Day 14 May 15th Heading into Reserve
A ton of rain the night before and my tent was soaked when I got up in the morning. My sleep system was still dry and I had dry clothes, so not too annoying. My feet are always achy in the morning so nothing out of the norm.
I was mostly out of food, so I settled on 3 cold tortillas and a couple of sips of water for breakfast. The walk from my campsite to the road was only 5 miles. I got there and met up with Die Hard and Slytherin. They were going to go on to Pie Town, but 4 other people showed up waiting for a hitch.
After about an hour and 4 cars passing by, I tried to text a few numbers since I didn’t have cell service to call the hotel. Ended up texting Alicia for her to call but by then we had figured out a way for the hotel in Reserve to come out and pick us up.
A guy named Daryl pulled up in an old Suburban that was covered in dog hair to give us a ride into the small town of Reserve. After checking in to our rooms, he gave us a lift to the only place open for food, which happens to be the only bar and only place to buy liquor. Very convenient, friendly and tasty enough.
After a couple of IPAs on an empty stomach I was feeling pretty nostalgic and started to throw on some of my favorite songs on the jukebox. Luckily my food showed up not too long after and I remained sober enough.
At lunch I got to know Shane. He’s a recent college graduate doing the trail before he figures everything else out.
I hit the grocery store for a few snacks, but I’ll save my resupply for tomorrow. There is another boutique shop next door that has some good chocolate and promised me his coffee in the morning. I’ll report back on what I find. I do miss my pour over and Up Roasters beans.
I rested and did some laundry before we all hung out and ate pizza and talked about the trail and our shared misery.
I broke down and ordered another pair of shoes since my current pair fell apart almost hours after putting them on. I went with a more conventional hiking shoes hoping to give my ankles some more support. They won’t dry as fast or as light, but they’re trade offs to everything.
Day 15 May 16th Hanging in Reserve
Zero day. For those of you not up on the through hiker lingo zero day is where you do no miles. I spent the day grabbing a coffee, eating walnut pancakes, grabbing a beer with a couple thru hikers, grocery shopping for my resupply and just hanging out.
My right ankle, foot and shin are all a bit more swollen than I was expecting. Pain isn’t excruciating and I’m pretty sure it’s from a combination of things, all of which don’t cause me much concern but are something I’m going to have to deal with. I wrapped it up hoping to knock down some of the swelling before I start walking again tomorrow. I think with the rest and the easy next couple of days and the new pair of shoes in Pie Town I should be in a better place in a week. If the swelling doesn’t go down in about a week then I might get concerned.
I’m getting to like this part of New Mexico and I wonder why more people don’t retire out here. It’s scenic is all get out, the weather seems pretty temperate at least in comparison to plenty other places. And the cost of living is really low.
The next couple of weeks I want to focus on improving my hygiene, have a more strict start time in the morning, and elevate my feet and stretch at the end of the day.
Day 16 May 17th Back to it
First day off a zero. I kept it really light. I went ten miles and camped right before a decent climb. Tomorrow will be a bit longer but nothing huge as I’ll be going to a hotel about 18 miles down the road. Bumped into two guys who were on my initial shuttle bus with me, Lobster and Baby Bucket. I’d heard they left the trail, but that was short lived and just to recover from an injury.
Interesting guys who both live in vans. Something that my generation never really embraced as a lifestyle.
My lower legs are still swelling up and causing some pain. I’m hoping the next version of shoe treats me better. Until then, on going to keep the pace under 20 a day. Hopefully that will let me build up my trail legs and recover a bit.
Plus it doesn’t look like there is any rush to get to Colorado since the snow pack is still too high to pass.
Day 17 May 18 The toaster house
I I started out the day headed towards Davila rest area. It’s a CDT hiker Haven that’s well known for its potatoes and eggs. From my campground to Davila was about 16 miles I got a nice early start and climbed up Magnas Mountain. The rest of the miles were basically downhill.
I got to Davila just in time for lunch time, hammer down some 7-minute eggs and fried potatoes. I hung out for a few hours and I originally planned on spending the night there. But I was getting a little itchy, didn’t care for the sleeping arrangements and also thought I could make it the rest of the way into Pie Town.
It was another 14 miles into Pie Town, so I was a bit spent. I believe that’s the longest day I’ve had on trail. But I made it just in time for Big Red, a hiker, a Minnesotan, and also a professional unicyclist to say hey man want a beer?
He produced the best tasting PBR I’ve ever drank. I spent the night at the infamous toaster house. The toaster house is a thru hiker hostel where just about every through hiker going through Pie Town spends at least one night. Often you’ll find a couple of thru hikers nursing injuries spending multiple nights there.
We spent the night drinking beers, I ate everybody’s leftover pie, a little bit of pizza a huge scoop of peanut butter and whatever else I could get my hands on.
Bumped into a bunch of people I’ve come across already to include Big Red. Taters, Ali, Poppins, Salty and his wife, Out There and Up Hill.
Hikers generally talk about a couple of things. One is they’ll talk about stuff that happened on the trail that’s humorous or potentially dangerous or something like that. At this point the trail everybody talks about their time crossing the Gila river. Everybody had a misstep or two, somebody fell in a river, somebody fell on their face etc.
Another topic is gear. Thr hikers love their gear. Everything from tents to packs to sleeping pads and especially shoes.
And CDT hikers will tend to talk about their other trail adventures most of them have done the PCT some have done the AT and some done anything from the Colorado Trail to the Arizona Trail.
That’s basically hiker small talk. But sometimes in those conversations you’ll actually hear something enlightening or maybe challenging or something maybe I’d even call worthwhile.
Last night was a really special moment when somebody asked Poet if he would be willing to read some of his poetry. I was afraid to ask him because he’s very humble and very shy about his writing and made it seem like it was very personal and not something he was going to share. I’m glad they asked him.
It went like this:
The fool on the hill seeks the sweet solitude of summer evenings
So still he searches and still he roams
Seeking truth from the pine and song from the mountain
Seeking faces that are kind and long life from the fountain
And the fountains that spring from the mountains that sing
Heal his weary feet and his heavy heart
And the faces so kind speak truth sublime upon mountainside
So seek on and wander
Go forth to walk and roam
But forget not the song of the mountain
To the mountain air is the cure and the key
The sweet elixir for the eye of the eye to see and once free
He remembers that he always has been
I’m absolutely alone on this adventure but the experience is very shared. A couple of us after hearing Poets words said that poem sounded like it was about me. Which is a great compliment to any artist.