[cdt-l] Cuba to Ghost Ranch

slyatpct at aol.com slyatpct at aol.com
Sat May 19 23:24:36 CDT 2007

 I forgot to mention in my last post that I bought the last 2 bottles of Heet in Cuba, one from each of the two auto parts stores. Both have ordered more, 6 ea. None of the 3 gas/convenience stores I visited sold it. However, Richard's hardware store had cans of denatured alcohol in 16 or 32 ounces.
 On the way out of town we visited Circle A Ranch and I was surely tempted to call it a day there. What a beautiful spot, so peaceful. We spoke a couple hours with Walter and they're looking foward to having CDT hikers stay or visit. Normally it's $20 per but they also have work for stay if so inclined. It's the type of place where you wouldn't mind helping out and getting your hands dirty. From the hostel we took the road through the property as shown on J Ley map number whatever (Cuba) and bushwhacked the final .5 mile to FR 95 above the hairpin turn shortly before San Pedro Peaks. I think Walter said you saved about a mile and it's a much more pleasant walk.
 San Pedro Peaks... Lots of snow/postholing/water/icy knee deep fords. Although the FS ranger in Cuba assured us the CDT would be easy to follow through the park, on a foggy day, we managed to lose trail. I opted to bushwhack nearly 3 miles over snow through forest to the high point at mile 15.9 in the Wolf guidebook. I think my feet are still frozen. From the high point it was easy enough out of the park to the trailhead (dry) where we camped after grabbing snow melt on the way down. A half mile north of the trailhead there was a strong spring 10 feet off trail and a creek not long after. Apparently these are seasonal, but should still be flowing for northbound thru-hikers.
 The new trail after SPP's to NM 96 was real nice until we got misdirect by alternate flagging towards the end of the section. We ended up close to and walked the highway, presumably past the roadside trailhead, on the way to FS 170, when we spotted a lone CDT pole off the side of the road. That pole led nowhere we could find and once again bushwhacked to FS 170 through the sage brush. Another new section of trail off FR 77 was fine until it petered out as we took FR 453 the rest of the way to the Ojitos Trail and the Chama River Canyon Wilderness. Although the Ojitos Trail cutoff (cairn N36 16.255 W106 40.385) is listed in the Wolf Guide "at about 16.3" I found it closer to mile 15.3 (page 35 Northern NM, 2nd paragraph) and is correctly deplicted on the J Ley map. It appeared, by post and flagging, new trail was in place above FS 453 opposite the cairn. There was water at both the Los Ojitos (the pipe needs to be snaked) and the spring fed tank at 8.7 which is now clearly visable.
 Along with the Circle A Ranch, I highly recommend spending some time here at Ghost Ranch. Nice.
 By the way, Rainman and Vicki have a website. She's keeping a journal and both are posting pictures and youtube videos which can be found at http://rainmanvermont.tripod.com 
 PS For the older or TVLand generation... as I was humping up the side of Mt Taylor I noticed a cow tag, you know, the numbered ones they staple to the cows ear, laying on the ground. Cow 54 where are you? 
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