Third of day 54 and day 55: heap in Carson National Forest to Hopewell Lake
Up Brazos Ridge
View into Cruces Basin Wilderness
Day 56: Hopewell Lake to Abiquiu
Landscape changed a lot this day, from greens to terracotta
What the rivers look like at this time of year in New Mexico:
Half-price room at Abiquiu Inn!
Day 57: Abiquiu (reservoir campsite) to half a mile short of the top of Polvadera Mesa
TOUGH DAY! I agree with those who say it’s the hardest day on the route (so far…) although I’ve had worst days when I was hungry or just really tired. I only did 28 miles and haven’t been in the 20s since Canada. Basically lots of walking up slopes with large rocks and pushing through the sandy bits as my 2.0 tyres sink right in.
Nice morning at the reservoir. As you can see, I like to keep a tidy bike with carefully packed and folded panniers:
Back into town through red rock and river valleys:
Then up from about 6,300 ft to 10,300 ft, passing through piñon and juniper trees to fir and aspen, via this stuff:
Camped here to the sound of elk hunters blowing their bugles to attract their prey:
Day 58: near top of Polvadera Mesa to about 3 miles from the edge of Santa Fe forest (rather than staying in Cuba)
Low dark cloud that characterises many afternoons:
Day 59: edge of Santa Fe forest to on top of a hill 24 miles from Cuba (14 miles into the wilderness from where you leave highway 550)
18 mile detour after turning left rather than right coming out of the forest onto the main road 😦
Coming down into Cuba:
Amid sage and piñon covered plateau country, with the yellow and purple flowers that seem to be everywhere:
The book has this to say about this stretch: ‘the 115 miles separating Cuba and Grants constitute one of the wildest and least watered segments of the entire route…one should not venture into such unforgiving country on anything even faintly resembling a lark…Whilst you may be wishing you’d find more water to drink along this stretch, you’d better also hope that none falls from the sky’.
If it rains heavily, everything turns to mud and you’ll be stuck and have to ditch your bike and walk out of there. I thought this was heading away from me – WRONG!!! It did rain but only very slightly that day and I lived to tell the tale. I made sure I camped up high though: