Day 24 - catching the bus to Chama (25.8)
Updated: Aug 4, 2022
June 2, 2021
Miles: 25.8 miles
Waking up at 3:10am wasn’t has bad as I thought. I did sleep pretty well and didn’t wake up much but was one of those times where I felt like I heard the alarm go off as soon as I closed my eyes.
Packed up fast and was hiking by 3:30am with my headlamp. I had 5 miles on the trail before hitting the gravel road. The trail wasn’t too bad but it was slow going in the dark.
The first half was in dense forest with hiking next to a stream which I crossed several times. Then came out to a more open area and was able to pick up the pace. I didn’t leave myself much room for breaks this morning.
Around 5am I got to the Rio Chama River, largest river I’ve seen so far. I took about a 10 minute break and took off my warm weather clothes. Also it was just bright enough to where I didn’t need my headlamp anymore.
I started off the 7 miles down the gravel road which followed the river. The river was moving pretty good and had some rapids.
After the gravel road I turned off onto a trail, my map called it a trail but couldn’t see one but I knew in the general direction I was going so I set across the field to a jeep road. I got kind lost but got back on trail and hiked to highway 84. Once on the paved highway I hiked about a mile and half to the entrance to Ghost Ranch where I would catch the bus into Chama.
I arrived at the bus stop at 8:15am, about 25 minutes before it’s scheduled pickup time. It ended up arriving a few minutes late. I got on board and was the only one. I thought it was $5 to ride but the bus driver said it was free.
The bus ride took about an hour. There was only one other guy to ride the bus as he got on after and dropped off before.
Got into Chama and went to the store to resupply. I went to the smaller one as the bigger one was on the other side of town, 2 miles away. I was pretty tired and wanted to save my energy for later.
After that I went to one of the hotels to reserve a room for when I get back to Chama in a few days. I wanted to see if I could leave my mail drop with them since I would be coming in on Sunday when I wouldn’t be able to pick it up until Monday morning. The hotel said I could leave it with them and would keep it safe. So I went to the post office and took my mail drop to the hotel. Then the worker took me and another hiker to the larger store. Then came back and had a late lunch with the other hiker at a restaurant near the hotel. Right as we were heading to eat a quick storm came through. Seems like that’s going to be the trend for awhile.
When we went to the store the hotel worker locked up my pack behind a cage. I thought I could get it when I got back from lunch. Got back around 2pm and couldn’t find the guy. I went searching and was starting to get worried as my bus was leaving at 3:30pm. Then finally at 2:30pm I found him in a room that he is living in and was taking a nap. Got him to open up the cage. There was enough space to where I could have climbed over but would had been risky and only a last resort. Once I got my pack the other hiker let me use his bathroom.
At 3:15pm I walked over to the bus pickup and waited with 2 other hikers. The bus arrived on time. We made one other stop but the 2 trying to get on didn’t have masks so we had to wait for 5 minutes for them to find ones before the driver would let them on.
Got back to Ghost Ranch around 4:30pm. I had a good little climb awaiting me just past the ranch.
Once past the ranch and on the trail I started hiking through the canyon. Soon after leaving the road this guy stopped me asking if I was a thru hiker. I said yes and told to go ahead and that there was a film crew just up ahead and just hike right through it. Now I was curious what was going on. I see a guy with just shorts on and a bunch of people wearing masks around him, looked like the production team. I didn’t see any cameras. Just a 100ft farther I came across the same thing. I think they were filming some kind of reality survivor show, maybe on how to live in the woods.
Once I past them I had a steep climb out of the canyon and up the mesa. It wasn’t too bad. I’m sure it was a little steeper than yesterday but not as long.
Soon the incline became more gradual and easier hiking. The higher I went up the bigger the trees and felt like I was finally leaving the New Mexico desert.
Around 8pm I could see high in the trees that the sun was setting. It made the top of the trees look like they were on fire. I was so close to the top that I made a big push so I could see the sunset. I got to the peak and had no real view to the west but a decent one of the east so I should get a good sunrise, if I wake up on time but these last few days have been long. Hard to believe I got in over 25 miles after taking 8 hours off during the middle of the day but it helps when you start super early.
Lastly for the day as I was trying to set my tent up it started to rain. I setting it as fast as I could to keep everything from getting wet. It only lasted about 5 minutes and didn’t rain too hard. Had I waited I would have been better off.