We are currently on another long distance hike, and the third leg of our "triple crown", the Continental Divide Trail (the "CDT"). Come along with us if you can - if not in person then by following our grand adventure via our "posts from the trail".  Check out our Flickr Photos, which we'll update periodically, and see it through our eyes!

Our Credo...

"Success: To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!" ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Journal July 16 Mito from Antonito

We are definitely in cow country! We woke up this morning to cows of many mooing sounds greeting the sun rise, not unlike the cockadoodledoo of roosters. One cow, in particular, was howling like a lion, or more accurately like a “howler monkey”. He was deep in the valley below us but responses to his howls came from other cows on the plateau, all with different wailing sounds. What could all the chatter be about? Is the grass really greener on the other side?

A hungry clan of coyotes answered the cows’ calls – is the beef always tastier on the other side?

Biting flys and mossies attacked all day, even as we were walking. Across the rest of the mesa the new trail faded in and out and signs were again absent from critical areas. Still, we made it through, so perhaps by one definition the signage was sufficient. Several mule deer and marmots as well as an antelope made the section very interesting.

We made it to forest service road 87 and followed it north as it fade in and out of good surface, rocks and ruts. Despite being on a road the rocky surface was hard on the feet.

The highlight of the day was Brazos Ridge, at 11,000 fet, on the edge of the Cruces Basin Wilderness, with views all around including to the San Juans mountains north; a real teaser!

On the north side of Brazos ridge we dropped into a creek and the nearby old RV camp of Mito, a shepherd. He stopped to talk as we had lunch, spending most of an hour speaking in spanish. Mito’s been herding sheep in the summer in this area for 27 years. The rest of the year he lives in Antonito CO on an alfalfa ranch, but originally Mito comes from Zacatecas Mexico. He spoke only in Spanish, but understood a bit of english and we had a good time hearing his stories. He and his four dogs were very in tune with the land, and with the “sheepies”.

Continuing north on FS Road 87 we took a wrong turn, or actually we went straight where a turn should have been made. Alas we were a mile and a half and a couple hundred feet downhill before we realized the mistake and backtracked back up hill.

By now the feet and toes aren’t happy at the turn around or “bonus” miles. and neither the Carrot nor I are hapy at the prospect of a delay in getting into Chama. It’s “going to town day” and no one is happy about anything that delays, or worse yet has to defer, dinner.

We push hard to make Cumbres pass in time to get to town, covering the last ten and half miles in about 4 hours, including breaks.

With 4 miles to go before Cumbres pass we cross the border between New Mexico and Colorado. Although the imaginary line creating a political boundary that is pretty much artificial, the change, the accomplishment, the milestone seems very real and significant.

We walk the last couple miles alomg the narrow guage tracks of the tourist railway. Knowing that it only runs through the pass once a day at midday removes the risk but not the suspense or tension of walking along 100 year old creosote soaked 12 inch by 12 inch planks and steel rails shimmering in the setting sun.

While we walk the tracks, traffic on the nearby road is very light. It’s five to ten minutes between southbound cars. At Cumbres Pass we face a narrow window of either getting a ride and getting into town in time for dinner and a room, or having to filter water from a ditch and set up camp before the setting sun leaves us in darkness. We give the thumb a try.

After about five minutes the first car goes by, a shining white rental, a grand marquis. Not surprisingly they drive by. But a minute or two later the same car came back up the thr side of the pass; Elliot and Terry had turned around to give us a ride because they “felt sorry” for us. Sometimes it helps to look pathetic. Sometimes “happy shiny people” in their “happy shiny cars” do the right thing. We made it into Chama for a room (last one available), a dinner, and last dose of green chiles before we hike on into Colorado.

After a long, tiring, uncertain day we were happy to be in town.

Interesting factoid: this was the first day that we didn’t at some point have to carry at least a gallon of water.

24.5 miles including the “bonus” miles.

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Clicking on any of these photos will take you to that specific photo on our Flickr Stream, where you can view these and many, many more photos from our latest adventure....or use this shortcut to all photos.....we hope you enjoy them!

People Shots

CDT20101_NMWCWMCDT2010_TheTrailCDT2010_NMWC-1Carrot After a Trail BathCarrot Stream Crossing #3,768Carrot on the Trail stillCarrot takes a Trail BathCarrot Stream Crossing #5.875Carrot on the TrailCliff Dwelling SignCarrot takes a PhotoCarrot Stream Crossing # 2,115

Scenic Shots

CDT2010-valleyCDT2010_yellowflowersCarrot on the Trail 3ScenicPotty BreakScenicCliff Dwelling Stream Vast DesertPrickly Pear 2Prickly PearPlateau at Sunset

Flora & Fauna

CDT2010_treesCDT2010_yellowflowersCDT2010-purpleflowersAngry MarmotFlora 3FloraBeaverButterfly 2FloraButterfly