We ended up doing two zeros in Cuba. Not only were we waiting out the storm, but we also just needed the rest after the last section. When we finally headed out though, it was hot and cloudless again.
Heading out of Cuba we had our last long paved road walk in New Mexico (and Colorado for that matter). Tallboy, Mike Honcho and Emma decided to leave the town a bit later, so for now it was just Krafty, Yardsale, Poles and myself. After 8 miles on the road we got to a trailhead were we started to ascend. After a 3000 feet (1000 m) climb we reached our first big snowfield.
It was already lunch time, meaning the snow was already soft and postholy, but we continued anyways after a quick break. It took us about 4 hours to cross the 8 mile snow field. When we finally descended we got hit by dozen of fallen trees slowing us down even further.
Luckily we still managed to get within 31 miles of Ghost Ranch, our next resupply stop. We therefore decided to try and reach the ranch the following evening. We started a beautiful hike full of mesas and canyons. After a very long and hard, but very joyful hike we arrived at Ghost Ranch were we camped for the night
We relaxed at the ranch the next morning, enjoying the breakfast buffet, organizing our resupply and complaining about the weight of our newly picked up ice-axe and crampons.
With heavy packs we left at mid-day, climbing through a beautiful canyon until we reached the top of the mesa. We immediately saw a change of scenery: Unlike the desert we had just left the plateau was overflowing with snow melt. Water was flowing everywhere and it was somewhat hard to actually find a dry place to camp.
The next day we had a couple more miles on dry trail before we started hitting snow. From that point onwards we had on and off snow for the rest of the way to Chama. While the area overall was super beautiful the hiking was hard: We got caught in several hail and snow storm. Further the nights were super cold: Every night was in the 20s (-7) and in the night before we got to our hitch at Cumbres Pass we probably hit mid-teens (-10). Despite all this we made it to Chama on the 5th day out, having a lot of fun overall.
Conclusion New Mexico
While we are currently in a small town in New Mexico we crossed the state line into Colorado 3 miles before we hit the road so I wanted to write a small conclusion to my time in New Mexico:
Overall this state really surprised me. While the trail did start out somewhat boring we had absolutely stunning sections in New Mexico. The state offers so much diversity. From the beautiful Gila river to stunning desert mountain ranges, I had a lot of fun throughout New Mexico. While I certainly wouldn’t recommend every little stretch we did, overall it was some of the best hiking available.