Day 26: Zero in Grants
Friday, May 20, 2022 8:42 pm
Location: Grants / Lava Flow Hostel (410.3 miles)
Today, we zeroed in Grants (though we did “hike” a few miles from motel to hostel), and worked out our plans to deal with the fire closures and upcoming snow in Colorado.
- Fire closures and snow issues aside, I’d planned on zeroing in Grants since I left Pie Town. While just a four day stretch between towns, this would still only be my third rest day in almost four weeks of hiking.
- I was pretty sore this morning. It’s like my body knew it was a day off.
- Patches, Simple, and I went to Denny’s for an all-you-can-eat breakfast. Tiempo joined us as we were starting to finish.
- Afterwards, we checked out and met up with Dog Bite, Plus One, and Mr. Freeze at their motel. The possibility of staying at an Air B&B in Albuquerque was raised. At the least, being in Albuquerque was essentially a prerequisite for traveling to anywhere else we might want to go.
- Our next stop was the Lava Flow Hostel, run by a national park ranger. The hostel was cute. There were two dorm houses, a bunk house, and plenty of space to set up tents. All three buildings had a kitchen (of varying size), and bathrooms, though the bunk house had outdoor toilets and showers. According to another hiker, dividers between the two toilets and the sink outside of the bunkhouse had just been built today; this evening, a door was built in front of one of the toilets.
- On the hostel grounds are a number of small pits with plants in them. (The pits serve as a windbreak, but also would aid in water retention.) Some of the pits had cacti planted in them, so you really had to pay attention when walking around.
- The hostel is also run entirely on solar power. Either the panels, the batteries, or both, are not sized to provide power throughout the night, so power shuts off some time after the sun goes down. Which is not that big an issue when 9 pm is “hiker midnight”.
- We went ahead with getting an Air B&B in Albuquerque, for five days starting on Sunday. Dog Bite was able to use points from prior travel to get us a hotel room at a Marriott in Albuquerque for free for tomorrow night. We (the five of us, without Simple) booked Greyhound tickets for Saturday evening. Simple is getting a Sunday morning Greyhound.
- We invited the “K2s” (Kyra and Kiernan) to join us in the Air B&B, so it’ll be seven of us there.
- It was very windy all day. Loose dust blew everywhere; it was hazardous to your eyes to be outside without glasses on.
- I spent most of the afternoon bouncing between behind one of the dorm houses (where there were two swinging chairs suspended from trees), and the insides of either dorm house. Among plenty of other hikers, James and his dog Kera (whom I last saw at Doc Campbell’s) were there as well.
- Speaking of dogs, I think I heard that Catchup and Lauren’s dog, Odin, whom I last saw in Silver City and had made it at least to Doc Campbell’s (based on the logbook), had gotten off-trail.
- Plus One made us very delicious grilled ham and cheese sandwiches.
- Pale Ale, Sprouts, Stumblebee, Rattler, Boomerang, and also Tiempo are taking a week off to road trip and hike in Utah.
- A large breakfast, some snacks, and the ham and cheese sandwich was all I ate today, which was probably not enough food. I feel like I’ve lost more weight than I wanted to at this point in the hike, and (especially since we’ll be off-trail for the next week), I need to eat more to get my weight back up.
- The bunkhouse has a string of Christmas tree lights that light up after dark. The small amount of light they provided was nice, except that they were in blinking mode, which makes it quite a bit harder to fall asleep.