Wednesday Apr 28th, 2021, 0730-1100
Manzanita Mountains to I 40, Tijeras, Segment 37, mm 742
I woke with another migraine but at least this time I took the right medicine. When my alarm went off, the pain was mostly gone. I also woke to something else, something that had been missing for too long…hunger. First thing I did was eat all my granola. It was a nice morning and we weren’t in a hurry, so I made coffee then tea while eating all the chocolate I had, along with other snacks. We continued down more bike trails but didn’t see anyone else. The day before we only encountered 2 bikers on the trails. There must be over 100 miles of trail around the immediate area, so there’s lots of opportunity for everyone to enjoy. These trails were some of the best we’d encountered in awhile.
When we came to a highway crossing, we were supposed to go under it via a culvert. But some inkling brought us up to the parking lot, where we met a lady with an adorable golden retriever. She was preparing for a bike ride and we made instant friends with her ridiculously happy and friendly dog, Burley. She asked if we were thru-hiking, which is not a standard question we get on this hike. Pretty quickly we identified her as Blue, a thru-hiker that Sam from Socorro told us about. They had become buddies while hiking the PCT. We couldn’t believe our luck running into her on this day. Sam had also told her about us but she didn’t know that the route ran through this network of bike trails and wasn’t expecting to see us. She gave us her number and offered to help in any way, since she lives nearby in the city. We chatted for a bit but my hunger drove me on. We’d gotten wind of a coffee shop and bakery nearby.
On the way, we stopped to check out an archaeological site where an old pueblo had been uncovered. There wasn’t much left to see but it was interesting reading the interpretive signs. Then stomach growling…oh yes, must move on. Besides, the clouds had finally gathered and it was starting to rain. I reached the coffee shop just in time to satisfy my hunger and avoid a deluge. Fast-forward about 4 hours later, and we were still seeking refuge from the rain. In fact, we closed down the coffee shop and had to move on to the nearby Subway sandwich place. It poured even harder, then started hailing and sleeting. Lightening flashed all around. We checked the radar to see that there were more storm bands on the way. We wanted to spend our last night on the trail in the forest but not in this weather. This was the heaviest rain we’d seen the whole trip (not that I’m complaining because the area desperately needs rain and we’d had pretty awesome weather the majority of the time).
We called around to a few nearby hotels and campgrounds, but nothing really fit the bill. So we instead called in our lucky chance meeting and offer from Blue. Within minutes she was on her way to pick us up, bringing us back to her warm, dry place. Another thru-hiker, Twerk, was visiting and in the process of making dinner for everyone. Secretly we really wanted to spend some time talking trail with fellow thru-hikers, since we’d been so deprived of such interactions on the GET. Well, Blue and Twerk did not disappoint. We shared a wonderful evening getting to know one another and enjoying the camaraderie that comes from such a unique experience as hiking the PCT. We had all briefly crossed paths before in 2018, when Stellar and I were heading south while Blue and Twerk made their way north. It’s crazy that we were all together here now, brought about by so many chance circumstances. A huge thanks to Blue for her hospitality and Twerk for his masterpiece culinary creation.