Day 23: Zuni-Acoma Trailhead to Bonita Zuni Alt 15.3: 22.3 miles
Day 24: Bonita Zuni Alt mile 15.3 to Grants: 10.6 miles
Day 25: zero day in Grants
Total miles: 422.9
Our day started out with a seven mile stretch of the Acoma-Zuni trail that stretches across the El Malpais (Spanish for badlands), comprised mostly of rough lava rock. We had a great time following the “trail” by locating the cairns directing us where to go over the black rocks. The morning was a great time to pass, it was never too hot, and we made it across and back to flat forest service roads in a few hours.
We took a lunch break at a windmill, and filled up on water as it would be our last source until we made it to the town of Grants the next morning. The rest of the day was an easy stroll on more dirt forest roads through Bonita Canyon. Late in the afternoon we turned onto Zuni Canyon Road, which was gravel and a bit harder on our feet. We had wanted to get closer to town, but the map showed the canyon narrowing and we were afraid we wouldn’t be able to find camping so we stopped on the early side about 8 miles from town.
I awoke the next day to lightly falling rain. We’re used to rain when we hike, but out in New Mexico at this time of year it is an abnormality. It ended soon after it began, and we packed up to make it for second breakfast in Grants. The town is very spread out, so we stopped at the first business we came to to fuel up for the four mile walk across town. Fortunately it was McDonalds.
The walk to our hotel was mostly on historic Route 66, which is very rundown. We passed by countless signs for businesses that had been razed. We eventually made it to our hotel, but our room wasn’t ready yet to we ran to Walmart to get some room snacks. When we made it back, we were able to get into our room to clean-up and start on our laundry.
We took a zero day the next day, and most of our time in Grants was spent relaxing, eating, and watching TV. A pretty perfect zero!