Start: near cerros colorados
Stop: Cuba, NM
Total miles: 482
It’s town day which means no sleeping in. We’re both up and on trail before 6 am. It already seems hot but I push the 9.5 miles to a spring without a break. I find Beads, M80, Trooper, and their dog Willow enjoying the cool resting spot.
I head out across the hot desert floor and hit the cliff face of the next mesa. The trail goes vertical. It’s mostly trail but sometimes rock climbing. Footholds have been chopped into the sandstone. Once on top of the mesa I take a quick break in the shade next to some elk poop. I tread along the edge of the mesa until I drop into the next valley. My right shoe is nearly sucked off my foot in a muddy arroyo. After another quick break, I walk a dirt road for a couple miles before arriving at a paved road.
A guy pulls over immediately and offers me a ride. I can not believe it. I can not turn down the gods so I accept and hop in the back. I see Beads, M80, Trooper, and Willow walking along the road edge. Beads waves. Sorry guys, but I guess today is my lucky day.
I’m two parts salt and one part mesa sand as I roll into Cuba, NM. Del Prado Motel is the hiker hangout. A few are getting ready to hike out, the rest are zeroing. Cookie Monster gives me a big hug and a beer. I hang for a bit and then go get some beers for Beads and me. The least I can do is have a cold one waiting for her when I’m the first in town. The party moves to Bruno’s Mexican restaurant where I happily consume enchiladas and margaritas. It’s dark by the time Beads and I walk back to Del Prado. For the first time since Silver City, I have a truly hot shower. Heaven.