Day 29: mile to 605.1 to 631.2: 26.1 miles
Day 30: mile 631.2 to 642.8 (Cuba): 11.6 miles
Total miles: 532.3
We headed out of camp early, after eating breakfast in the tent even though it wasn’t even cold outside. Until we reach grizzly country you can now assume that we eat breakfast in the tent every morning. Habit officially formed.
We were excited to make it to a water cache that I had heard rumors also held fresh fruit and snacks. The cache was only six miles away, but as we climbed up and down over mesas and hills it seemed so much further. The heat picked up early too, which didn’t help matters. We made it eventually, and met up with Constantine, Fifty, Dirtbag, and Nimbles, some of the hikers we’ve been seeing lately. There was indeed fruit and snacks, an cold water! We enjoyed our treats in the shade, and decided how much water to bring for the next 16 dry miles to a spring. I had carried 3L the night before for a similar distance and only drank 2L, so I went with 2L for a lighter pack.
We took off for the spring, and popped up and down over more hills. It was 80F in the shade, and the heat was really getting to me. If the heat had been like this for all of New Mexico, I’m not sure how comfortable I’d be hiking pregnant. It’s hard to stay hydrated and cool in full sun and temperatures in the high 80s. We took lots of breaks in the shade to stay cool, and made it to the spring to again join the group of guys from the cache. We all agreed we underestimated just how challenging those 16 miles were going to be, but took relief in the cool spring water. There was an over hang above the spring, which birds had built nests into. If you look closely, you can see them in the photo below.
Although it was getting late, we decided to push on 3.7 miles to complete our last climb before town the next day. The first three miles were flat, and then the trail went nearly straight up the face of a mesa. The miles somehow came easily, and we felt triumphant as we made camp on top a little after 8pm. We ate a quick dinner, and then fell asleep shortly after.
The miles into town were easy the next day, about six on dirt paths and roads, and the rest on pavement to the small town of Cuba. We went straight to the Cuban Cafe (which does not sell any Cuban food). I ordered a “half breakfast burrito,” which is actually a normal sized burrito slathered in green chili sauce. The full order is two burritos, a little too much for me. Plus, I wanted to have a pancake too, which I did, and it was all delicious. Garrett had a burger, because he almost always gets a burger.
We checked into the Del Prado motel, which might only be frequented by hikers. The night we were there 4-5 rooms were occupied, all by hikers. The night before, Baskets said he was the only guest in the place. The rooms were clean, it was in the center of town, and it cost $61; so it served its purpose well. We resupplied, did laundry, and relaxed until dinner- the basic activities of a nero (near-zero) day. We caught two full length movies on the TV in our hotel without commercials, always a win (Legally Blonde and Mission Impossible 2).
I might have had a small freak out in the room when I looked at myself in the mirror for the first time since Grants 4.5 days ago, and realized that I looked much more pregnant than I expected. I’m already starting to have a few issues with the hipbelt on my pack that I’m trying to work through before it becomes and actual problem. Before we started the hike, most of my planning once I found out I was pregnant was to prepare for me to have to get off trail. We prepared separate food boxes in case I had to stop hiking, and Garrett continued on. But I didn’t actually prepare for continuing with the trail the more pregnant I became. Never being pregnant, I don’t know what to except! I’m working through issues as they arise; like my hiking shorts are simultaneously too loose and too big at the same time. Do they even make maternity running shorts? I’m only 14 weeks along, so hopefully I have some time before things really start to change!