Day 45

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NM84 to Ghost Ranch
3 mi ::
548 mi ::
Sunny, hot

Peter continues our feast and provides for any need we mention. He serves a huge breakfast highlighted by good coffee with real cream in real mugs. We can only smile. Then we pack up and he takes us through the road construction to Abiquiu to pick up our supply box.

We have three choices for the next section. One, follow the “official” route 45 miles straight up NM84 to Chama. Two, get a Carson National forest map and find our own route to Chama on forest roads. Three, follow Jonathan Ley’s route through Carson, which is at least 85 miles. We’re also missing the last map for this last option, so either of the latter two choices would require a Carson NF map.

We find no such map in Abiquiu. Again Peter comes through for us. He drives us back through the road construction and 20 miles beyond to the Canjilon ranger station, where we buy our map. Then he feeds us once more before leaving us at our stopping point on NM84. We’re reminded again how much our friends contribute to our journey.

The choice before us has too many factors to list, but it keeps us standing on the highway in confusion for some time. Finally we choose option three, Jonathan’s route through the National Forest. We don’t have enough food for the 5 days we figure it will take us, but we think we can stretch what we have. We also don’t have the last map of the route, but we think we can make do with our other maps. It will be much wilder and more scenic than highway walking.

We start by walking south to an old closed visitor center, then cutting over on the abandoned nature trail to Ghost Ranch. We don’t know much about this place, but we plan to get water there. We pass water tanks, a huge obstacle course, and an irrigated hay field on our way in. Just as we’re heading to the office for water Pam pulls up on a golf cart and pegs us as CDT hikers. She’s the campground host, and invites us to stay. We know we can’t because we’re too short on food, but Ann asks out of curiosity what services they offer. “Oh,” says Pam, “we have laundry, hot showers, a community fridge, ice, dish sinks, and free high-speed internet.” Wow. We tell her we’d stay if we had enough food, and she adds that there’s a small store and three all-you-can eat meals served daily at the dining hall. That does it, we cave in, and she takes us to her favorite campsite.

There’s just enough time to enjoy some of the ranch’s offerings before bed. The dinner is quite good – shrimp scampi with rice, veggie alfredo, carrots and peas, salad bar, and spumoni ice cream cones for dessert. I have two.

We’re happy to have discovered this place, and a little less nervous about the hike we’ll start tomorrow.

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