Start: Pagosa Springs, CO
Stop: somewhere 5 miles from trailhead
Total miles: 643
For the first time in 5 days we are in go mode. Packs are loaded and heaved out the door. Luckily Serena Williams is able to leave her truck at the motel. We go and lurk at the bakery until it’s time to go catch our 1 pm ride at the post office.
Bud and Ann own The Y Motel in Chama, NM and he goes to Pagosa Springs, CO everyday because he’s contracted to deliver mail. We leave in his suped up red ram truck with scratch and sniff leather and head back to Chama. We are back in New Mexico. I go and collect all my new gear and on the way there the ups truck comes by and gives me a lift. It takes a while to get everything out of its packaging, some things tried on and then everything stowed in and on my pack. The beast is heavy. I’ve gone and ‘strayed’ my pack. I’ve probably added at least 12 pounds of gear. My food bag is the heaviest its ever been. My back pack is the heaviest I’ve ever carried.
After some food and attempted hitching we call Bud for a ride to Cumbres Pass. He arrives in no time and before we know it we’re pushing up the mountain. How do hikers carry these heavy packs? The plan is to hike about 4.5 miles to water and camping. We have to do a log crawl to get across a raging stream. I eventually put on my snow shoes which makes my pack so much lighter. I take my first ever baby steps in snow shoes. Seems simple enough. The snow is soft and my left knee postholes straight into a tree. Ouch. Darkness descends and there’s a tiny flowing water source surrounded by snow. It’s so dark that I don’t get water. Looks like we’re camping on snow. Another first for me. I’m the last in my tent as the reddish orange moon cracks the horizon.