I spent all weekend, from 5pm Friday to 10 am Monday near Grants, NM set up to bliss-out some CDT Thru-hikers with trail magic.
Last week I went over there to scout out a location and leave a cooler of sodas and treats. I met with Speed Bump and Softwalker, pals from our PCT hike and they had a good suggestion to drive the “trail” (roads) Zuni Canyon Rd to Bonita Canyon Rd. It was fun to catch up with them in town and then I set off, hopeful of passing hikers. First I met Shay on the gravel of Bonita Cyn Rd, which gets dusty as big trucks fly by. He accepted a soda and candy bar and seemed to be having a good hike. He has a photo project in the works where his Go_Pro camera takes a picture every 30 sec. The road is ugly near town, but progressing the canyon is really cool with big rocks like teeth poking up, It turns gorgeous red into Bonita Cyn!
Passed no more hikers, but when I got to the (fabulous) Mumms water cache near Hwy 53, I saw two hikers in the shade, and they had just gotten there. Trail magic! I made them sandwiches and they enjoyed chips and soda. Cheese and Bonelady. We had a nice chat. They pressed on and I told them I would camp near them and provide water (and more snacks) so they wouldn’t have to take from the Mumms cache. It is such a valuable service the Mumms provide, I hoped to ease the burden just a little bit for a day! NoAmp showed up, who I remembered from the PCT sierras section!
I went across the Hwy to the Zuni-Acoma trailhead to leave a note about my soda cache and out pops more hikers, wow! Max Chill was psyched for a root beer. He said Pod and Gnar were right behind him. I know them from the PCT and it was fun to chat with them! They were psyched for sodas and snacks too. I decided to camp with/near Cheese, Bonelady and NoAmp.
My puppy Sammy barked at them in the morning and ran around with cow pies in her mouth. Fabulous. I made us all hot water for coffees and we chilled for awhile before they moved on. I started to walk with Sammy down the road and we hit MaxChill and Gnar with Pod right behind so we went to my site and I filled them up with a bit of food and stuff. It was fun to see so many hikers in less than 24 hrs! I was amazed!
So I planned my return the following weekend. Oh man- I set up a hammock, lawn chairs, a table, shaded area, it was pretty dope. But I hit nasty cold rain and thunderstorms on the drive there and had a cold first night. Wired had warned me that as far as she knew no one was ahead of her, but I’d committed to being there, and there I was! Some times plans don’t work out ideally! But my Malpais park ranger friend Dave came by for dinner which was nice. Before dark we climbed up a rocky canyon onto the mesa and Sammy met her first rattlesnake! She did pretty good and all was well. We had a nice view from there, and Dave pointed out the Arch everybody talks about, the Datil mountains further west, and explained the geology and how the lava field came to be.
I’d hoped to climb Mt. Taylor in the AM but it took forever to pack up. See, some poor New Mexican stole my trail magic cooler, which I hid under a shady tree just off-ttrail. They must have purposely sought it out from my kinda vague directions on a tiny note on the side of the info panel at the Trailhead. Oh well. It’s funny though, a cheap K-mart cooler full of root beers, boiled eggs, and homemade ice-tea. With a huge CDT thru-hiker sign and a notebook register inside. Jeez.
Anyways, I went to the Visitor Center a bit further south on 53 and the ranger said he thought Balls and Sunshine came thru Fri early morning, so I figured they were long gone, it being Sunday now. I decided to go into town and down 117 to look for Wired and other hikers. Hey, if they ain’t coming to me, I’ll come to them! Once I got cell reception I had tons of messages from Wired, and Balls. Sunshine got ill so they were in town. Too bad I didn’t have reception with AT&T or I could have picked them up. BUT I really enjoyed visiting them at the hotel and feeding them! Sunshine seemed totally recovered. I can’t believe how tall she is now. She just turned 13 and will be the youngest Triple Crowner by far when they (which I have NO doubt) complete the CDT (probably in record time)! Beacon and Rambler were there too and we all had a nice time catching up on all things Hikertrash.
Wired was flying thru the trail, and lured by my lemonade and Chocolate milk temptation was headed into the lava field to where I had been camped. I went back to the TH and gave her some snacks and the Choc. milk which apparently is “Wired crack”, she will do pretty much anything for it! I figured she would want to walk the 3.5 miles to where I would set up camp (again) and it gave me time to set it up while she walked. It was nice to do magic for a friend. I set up my Contrail for her, as I know she misses that tent and the new lighter tent is more of a bear to pitch. Me and Sammy had been sleeping in the bed of the truck.
We sat around with lemonade and my pulled-chicken quesedillas. In the morning she went off for her easy 18 mile road walk into town for her first Zero day, and i went to pick up Balls and Sunshine and take them back to the trailhead.
It’s funny- there are 3 or 4 different CDT routes in the area, many choices.