Thursday, June 26, 2014

Switchin to backpacks and heading to Montana


It was from Salmon, Idaho up to the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness area.  It was from wheels to backpacks.  We did about twenty five miles into the area and then hit snow.  The snow hid the trail as usual and -- more importantly -- SLOWED US DOWN TO A CRAWL.  So at a trail intersection, we deliberated and looked at maps and thought and deliberated and grew our indecision and thought about how much food we had and decided, finally, that we had to head down Hell Roaring Creek.  Which turned out to be a good way out, except for approximately seventy five downed trees blocking the trail.  Splinters in the behind time.  Then it was onto Mussingbrod Lake.  We found a campground a friendly family who gave Vicky a drive back to our vehicle.  And from there it was north to Helena to do a different section, the last hike we'll do with Jay who heads for Jackson soon to learn rock-building skills and trail maintenance with SCA ( Student Conservation Association).  Mama Moab and Buck Mulligan shall take off through the Bob Marshall Wilderness and Glacier National Park, or at least we hope...


 Good beer bought in Sula, Montana for the Indian Trees Campground (Forest Service).
 Beginning the Anaconda...
 Hunter equipment?
CDT intersects with Nez Perce Trail...


Snow -- again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  And from here straight down switchbacks to the trail intersection where we decided to leave the snow behind.

Cuba to Cumbres Pass on Bikes Steam Trains and White Water


Our ride from Cuba to Abiquiu, NM was a difficult climb up into the Santa Fe National Forest.  We climbed a couple thousand feet then dropped into Georgia O'Keeffe's landscape.  Her favorite Mountain is Cerro Pedernal.  She painted it over and over again.  She was known to say that if she painted it enough someday she would own it.  Well we all own it now and the trail went all the way around it.  It is the main massif around Abiquiu.  I am a huge fan of O'Keefe so this part of the ride was fantastic for me.



 Kevin with Pedernal in background...
 In Abiquiu, Kevin and Jay went on a float trip down the Rio Chama.  We had tried this river about five years ago and got turned around due to very high water and a number of flips in our canoe.  Kevin and Jay went with Los Rios River Runners and did an overnight (this filled in space on CDT between Chama and Abiquiu.  Then after that trip, during which Vicky painted the O'Keeffe landscape, we took the tourist train (narrow gauge) up to Cumbres Pass.  Kevin did a solo trip to finish out the Great Divide Trail in northern New Mexico.  The wind was horrific, and Vicky and Jay joined Kevin via car and then drove back to Chama.  From there it was north so that Jay could visit the Colorado Timberline Academy (a boarding school he's very interested in).  From there it was further northward...
Brazos Ridge

 Above are two photographs of us coming into O'Keeffe landscape on the Great Divide...
 Jay floating the Rio Chama, coming into O'Keeffe country.
 Pedernal during sunset as we were on the Great Divide Trail -- taken from our campsite that evening.
 Kevin about to start solo trip in northern New Mexico (at this point we're in Colorado, as the next sign makes clear)
The end of New Mexico, and from here onto Montana...

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Silver City to Cuba

The following photographs are out of order, but please deal with this.  First off, here's our first stop since Silver City, after a long foray through the Gila and other places.  It's called the "Toaster House," a wonderful hostel that was created by a woman named Nita.  She raised five kids here and then decided to turn the house over to the the Continental Divide Trail, and to our advantage, the Great Divide Trail.  Both cross right on her front sidewalk...

Here is where we met plenty of people, including two CDT thru-hikers, City Food and Let it Be.  Let it Be is a veteran thru-hiker, and now on his second or third CDT hike.  We also met Brook, who is running the trail (yikes!), and Ben who is riding the trail.  We also met many people using four wheels to see America -- one group with whom Buck Mulligan discussed the Situationist International with, and another friend of Nita who Buck Mulligan talked about Sun Ra with.

 Vicky at the Toaster House, next to our bikes, leaned up against a tree...

 Here is Vicky, rather close to Pie Town, with the marvelous mountains in the background.  Boy, Mama Moab can really pedal hard...
 A typical view on the Great Divide Trail...
 This was awhile after Pie Town.  This is close to where we camped before heading to El Malpais National Monument on Route 117.  It was hell getting to here, in terms of washboard roads.  But we turned off at a water supply route where we met a wonderful couple who gave us water and who talked about the husband's role in the Korean War, plus many other things.  A wonderful couple...

Here Kevin (Buck Mulligan) gets one of the few wilderness shots that he could on this trip.  He got to this point not by bike but via foot up a sandy, sandy road that stopped at this parking place...
 Sunset at campsite close to where Buck Mulligan just hiked up to.  This might be glorious due to fires in Arizona.  Nice huh?

 The bike ride after our stay as described above...
 We took this road from -- guess where??? -- Pie Town to the road around El Malpais...
 Pie Town....  Down south from this sign post.
 On our way by El Malpais, the Narrows, a beautiful canyon which we enjoyed while pedaling hard...
 This is just past the Narrows.  This is supposed to be a Native American woman looking out at El Malpais.  I think she looks angry, like about the future of her young uns.  Why wouldn't she be angry?
 Close to the Narrows.  Jay pedaling hard on the shoulder.
 This is way out of order.  This is just above Grants, New Mexico.  We were out of water.  The area close by to here had its aquifer contaminated by uranium.  So the Cold War still has its effects...  And boy did we really want some water at this point.  No windmills, no nothing.
 On the trail... above Grants, New Mexico.  We should mention here that in Grants, we met Gabe and Josh who were bicycling the Great Divide.  Josh had broken his back storage rack, which we tried (unsuccessfully) to help him fix.
 Dust Bowl, anyone?  Yes.  Some of our path, especially in Grants, New Mexico was on Route 66.  In essence, the Joad family all over again.  Mama Moab got checked up in Grants for a nasty cut on the back of her leg.  Her leg was not dusty but oozy.
 On the trail.  Doing what needs to be done -- taking  water break.
 Camp on the trail.  On cattle land.  No cows, just the San Mateo Peaks in the background, which you can't see but, hell, there they are.  Just imagine them.  Jay helps Mama Moab while she covers up the fact that she's undressing...
 On the trail...  We are now close to (or on) the  big four corners Navajo Reservation.
 More of the same...

 This is where we're getting closer to Cuba, New Mexico.  A big peak.  Not sure what the name is, but fairly volcanic and quite beautiful set against the landscape.
 Vicky huffing it.  Mama Moab work those legs!!!
 Finally up to the top.
Back to El Malpais:

 Remember that sunset mentioned above?  Here it is again, a bit later.
 Whew, this is way back in the Gila.  Looking at one of the few water places in the Gila.  Otherwise, it was dry, except  a few places.
 This is a Gila turn.  The Gila was awesome, but it was also straight up at times.  Up, up. up...


 Back to our more recent travels...

 Cactus with Mama Moab's shadow looming in the sunset...

 This is way back to the Gila, leaving the National Forest behind.  Notice the new bags on the back of Buck Mulligan's bike.  These were picked up in Silver City out of necessity.  Seems that twenty buck Ebay packs don't last that long -- hence, Buck's new packs.  And it's here that you see Buck Mulligan on the Continental Divide in reality.
 Typical scene on the GDT...  Nice huh?
 This is above the Gila and on the typically teeth chattering, butt spanking, tire twisting, knee gashing, soul stealing  gravel road...
 Yes!  This is what we call scenery.  This is close to Pie Town...  And a good photograph to leave on.