Friday, January 28, 2022

Day 46: Happy Anniversary, Evenstar!

June 5: I started hiking at a reasonable 7:00am start time, but temperatures already felt quite warm. It didn't bode well for the afternoon!

The trail climbed steeply out of camp before descending to a water source where I caught up with Splits and Pete. Pete I had met briefly yesterday, chatting with for about a minute before he passed me by and we repeated the scene today by chatting for about a minute. And after today, we'd never cross paths again. 

Splits and I compared itineraries. He planned to take the Ghost Ranch Alternate which, as the name implies, heads into Ghost Ranch. I knew Evenstar planned to do the same, but I decided to stay on the red line and skip the alternate. It looked like there was more road walking along the alternate and I definitely had plenty of food so didn't need to worry about resupplying at Ghost Ranch. From all the hikers I talked to, it sounded like I was the only one planning to stay on the main CDT.

I mentioned that I hoped I'd find someone near the junction with the Ghost Ranch Alternate--which I wouldn't get to until the afternoon--who might be willing to throw out my trash for me and lighten my load since they'd be going into civilization anyhow. I didn't have much after only a couple of days out of Cuba, but every ounce counts, right? But when Splits saw how little trash I did have, he volunteered to take it for me right then and there. Awesome! I certainly hadn't expected him to carry my trash all day, but I was grateful he was willing to take it for me and surprised he'd carry it all day in case we didn't cross paths again later in the day.

Splits continued hiking on without me while I filled up with water from the cow trough. I wasn't far behind him, but I figured there was a good chance that I'd never catch up with him again.

I fill up with water at the cow trough.

The trail followed a gravel road a short way, and I missed a turn off from it, but when it veered close to the road again, I just went cross-country and reconnected with it.

Then the trail started descending rapidly, down thousands and thousands of feet before leveling off in the Chama River Valley. The water source there was another cattle trough, but this one was surrounded by a deep, muddy moat! There was a narrow peninsula that stretched out to the trough, but it was difficult to navigate, and the clean good water coming from the pipe was right in the center of the cattle trough which was difficult to reach since there were just a few inches of dry ground around the cattle trough.

It took quite a bit of time and effort, but I eventually filled up with 7 liters of water--which was a lot--but I didn't expect to see anymore good water again until tomorrow afternoon. I knew I would pass the Chama River which I could get water from, but that probably was less than a mile away and from the reports I read, was quite muddy and not that great for drinking. Nope, this was the last good water source for the rest of the day and all morning tomorrow.

This cattle trough was surrounded by a muddy moat which made getting the good water coming from the pipe in the center very difficult!

And it was stinking hot. Between starting off so warm in the morning, the descent thousands of feet to the valley bottom had me roasting! I sweat like a pig and felt itchy all over.

Once I was filled up with water, I pushed onward, crossing over Skull Bridge which spans the Chama River. What a great name for a bridge, right? Ghost Ranch, Skull Bridge.... seemed like everything in this area was named for the dead. This bridge is also where the Ghost Ranch Alternate split off from the main CDT. I didn't see Splits, so I assumed he had already passed through and was on the road to Ghost Ranch. I hadn't seen Evenstar since leaving camp this morning, but I was ready for a break and took a seat by the riverbank to see if she'd show up before I continued onward.

I cooked dinner here--the more water I used here, the less I would have to carry up a steep slope to the top of a plateau that I'd be hitting immediately upon the resumption of my hike. And it gave me something to do while waiting to see if Evenstar showed up. I mean, I knew she would show up eventually, but I couldn't wait around all day either. I did want to catch up with her a bit before we took our separate paths. Hopefully, we'd meet up again tomorrow when the alternate rejoined the main route.

Paddlers on the Chama River. There was plenty of water here, but it wasn't great for drinking because it was so muddy.

Lots of people in rafts and canoes and such paddled by while I sat by the shore. I didn't know where they started, and wondered if they got out by Ghost Ranch downriver somewhere. I wasn't sure. But the bridge was a busy trailhead with lots of people, and quite a few went up on the bridge to take photos of the paddlers going by.

While cooking, dark clouds rolled in which provided some relief from the burdensome heat, and by the time I finished dinner and cleaned up, a few drops of rain started to fall. It wasn't really a rain, but just a few drops to worry me.

I was about to get up to continue hiking when Evenstar finally caught up. "Evenstar!" I shouted. "Tortuga!" she shouted back, like a long lost friend.

We laughed about the moat surrounding the last water source. She told me about two women hiking the trail who were just behind her and would likely catch up soon--and that they planned to stay on the red-line route as well instead of taking the Ghost Ranch Alternate. "Really?" I said, somewhat hopefully. Maybe I wouldn't be all alone on this section of trail! Company would be great.

Evenstar said that she was a little sad that she was missing her anniversary with her husband. "Wait! What? It's your wedding anniversary today?" I asked, making sure I understood her correctly. Yes, it was. I had no idea, but I did have an idea to maybe cheer her up on her anniversary, and I stood up and sang the Happy Anniversary song to her right there on the trail.

Okay, I know some of you are probably thinking, What's the Happy Anniversary song? It's very simple, very easy-to-remember song. It only has two words: happy and anniversary. And it goes to the tune of the William Tell Overture. Or, perhaps you know it as the Lone Ranger theme song. It goes something like this:

Happy anniversary! 
Happy anniversary! 
Happy anniversary!
Haaaaaaaappy anniversary!
Happy happy happy happy happy anniversary!
Happy happy happy happy happy anniversary!
Happy anniversary!
Happy anniversary!
Happy anniversary!
Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaappy anniversary! 

I tried searching on YouTube to see if I could find a clip of it and--somewhat surprisingly--I couldn't! I thought everything was on YouTube, but there is a clip from the Flintstones that almost does it right--except they change the words at the "happy happy happy happy happy anniversary" part.
Anyhow, I sang her the happy anniversary song, doing a little tap dance of sorts and swinging my arms around, and she sat looking at me with wide eyes, slightly open mouth, a shocked face, and a look that said I was certifiably insane.

"Well?" I asked. "What did you think?"

She paused a moment, perhaps trying to put her thoughts into words, and replied, "I really wish I got that on film."

I laughed and told her it was a one-time performance. She'll just have to treasure the memory for the rest of her life. Unless I happen to see her again on some other trail on her anniversary. It was, actually, the first time I had ever sung it specifically for someone, but I'm not sure Evenstar realized that since I looked like such a pro at it. *nodding*

Anyhow, by the time all this finished, Sweet Tooth and Bugs arrived--the two women hiking the trail that Evenstar had said were right behind us. So we made introductions, but as the sprinkling turned more aggressive, I decided to push on and hopefully set up camp before a real rainfall started.

The trail climbed steeply about 2000 feet toward the top of a plateau. The climb to the top was grueling, and despite the clouds and slight sprinkles as a respite from the oppressive heat, it just seemed to make everything feel more humid. I was happy when I reached the top and the trail leveled out again!

The trail followed more-or-less near the edge of the plateau with commanding and impressive views of the Chama River below, which I followed for a couple of miles before finally deciding to stop. I camped near the edge, wanting to enjoy the views all evening long. The rain had stopped, and although dark clouds lingered, there wasn't actually any rain in the forecast--and I was able to check a current forecast since, somehow, I managed to get a cell phone signal from this lofty view--so I didn't set up my tarp. I just threw out my groundsheet near the edge and plopped myself onto it.

I took a photo with my phone and texted it to Evenstar and Pez saying something sarcastic about how horrible and disappointing the views are up here.

About a half hour after arriving, Sweet Tooth and Bugs passed by. I had hoped that maybe they'd stop and camp nearby and provide a little company, but they weren't ready to stop for the night quite yet and pushed onward. Oh, well.... At least I got to camp at this wonderful viewpoint!

And thus ended the end of another day on the trail.....

It wasn't a bad place to camp! ;o)

It kind of looks like something pooped on this rock, then watched the poop roll down the sides around it!

Views down toward the Chama River were awesome!


Arlene (EverReady AT 2015) said...

Love the landscape and your report on how to sing Happy AnniversaryšŸ¤£. Made my day!

-ArtGekko said...

Those are spectacular views!!

Michael said...

I have a great way to get a proper Happy Anniversary song to appear on YouTube. It just takes Green Tortuga to pull out a phone and start recording. If only Evenstar did that during the momentous event. Even including tap dancing!