Zen On Dirt

CDT Day 22 – Trails, trains, and mac and cheese tacos for lunch

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I’m eating cookies in a camper van in the middle of the woods right now. Scott is passed out. This is unfortunate for Scott because by the time he gets up, there might not be any cookies left, and they’re the hazelnut chocolate ones from Trader Joes, sent to me by my mommy.

Yesterday was one of those effortless days on the bike, a stark contrast to the day before. I think it’s because we spent more time talking to people and eating than we actually did pedaling, but everyone needs days like that.

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Our campsite proved to be as lovely in the morning as it was at night. Nothing beats wide open mesas with 360 degree views, especially when you can spend the morning looking down at the Rio San Antonio, watching a herd of elk graze and move up the valley. We put some tunes on and laid on our sleeping pads long after breakfast, soaking in the morning sun, knowing that we were in no hurry today.

We waved to the Vermont/Maine/Sailor/Alfredo crew as they passed by us on the trail. It didn’t provide any extra motivation to move, but eventually, knowing that we didn’t have a whole lot of food left, we got going.

The trail was the perfect way to start a day bikepacking. A gradual climb for 20 minutes, a ripping descent down to creek to get some water, then a nice climb leading to even better trail.

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5 miles in, we got to Laguanitas campground. The four hikers were there doing morning chores, as was Spit Walker and Rick! We’d looked for his tracks every time we crossed the Divide route, but our results were inconclusive. The hikers left, we hung around. Not a hurry in the world.

When the stomachs starting growling, we headed down the trail. We’d been told that we would fly down this section from a SoBo section hiker. He was right. It truly was perfectly constructed trail for bikes…with a handful of downed trees.

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We caught the four hikers again and had a good chat about bikepacking. Alfredo’s two sons own a bike shop in Italy and he wanted to pass what we were doing on to them. Worldwide bikepacking! We’d told them all what we were doing in Ghost Ranch, but they wanted to see the details up close. It’s so cool to see hikers interested in bikes.

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More perfect trail before dumping out on to the Brazos Ridge part of the Divide route. It was one of my favorite sections during the race, and it was lovely now too.

Passed another herd of hikers on the road. Discussed the snow conditions up ahead. Things weren’t sounding pretty.

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We hopped on one last piece of trail, figuring we could eek out a few more miles of trail before it became snowcovered. We stopped under a tree, and determined to make the most of the last of our fuel and the last of our calories, we made cheesy pasta and avocado and salami tacos. Then we got a lukewarm cup of cocoa before our stove finally sputtered and died.

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Fat, dumb, and happy, we retreated to the Divide Route once again, following it out to the highway and on to Cumbres Pass. We were lucky enough to see the train come by and fill up on water before heading down to Chama. We raced the train and won. We’re hardcore that way.

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Halfway down the pass, Dave and his wife Bev flagged us down. We were planning on staying with them for a few days during this next week.

“Ride to town, get your post office boxes, get some food. I’ll give you a ride back to the house.” Dave told us.

And so we did. We had smoked salmon with fresh basil and brie for dinner. Rumor is of fresh elk tacos with beans tonight. We’re hanging at a house, completely off the grid in the middle of the woods. It’s spectacular.

We’re off tour for the next week or so while Scott does some tracking, so I’ll do some photo dumps, a gear post per popular request, and reflections on the CDT in NM. I also have to work because I tore my shoes to shreds and need to buy new ones D’oh!

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