Thursday, July 7, 2016

Day 23: Crater to Grants (Subway)

The Zuni-Acoma Trail is an ancient cairned route across the badlands that connected the Zuni and Acoma pueblos. The route was in use as early as 850 AD. The Continental Divide Trail follows this route through the lava. We had been told to get an early start, as the route is difficult and can take up to eight hours. 

Following the route, we found ourselves constantly torn as to which way to look. We needed to look up to spot the next rock cairn that would safely lead us through the badlands. But we also needed to look down to avoid loose rocks, deep fissures, jumping cholla (I ended up with a segment of cholla deeply embedded in the side of my shoe yesterday), and other hostile desert plants. And we wanted to look around, to take in the badlands, with the interesting patterns and wrinkles in the lava, the hardy plants that seemed to spring out of the rock, and, off in the distance, La Ventana Arch set against a backdrop of sandstone cliffs. 

With their soaps, shampoos, and freshly laundered clothing, we smelled the day hikers before we saw them. The first hikers we've seen since the Gila. And a sure sign that we were almost to the end of the Zuni-Acoma Trail. 

And then we were back on the road, with America's discarded Bud Light bottles, McCafe cups, and Walmart bags lining the highway, even as beautiful as stone cliffs towered above. A shaded sandstone cave, naturally eroded into the cliff wall, provided a cool place to avoid the heat of the day and eat lunch. But our little respite was soon over, and we were back on the road, with the official CDT route following over 20 miles of road into our next resupply, Grants. The roadwalk was uneventful -- at least until we had to quickly jump out of the way of a truck repainting the highway lines. 

After a shower, we ended our day by eating liberal quantities of Surf Shack pizza. Delicious!

1 comment:

  1. I love when I've been somewhere and can compare impressions especially as I did the Chain of Craters as a short backpack trip and a section of the Zuni-Acoma as a day trip, both with Hemlock aka Joan. Of course I had the luxury of hiking in March. I haven't written my blog posts yet, but a way different environment, and boy does that terrain eat shoes!