Monday, July 4, 2016

Day 20: Alpaca Ranch to Chain of Craters (Mile 479)

Wham!  A chunk of gravel whacked my ear, kicked up by a car speeding by.  More roadwalking. 

Walking toward the sun, the sweltering heat rising off the hot pavement, we were grateful for every breath of wind. Few trees shaded the wide open golden ranch land. 

A car screeched to a stop. The window rolled down, and a woman called out, asking if we needed water or anything. A trail volunteer on her way back from a project, the woman heard we were hiking this section today when she stopped by the High Country Alpaca Ranch. She shared some yummy snacks, and continued on her way. 

After spending most of the day dodging cars on the road, we were delighted to reach actual CDT trail at the start of the Chain of Craters route. And then we reached the lava. 

Deep fissures opened in the lava like crevasses in a glacier. Deeper grass filled craters dimpled the lava field. Caves hid beneath crumbling lava bridges. 

The hot, rough stone scraped against feet already travelworn from two days of road walking. We scrambled over lava, jumped over cracks and fissures, and climbed down into craters. We slowly inched our way through, and quickly found camping when we made it through. As the sun set, the clouds lit up in shades of gold, orange, and pink, a perfect substitute for the Fourth of July fireworks we are missing this evening. Happy Independence Day!

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