May 24th
Ghost Ranch(560.6)-Cano Canyon/SR-110(583.2)
Camp Elevation: 9,277ft
The plan was to leave Ghost Ranch around 7am and I was leaving with the regular crew of Team Mirage (including Sweetfish and Stryder). Others are just behind us and planned to leave Ghost Ranch sometime today. We(especially me) couldn’t resist going into the welcome center to use the wifi one more time and our leave time turned out to be more like 8am. We knew we had about a 3,000ft climb back up out of the canyon we were in. Today was a lot of walking on old dirt roads and sometimes going cross country to get to the next road. Some of the “roads” were very faint and almost unrecognizable. Many crisscrossed and it kept us on our toes and pretty alert most of the day. The first couple hours of the day, we had some short, but steep ups and downs through a canyon. The rock walls around us were very impressive. I am a fan of these thin rocky canyons.

Today’s timing was just off today and I wasn’t feeling good about it from the beginning. When we got to the top of the steepest climb out if the canyon, we took a morning break that was a bit longer than I’d hoped. The group still finds my need to push irrational and I’m outnumbered, so there is little pull I have in the situation. We are hitting our first snow section the last day of this leg, so I know I need to just stick with the group as it wouldn’t be smart for me to go on my own into the snow. I just would like us to do maybe 5 more miles a day so that we get more out of our town day at the end of the leg. Well, back to today. We finished morning break and continued our gradual uphill climb on a forested dirt road. I listened to more of my Wildwood audiobook. Lunch came and again was longer than I would have liked. It felt like more than an hour and we only had a handful of miles to our water source for the day and I knew it would be another long break there. I voiced this concern, but I don’t think it changed anything. We got to the spring in the early afternoon. Fortunately, it was coming out of a pipe and we didn’t have to take from the trough.

We chose a final destination to probably camp and I was anxious to get going so I set off a bit ahead of the others figuring they’d catch up cause they usually do with my picture taking and phone usage at times. LoveNote was feeling like she needed a longer rest, so the group started off soon after me and she stayed for another 20mins or so. The scenery the rest of the day was new and refreshing! It was rolling fields of green along very faint old roads. I had fun walking ahead a bit on my own and figuring out where to go. Just seeing the open landscape and green grass ahead of me while listening to my music was a huge boost. This is one of my favorite afternoons so far for sure! Here are some pictures. You can barely see the old roads, but they’re there.

Fortunately, the rain stayed just ahead of us too.

The trail would also dip into areas surrounded by trees.

About 3mi before camp, the rest of the group (except LoveNote) caught up and we were all just walking and talking along the road. Then Drop-N-Roll’s gut instinct kicked in and she checked her GPS on her phone. We weren’t on trail, urgh! The road had split about 3/4mi back and we were walking on the wrong side of a peak. We took some time to look at our options and all of us except Sweetfish decided to backtrack since it was the end of the day and we were unsure of the terrain if we attempted to go cross country to find the trail. Sweetfish enjoys going cross country and decided to try it on his own and we agreed where to meet for camping. By the time the rest of us got back on trail we figured we had lost a solid 30mins and probably walked an additional 1.5mi unnecessarily. When we got back on the right road, we could see LoveNote’s footprints ahead of us now. We knew she’d notice our footprints went the wrong way and that she’d meet us at camp. She was actually waiting for us up ahead where she knew we’d eventually arrive. It just wasn’t LoveNote’s day. She lost her headphones and some of her water spilled in her pack wetting her pjs and down jacket. Sweetfish was waiting for us another 1/2mi up. We ended up getting to camp at 7:15ish, which was later than we’d like, but still okay. The sunset was really cool and the sky turned pink as we all ate dinner. We are surrounded by Aspen:)

Once the sun set, the full moon rose and it is really bright! The full moon must be having an effect because we can hear coyotes howling in the distance and there is some animal making quite a loud noise I can’t place. I don’t think it’s elk bugling, but it sounds like a combination of a dog and seal barking. It’s loud! The temps were mild and have dropped significantly in the last hour. It’s going to be a cold night (30s) and even feels damp in the air, so I’m thinking I’ll have a pretty wet tent from condensation in the morning. The lite breeze also change direction and my tent is facing the wrong way, so the cold breeze is blowing right up under the beak on the mesh side. Brrr! I have my pack propped up to hopefully block the cold air from hitting my face. Overall, a good day despite the hiccups!

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