Start: slyline lodge, platoro
Stop: pagosa springs
Total miles: 678
I’m awake early and write a few journals before everyone else wakes up. We head over to the lodge for 8am breakfast. We ready ourselves for the 23 mile road walk to hwy 17. But then there’s mumblings that we’ve been offered a ride all the way to Chama. Fuckin’ a, we’re headed to Chama yet again. It’s some kind of trail vortex. We literally can not leave New Mexico behind. Bill and his dog Rocky escort us down the incredible Conejos River valley. This valley is not on trail but I’m so grateful to see it. Bill tells stories of driving cattle through the valley. Thank you Bill!
We walk across Chama to the location where we hitch to Pagosa Springs. Serena Williams and I hitch together for the first ride. We get a ride within 5 minutes with licking dogs.
“You guys want some weed?”
“No thanks,” we answer.
The woman speeds down the road as we talk about our adventures. With eyes barely cracked she points out the window to animals and scenery. I’m looking at the road more than she is. She passes cars on blind hills. I desperately scramble for my seatbelt as my stomach flips into a tight clench.
“So this one time we were rafting down the grand canyon and we’d taken some acid. We forgot sunscreen and got like third degree burns. And then our beer fell out of the raft and we had to sit on the beach and drink it as it floated by.”
With wide and worried eyes, Serena and I look at each other as the conversation falls silent. Soon the trance tribal chant blasts as we speed around tight curves. I think to myself just 15 more miles. OK, just 14 more miles.
“I’m going to be sick. Can you pull over? I’m going to be sick,” Serena mumbles while holding her stomach. The car comes to a stop on the side of the road and Serena heads for the bushes. I grab our packs out of the back of the car, thank for the ride and wave goodbye to the scariest hitch ever. It turns out that Serena is quite the actress and didn’t want to die. I’m convinced because I really think she is losing her breakfast on the roadside.
It’s maybe a 10 minute wait before a car stops and takes us to Pagosa Springs. Stiff margaritas are the cure at a Mexican restaurant next to the hotel. We get our cabin again and contemplate trail options.