Twig Adventures

CDT to AZT Interim

October 1-6, 2019 For continuity sake, I’m providing a brief description of some of the events happening in between finishing the CDT and starting the Arizona Trail. I decided to hike the AZT because Stellar, my good trail buddy from the PCT, is also hiking it this fall. The timing worked out well and I also like the idea of finishing at the Mexican border without retracing hundreds of miles of the CDT. This way I can more confidently say I hiked from Canada to Mexico for the second summer in a row. I take 6 days off in between, spending about half that time trying to figure out how to get from Grants, NM to Kanab, Utah. Mac graciously[…]

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SOBO Day 98: Grants for the Finish

September 30th, 2019 The Narrows Trail, HWY 117 to Grants, NM Distance in miles: 21 1030-1720 I wake up with no clear agenda for the day. My strategy for finishing this thing is a bit amorphous. I can walk from Grants to reconnect my footsteps or I can try to hitch a ride out to the point where I left off and walk back. There are also 2 ways…a direct roadwalk on highway 117 or the Zuni-Bonita alternate through a canyon and about 7 miles of walking over lava. I had wanted to take the alternate but now I’m feeling lazy and just want to do the road walk. I could just do nothing and call it good. But I[…]

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SOBO Day 97: The Last Mountain

September 29th, 2019 Cattle trough mm 2445.4 to Grants, NM, via Mt Taylor alt. Distance in miles: 34 0610-1900 I’m going to climb Mt Taylor as an alternate today. I don’t need to climb it since it’s not the official route of the CDT but this is my second to last day, so heck yeah I’m going up. I’m treating it like Mt Katahdin on the Appalachian Trail. It’s sort of the finish line. And why not. It’s a tall and prominent mountain at 11,301′. There’s even a registry to sign. Let’s go! Except I’m reluctant to leave my perfect campsite, it’s so nice. I walk the road in the dark, not paying very close attention. Just like that, I’m[…]

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SOBO Day 96: Towards the Finish

September 28th, 2019 Mm 2410.9 to cattle trough mm 2445.4 Distance in miles: 34.5 0610-1800 What a great night and a far cry from the previous one. There is not a sound, save for the very distant, soothing hoots of an owl. Then as I’m eating my breakfast in the dark, a buzzing invades my space. A single mosquito is trying her luck with me but gets smashed as a result. I have to laugh…a mosquito out here? Where did it come from and what has it endured? And to have come to such an end. It’s tragic. I’m on the trail in the dark again, playing the game of finding the next cairn. I keep my headlamp on its[…]

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SOBO Day 95: A Trail of Rock & Sand

September 27th, 2019 Mm 2375.1 to mm 2410.9 Distance in miles: 35.7 0600-1830 Dogs bark and trucks rumble down the nearby highway all night long. I should have put my earplugs in but I sleep ok, anyways. It’s an awful campsite but I would have paid $20 to tent right next to the highway if I stayed in town at the RV park. All the hotels looked a bit run-down and with a few creepy guys sitting outside their rooms, staring at me. No, I was better off escaping into the darkness outside of town. I wake at 4 am, no longer able to ignore the dog’s incessant barking. Seriously, how can a dog enjoy barking for hours? Don’t they[…]

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SOBO Day 94: The San Pedros & Cuba

September 26th, 2019 Mm 2340.9 to mm 2375.1 Distance in miles: 34.2 0620-1920 I sleep very well and for the first time in a long while, wake up feeling hot. It is so warm and also dead silent overnight. Not even the crickets are stirring when my alarm goes off. Some coyotes start up while I’m eating breakfast…they too have a thing for the sunrise. And what a sunrise it is… quintessentially New Mexico. Oranges and pinks reflect off the bluffs, pinnacles, and canyon walls. It’s delightful. Just before I cross a highway, a hiker calls out to me from his cowboy camp. It’s Paha, the guy whose footprints I have been following and that the artists told me about.[…]

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SOBO Day 93: Desert Solitaire

September 25th, 2019 HWY 84 mm 8.9 of Ghost Ranch alt to mm 2340.9 Distance in miles: 21.2 plus 2 miles walking through town and on the highway 1245-1910 We get up early since everyone has to be out and about. Chadi takes off first, leaving us her house to lock up. Then Eden arrives to take Relentless to the airport. It’s a sad parting after all this time. I’ve never had a trail buddy for a whole trail and I can’t imagine what the CDT would have been like without him. The trail is so hard, being lonely too would have sucked. By 7 am, I’m alone in the house and looking at bus schedules. A bus leaves Santa[…]

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SOBO Day 92: Ghost Ranch Taco Tuesday & Santa Fe

September 24th, 2019 Harris Bear Spring mm 25.2 to HWY 84 mm 8.9 of Ghost Ranch alt. Distance in miles: 16.3 0610-1030 It rains a little more overnight but we wake to clear skies. Everything is wet though, and it’s so cold…the kind of cold that is amplified by the dampness. I need a layer for my hands but my crappy rain mits are still soaked from the night before. I put them on anyways and suffer numb hands. I get such an early start that my steamy breath is obscuring my headlamp beam. I’m not enjoying this hiking in the dark cold morning but I want to get to Ghost Ranch in time for lunch…it’s all-you-can-eat, a hiker’s dream.[…]

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SOBO Day 91: Temperate Rainforests of NM

September 23rd, 2019 Rio Vallecitos mm 2275.3 to Harris Bear Spring mm .5 of Ghost Ranch alt. Distance in miles: 26.0 0620-1700 It’s so cold in the valley in the morning, as I knew it would be. But at least we’re dry under the trees. We have to climb about 2000′ up and over the last big hill on this stretch at 10,500′. The climb is stretched out over 9 miles, so it’s pretty easy. We run into DinoDNA and Etch a Sketch, a thru-hiking couple that we met in Lake City. They are completing their Triple Crown and first met on the AT. Now, years later, they are a day away from finishing the last of the 3 long[…]

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SOBO Day 90: A Walk in the Park

September 22nd, 2019 Lagunitas Campground mm 2245.2 to Rio Vallecitos mm 2275.3 Distance in miles: 30.1 0630-1800 I sleep so well in our perfect campsite. And I get to use a toilet in the morning! The day starts off very cold. We walk through fields covered in frost wherever there is a stream or seep. First rays hit us right at 7 am and just as a I spot a herd of elk up the hill. They quickly filter into the protection of the trees. You have to get up early to be able to see these guys, especially during hunting season when everybody is out looking for them. We walk through more open fields of high grass, interspersed with[…]

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