Day 39: Rio Chama

The mornings are warm and we are enjoying the predawn starts. It is really nice when you start early and get a good few miles in the cool of the morning.  Today was no exception and the first section of the trail is down hill and we quickly cover the miles.

As we are walking along the trail all of a sudden I feel this sharp pain in my left ankle. I looked down and a small cactus ball was sticking out of my leg. I am standing there thinking how do I get this thing out?  These things are like small balls with razor sharp needles sticking out everywhere.  If I grab it with my fingers then it will just move from my foot to my hands. In the end I use my pole to pry it off my ankle and push it off the trail. My ankle stings for the rest of the day and that night it feels like it is bruised. After taking a photo of this trail boobytrap I hobble off.

As the morning progresses we hit our hill climb of the day and start seeing some incredible cliffs. It is still morning and not to hot but the sweat is pouring off me as we slog up this hill. Yeti is counting her steps and stopping every hundred to take a breather  Doing this we soon get to the top.

Our water today is from another spring that has been captured and piped into a trough. We stop to fill up our bottles and while we wait for the water to filter I take the opportunity to wash my shirt and myself. It is cold and just as I get wet the sun goes behind the clouds. As Yeti says, I am a water baby and even with the cold this is still wonderful.

The afternoon is spent on a road so we start our next book. We are sticking with Bryce Courtney and listening to Brother Fish. We listen for a couple of hours and are descending down a step series of switch backs when a dog starts barking at us. We have made it to the creek and run into some day hikers out with their dogs.

We strike up the usually conversation and then I ask what type of dog is the one barking at us. The woman says “We are not sure but from the photos we have seen she is most like an Australian Kelpie”. This dog is on a leash, wearing a backpack, barking at us, snapping at flys  and lunging at the other dogs. It not only looks like a Kelpie it behaves like one. I confirm for her that I also think it is an Australian Kelpie.  What I don’t say is that, as a working dog, they would normally run about 30 miles a day and without this level of exercise they go crazy as evidenced by the dog in front of us.

That night we camp by the Rio Chama and spend a horrid few hours filtering brown water through coffe filters and then our water filter to try and get some drinking water. If only I had read the water report more carefully we would have filled up at the cattle trough just before the river like Yeti wanted to do.