Mount Taylor to Cuba, NM
The Cibola National Forest is by far one of my favorite sections of New Mexico. It beholds a beauty unlike anything else, an ancient seabed of sorts that expresses depth and texture of immeasurable greatness. Within the canyons, the earth is more sculptural than anything else. Sandstone rock formations mystify a hiker’s eyes as precariously balanced sandstone boulders lay atop cliffs. The colors are vibrant, the texture intense. It’s a beautiful place to visit.
I spent most of my days solo through here with the exception of one couple, Walkabout and Yeti. They reside in Colorado half the year, Australia the other. They are best friends, and having met on the Grand Canyon many years ago. Having attended my talk at REI Denver in January, their website was inspired by my own. It’s called Loveonthetrail.
Although no other humans may have been near, my attention was captured by a dozen uniquely colored lizards, plenty of birds, jack rabbits and several herds of cattle. One night, while camped along the rim of a beautiful mesa, an elk woke me at 3am. It had walked within feet of my cowgirl camp, and after instinct caused me to shriek in alarm, it ran off along the rim, it’s hooves clicking against the sandstone rock. Then, in disgust, it snorted at me.
As for water, I carried 3 to 4 liters for 15 to 20 mile waterless segments. The weather has been sunny, but fortunately not blazing hot. I tanked up at the springs, and hiked into the evening. Most mornings I’m on trail by 6:15am and I usually don’t stop until just after 8pm. They are long days, but the effort will inevitably always see reward.