From Cuba to Ghost Ranch

This will be a brief post as its only been a few days since my last and I’m working against a limited time window on the Ghost Ranch library computer.

Flatbread and cheese toasted over a fire. I was focused.

The walk out of Cuba was a slow, steady climb up to a plateau at about 10,500 feet. We knew to expect snow up there and we found plenty.

Impala crossing a shallow snow field north of Cuba.
Trail again! Descending out of the deep snow.
Scratches from post-holing in deep snow

We spent the next 4-5 hours post-holing in knee-to-waist deep snow, punctuated by several crossings of snow-melt mini streams of icy slush that went up to the bottoms of my pants pockets. You’d step in and your feet would go numb immediately. I’ve never done a polar plunge but I suspect its similar. Then you step up the other side of the little stream and resume post-holing in deep snow, only now the snow feels warm to your bare, frozen legs. Hammer got some good video of post-holing and the slush crossings, so I’ll try to post that later.

Two guys with whom I really enjoying hiking: Hammer (Virginia) and Impala (Yorkshire, UK).
Impala and Hammer just before arriving at Ghost Ranch.

Speaking of that, I’ve hit it off very well with the two hikers I met in Cuba- Hammer (from Virginia) and Impala (a Brit from Yorkshire). They’ve both hiked the AT and Impala has also done the PCT, the Te Araroa trail in New Zealand and others. They’re great hikers and fine companions and I’m glad to have connected with them both.

I should say a few words about Ghost Ranch, beyond the fact that when we rolled in this morning cold, wet and hungry, we sat down to a magnificent breakfast feast. I spent time earlier today going through the history tour of the place, and will visit the museum after I’ve had my shower but its no wonder why it has been such an inspiration to so many as it surrounded by incredible landscapes on every side. We get to check in to the room soon and will also have breakfast here again in the morning before heading out.

Surrounded by colorful mesas.
Mesa near Ghost Ranch.
The day after 4-5 hours of postholing in knee deep snow we got 27 miles of mostly wonderful, peaceful trail to walk.

Speaking of which, there is a winter storm warning in the surrounding mountains through tonight, with 10-20 inches of possible new snow (at higher elevations). We’re back into the 10,000 foot range again tomorrow so fingers crossed on that snow, but luckily I just got the micro spikes Wendy sent from home so they should come in handy for this next stretch.

Me crossing a bridge leaving a very muddy wake.
Pre-dawn hiking after packing away tents wet.

Unless something goes wrong, my next post should be after I’ve crossed into Colorado, approximately 5-6 days from tomorrow. Cheers and thanks for reading! Max

7 thoughts on “From Cuba to Ghost Ranch”

  1. Great to see you in pics and hear you met other hikers to hang with on the Trail. Nice vistas in pics. Prayers for safe travels. Enjoy the moments.

  2. Looks like Impala has a beard for you to strive for! 😉 Your writing suggests you’re starting to enjoy your experience on the trail. Really enjoying the updates and pictures!

    1. Yes, since I’ve been hiking steadily with others enjoyment is way up. As for beards, mine will get a trim again soon when I’m off trail briefly for a graduation. Long hair is enough overhead already.

  3. Totally LOVE the song you posted. Never heard it before, but it was hauntingly beautiful.
    Glad you’re meeting up with others on your journey. It’s so unfortunate in life that you can’t ‘force’ magic or recreate a feeling (like the first days on the AT). All you can do is put yourself in spaces where opportunity lingers and wait to be hit with the fairydust. Hoping some comes your way.

    Have you ran into Frodo and Scout on trail? Scout’s a writer and PCT trail angel. Been reading his blogs and heard a podcast with him. Sounds like your type of guy.

    Happy trails!

    PS–super duper uber excited that I’ll be doing a 55 mile stretch of VA next week through Grayson Highlands. Can’t wait to see the ponies and clear my brain of the fog of life.

    1. Always great to read your replies Amy. Decided to skip ahead temporarily to start Wyomimg. Will do Colorado “out of sequence” in summer since it’s virtually unhikable right now. Will be on trail again tomorrow near Rawlins. Max

    2. Also, no, haven’t run into Frodo & Scout but definitely have heard the names.

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