We’re finally hiking on trails! There were still a few dirt road walls in this section, plus the paved walk into Cuba, but for the most part we got to walk on actual trail. Water is still scarce and we had some long carries in the heat, but the scenery made up for it. Aside from summiting Mount Taylor, we walked through some awesome scenery through mesas and canyons and even a little forest.
Day 21: 17 Miles
As we relaxed in Grants yesterday, it rained, it poured, and it hailed. We couldn’t have planned a better day in town. Since the grocery store was 2 miles away and on the road out of town, we decided to resupply in the morning in the way out. We had to walk the highway for several miles out of town, but then we got on a trail as we headed up toward Mount Taylor. We decided to have an easier day today and hit the summit in the morning, rather than push up and over today. We would hike an hour or two, take a long break, hike another hour and repeat. We are up over 9,000 feet. There are trees all around, the air is cool and there is a constant breeze. We are camped in the woods near a clean water source.of The summit of the mountain is 3 miles and 2,000 feet up from here.
Day 22: 28 Miles
We had a great morning climbing Mount Taylor. The trail was steep but the climb was rewarding with panoramic views in every direction. The afternoon was warm as we continued between roads and trail. We found a nice spot to camp among the trees.
Day 23: 29 Miles (plus 1.5 off trail for water)
It was a long hot day today. We’ve had mostly 15 mile water carries since we left Grants, and today was no exception. We each grabbed 4 liters from our last source of the day, to dry camp and hit the next water source in the morning. In the afternoon heat we found ourselves doing many ups and downs with little shade, and we all drank more water than we planned. We had to ration this evening, but we are less than 3 miles from water for the morning. On the bright side, the roads were few today. In addition, we had great views all day, especially at camp tonight.
Day 24: 28 Miles
By my current guesstimate, we passed 500 miles either last night or this morning. I’ll have to do the math later. Today was some cool and tough scenery. We were in terrain that reminded me a little bit of Canyonlands in Utah, and a little bit of the Vasquez Rocks in Southern California. We walked over mesas, through canyons, across valleys, and among cows. We had great views, but it was also cool to just look around at the rocks we were hiking among. It was another hot day today, but felt slightly less harsh than yesterday. The day was pretty much on trail, but we are camped near a road, which we will walk along into Cuba tomorrow.