was so very well camouflaged that I startled him when I came closer. We stopped for a chat. He was a happy man having shot an elk earlier in the day. He was waiting for his friends to return with horses from their main camp, so that they can carry all the meat out. Hunting is such a strange pastime to me. But I guess as long the animals are not killed for sport.

We camped halfway up the last climb of the hike. We have only 12 miles to go before we are done. Coyotes are howling somewhere in the distance. They may be just howling at the moon or maybe singing a goodbye song.