This is our last day of hiking in New Mexico and the state is giving us a send off. It began raining around 11 last night accompanied by gusty winds. It is still going at 6 this morning. I believe I can pack everything from the dryness of my tent and then strap the wet tent on the back of my pack minimizing my immediate exposure to the wet. I do feel that my complete rain gear will be put to use. At 10,418 feet the rain is bound to be chilly.
Well, it was an interesting day. Around 6:10 my tent blew over with me in it. So much for packing in a leisurely, orderly manner. I did manage to pack 99% of my things without them being wet. Thank goodness. The tent threatened to blow away once the remainder stakes were removed. I folded/wadded it up and strapped it to the back of my pack. We then headed out in 42 degree temperature with horizontal rain. I mostly saw the path in front of me with the exception of the young elk who was feeding, the big mature elk I scared out of it’s bed down place and the herd of about eight I moved along. The wind was strong and gusty to the point of needing to plant my poles firmly. The conditions inspired a fast 6 miles.
Once we reached the forest we found a tremendous amount of blow downs. The pine beetle has decimated huge stands of pines and, once dead they fall to resemble pick up sticks. One blow down was so large we had to detour quite a way off the trail.
Jack saw a bear and two cubs down the hill and couldn’t get my attention quickly enough for me to see.
The New Mexico/Colorado line was reached at 12:45. The wind was really strong as we dried our wet items in the peek-a-boo sun. Dark clouds began racing overhead as we raced along the trail to Cumbres Pass which was only three miles away. To reach the pass there is a gorgeous series of open hills over which the trail runs. Good heavens! One could almost fly in the gusts.
We are the The Y Hotel tonight having hitched the 20 miles in the back of a pickup truck. We prefer that method of transport as everyone is more comfortable with the distancing. There is another CDT hiker who arrived named Rocketman and a trail maintainer/hiker named Yohn.