18 mi ::
377 mi ::
Some high clouds, warm, windy
Wanting to use water where we don’t have to carry it, we have breakfast at the information center when we wake up. Then we duck under the gate again to try to catch a ride back to the trailhead.
It’s not instant this time. An Indian pulls in and unlocks the gate, then several others come through. The first comes back out in shorts and asks where we’re going. I choke saying Zuni-Acoma Trailhead, not wanting to possibly mispronounce his tribe’s name. I say “the lava flow trail” instead. It’s funny – I probably couldn’t even be taught to pronounce it the real way. He just smiles, says we may be there a while, and we might want to take the road across the highway instead. The he goes jogging down it, followed by one of the others.
We do get a ride before long, and are soon flying down the road again in the back of a truck. It feels wonderfully free in the morning sunlight.
We’re carrying a gallon of water apiece to get us to Grants. With this much weight we have to rest every hour. We pass two sources of water, one clear and one green, but we don’t need them now.
Bonita canyon is wide and grassy with Ponderosas and White Pines at the sides. It’s so nice that we think we’d take a day off here if there was water.
Zuni Canyon is entirely different. It’s pretty, with a lava flow in the base and blocky, layered sandstone cliff walls. But it’s not really a friendly-feeling place. The road is made of some kind of white pumice gravel that raises billowing clouds of white powder every time a car passes. Every plant and stone in the canyon has a layer this white powder on it. Most of the plants are sharp and stickery. There are broken bottles all over the place. It’s hard to find a spot to take a rest.
We try to get through Zuni Canyon quickly. Around 7 pm we reach the National Forest boundary. We’re not sure what the camping situation is beyond, so we find a nice little Juniper up a side canyon to make camp beneath.