Hopewell Lake (625.8) to (651.3)
It was about 7am when we crossed the quiet nation highway 64. We slowly climbed on a jeep road. To the left was a grassy meadow. I spotted something moving. Two wolves. Slowly they moved down the meadow valley. Enough time to take a photo and video this time. The photos aren’t clear but the video is better. I’ll put the video of the trip together before Christmas, I hope. That’s three wolves so far on this trip.
I had a look on the internet only to find that wolves shouldn’t be in that part of New Mexico. Were they wolves? They were the size of German Shepherds. Coyotes aren’t that big are they? Crunchmaster, spontaneous and I are quite sure they are wolves. You decide. [Edit: it appears they were coyotes not wolves 🙁 ]
Theevidence of bears and Mountain Lions nearby. Their tracks were engraved in the mud. We haven’t seen any bears or mountain lions but we hope to at some stage on the hike.
We continued climbing until we started to hit patches of snow. Nothing too bad considering we were at 10000 feet. We crossed some stunning meadows. They were the sort of grassy meadows that should have had thousands of deer being chased by hundreds of predators like bears, wolves and mountain lions. Instead they contained water troughs for cattle to drink out of.
By late afternoon we arrived at a remote campground that was still covered in patches of snow. When we set off in the morning we thought that might make a good campsite. It was getting late. We thought we might try and make some more miles. So we agreed to try and make it to another place on the map. I stopped for an ablution break. I never saw Crunchmaster and Spontaneous for the rest of the day.
I climbed up to near 11000 feet. Soft snow leaked into my shoes. My socks were wet and because of the altitude I was unable to walk fast enough to generate enough body heat. I stopped to put on another layer. In the process I got a little lost. I was following a set of footprints through the soft snow. The footprints ended at a road. I looked at my maps. If I followed the road I would join the trail again in less than a mile. The road was listed as one of the alternate CDT routes, so I took it.
The road continued for about a mile until it was covered in snow. Right at the point where it joined up with the CDT. I continued alone. At one point my foot slipped through the soft crust of the snow into an ice cold pool of water. That could not be described as the highlight of my day.
Through the snow I went. Adding layers as it got colder. The wind didn’t help. It was a very windy day. I covered maybe two miles of snow covered road before a snow free hill stood in front of me. I had to climb it. It was over 11000 feet and has 360 degree views. I looked for the others but couldn’t find them. I didn’t know if they were ahead or behind.
At 7.30pm I arrived at the spot we agreed to camp at. Nobody was there. I was cold. I now had every layer of clothing that I had with me on. I finally felt warm. I had a rare section of cell phone coverage so I sent out a text message with my whereabouts and plans.
I continued hiking for only about two minutes before I found a rare snow free sheltered spot. My home for the night. I set up the tent then climbed a hill to send another text message.
I settled in for what promised to be a very cold night. Hopeful that the others are fine. Tomorrow I’ll probably wake early and try and make it to Colorado. It’s only 14 miles away. But I don’t want to stand at the border alone.