Smiles for Miles

Hello lovelies!

Shorter updates:

* Since leaving doc campbell’s I’ve been hiking with a fellow named Samwise

* The trail is lovely, and my body appears to be holding up nicely

* I’m hanging out in Pie Town and trying to figure out my schedule to get me to Chama not too early.

Longer updates:

This is a fantastically wonderful trail.  

Are there boat-loads of road walks? Yes.  Are you very likely to get hit by a car that’s moving on dirt roads far too quickly? Sure.  But is the scenery breathtaking, the company great, and are the river traverses top-notch?  Hells-to-the yes.

I left doc campbell’s with a pack full of 15,000 calories, some water, and a travelling companion named Samwise.  We quickly jumped into the Gila, walked five miles, and stripped down to soak in a hot-as-hell hot spring.  

The following morning, we hiked another 12ish before hitting the most beautiful hot spring I’ve ever seen (Jordan Hot Springs).  In the words of Samwise, “it doesn’t get much better than just right.” 

We got to the hot spring around 8:30 am to 98 degree water, shade, and no one else in site.  After an hour of soaking, some folks started showing up, and we were clothed and on our way before the gaggle of high school students hit the spring.

Hundreds of river crossings and many 30-mile days later, we found ourselves at a random shanty shack in the middle of a semi-arid mountain range.  For whatever reason, a kind trail angel keeps it stocked with potatoes, eggs, beans, and WiFi.  As it turns out, hiking the Gila is a great way to burn off pandemic calories, and I found myself in a calorie deficit that the shanty was able to offset.  Which brings me to the largest trail difficulty I’ve ever experienced: trail veganism.

Having been vegetarian for the better part of 2 decades, I anticipated the shift to trail veganism to be chill.  It has not been.  While I’m accustomed to “hidden bacon,” I have become frustrated by the vegan equivalent: “hidden whey”.  Turns out random trail food throws whey into it for no other reason than it’s a heavily subsidized filler.  It’s not consistent across generic vs non generic products.  From bars to pastries to rice sides, whey has somehow cropped up in a variety of food choices.  As such, my veganism has turned mostly aspirational, with trail towns adding further pressures.  Thank you aggressive dairy industry subsidies!

After a casual 15-miles today into Pie Town before 10:30am, we found ourselves at the Pie Town Pie Shop for some delicious breakfast, and #HikerTrash hangout time.  The pie is NOT as good as MapGirl’s.

I’m pulling together a hiking schedule later today.  I don’t want to get to Chama too early, as the San Juans have snow, which may be miserable, unfun, and possibly deadly. #minimizingrisks.  Right now I’m anticipating June 5th is about the earliest I can enter.  We’ll see how snow, sun, and other hikers’ stupidity influences that date.

With love from the trail and smiles for miles,


Attached: Samwise in the hot-as-hell hot springs

Samwise in a hot-as-hell hot spring

Scroll to Top