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 7th Portales Mesa

From our camp on a perch near the mesa’s rim we watched the full moon arc across the sky last night, the sage flats below us shimmering with silver tips.

We got moving early to be able to make a good effort at getting to town. Cuba was 21 trail miles away and our success on getting there today, and most importantly getting there in time to get a room and dinner, would depend on the condition of the trail, an early start and some determination.

Crossing the mesa we had camped on involved a lot of rocky, short climbs. We traveled along the rim, mostly, but the topside sloped down away from the edge in a series of arroyos. So, it was not flat, level rim walking; it was circuitous, twisted and slow.

Leaving the mesa at Jones Canyon we found the spring fed trough with clear-ish, but bug and algae filled, water.  We filtered about 6 quarts each for the remaining day, which was already warming enough for us to know a “scorcher” was coming on.

Crossing extensive sage flats, we faced a steep climb up Portales Mesa. From a distance the Mesa looked stunning, layers of sandstone in alternating layers of various reds, pinks, oranges and whites. It’s a monolithic mass with a solid, overhanging top rock layer, also looked impenetrable. T he 2 mile approach across sage flat left plenty of time to imagine the torturous route our ascent must take. As we drew closer some slopes began to look possible.  The climb was hard, especially on the thighs.  Rocky, steep and with lots of high, thigh burning, leg kicking and stretching steps.

The views from the top of the mesa were stunning. Immediately as we topped out we began the long descent to Cuba. For the first time in weeks there was no afternoon buildup of thundershowers; a relief from the game of dodge the storm cell, but also with no clouds came no relief from the hot sun.

We bottomed out on sage flats following cairns and posts cross country to an old dirt ranching road and eventually a paved state highway. The last 4 miles, on asphalt, were fast, tedious, and as always, tough on the feet.

The long road walk was also sunny and hot and bare of any vegetation except weeds and sage. Or almost bare. There was one tree, a large willow at the front of a long driveway. We eyeballed it for over a mile and when we got there took advantage of it’s cooling shade for a short break. Even at 6pm, there was relief to be found in the shade. While we were relaxing a pick up truck drove out the driveway and the passenger offered us cans of “Pepsi Max”, a surprising and welcome bit of “trail magic”.  Enough caffeine to fuel us through the final push into town.

We had pushed hard, but made it into town by 7pm, into a room and shower shortly after and into the cafe by 8pm, well before their 8:45pm closing. We made it to Cuba!

21 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