Day 50

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Rio San Antonio to FS117, Colorado
20 mi ::
625 mi ::
Sunny, warm

We have an extra 3/4 mile to walk up the Rio San Antonio because of my mistake last night. It’s a long, gradual ascent up to the head of the canyon and TA Grant fence again. We interrupt many elk having their morning drink on our way.

We’re down to one egg and potato breakfast, some beans, and trail mix for food. We eat half the breakfast mixed with beans. I don’t look forward to eating it again for dinner.

One last stint of fence walking down and up another canyon brings to flatter mesa terrain. Half an hour of cross country gets us to FS87. We look forward to some miles of easier walking on this road, which goes all the way up to the Colorado border. It’s a relief to forget about navigation and terrain for awhile.

We climb steadily, and soon find ourselves atop Brazos Ridge with views in all directions. We’re both amazed to see the entire Sangre de Christo range to the east and the Great Sand Dunes National Monument northeast, all familiar but very spread out. North are the less familiar peaks of the San Juans. We feel joyful to have reached such a place.

The road that follows is less interesting, and we just put the miles back. We’re enjoying not having to think at all about water. It’s everywhere.

Ann calls to me at one point with a discovery – a discarded bottle of Kentucky bourbon. We pick it up. We both have the same idea, but don’t say it out loud. The miles are coming easily, and we soon find ourselves crossing Apache Creek – the northmost name visible on our map. At 7:45 pm we see the signs. ‘Leaving Carson National Forest, New Mexico’, and ‘Entering Rio Grande National Forest, Colorado’. We drink a toast of pretty smooth bourbon, and give each other a big hug. We’ve walked across New Mexico.

We don’t have a proper map from here, but the road seems to go in a good direction. By the time we make camp we can see headlights on the highway that leads back to Chama and our resupply.

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