Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Day 29: Cuba to Near Cecilia Stream

CDT hikers!  We met Two Bad Dogs, section hiking the CDT from Ghost Ranch to Cuba, as we hiked out of town. We first met them on Sierra's seventh birthday, which we celebrated at Evolution Lake along the John Muir Trail. We enjoyed reconnecting with them and sharing information about the trail. Reluctantly, we parted ways, as they were heading southbound into Cuba, although it would have been fun to share this section with them. 

The trail disappeared into the San Pedro Wilderness in a a sea of green. A cacophony of forest sounds serenaded us as we hiked: the gurgling of the stream, the rustling of the aspen leaves in the wind, the squawking of a blue jay, the hammering of a woodpecker. A rainbow of wildflowers lined the trail: paintbrush, penstemon, sunflowers, daisies, fireweed, lilies, columbine, lupine, beargrass, and many more.  We passed through of butterflies as they fed on the nectar. 

The mixed forest of pine, fir, and aspen opened into an expansive meadow with tall grass swaying in the breeze.  We crossed several streams (water!!!), and watched a shy spotted brook trout swim underneath a rock, as though he believed, childlike, that we couldn't see him if he couldn't see us. 

For the first time in New Mexico, we climbed above 10,000 feet.  Meadows, wildflowers, and forests all seemed like a window into heaven to eyes accustomed to parched desert earth. 

We descended through a tangled snarl of downed trees into a drier forest on the other side of the mountain, eventually finding camp in a tiny meadow near Cecilia Stream. 

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