Today was a mostly lazy day, as I rested and returned to Albuquerque to return home.
I had two options for the bus to Albuquerque: before sunrise, or after sunset. I opted for the latter so that I could sleep in this morning and have more time to deal with some chores before leaving.
After a very lazy morning, chatting with Ranger Ross, Beans Man, Spice Rack, Onion, and some other hikers at Lava Flow, I took care of some chores.
After a shower and starting laundry, I hung my tent and sleeping bag (and clothes) outside to dry off after they’d gotten quite wet from the snow yesterday. Outside, it was nice and sunny, and a little windy, which was great for getting everything to dry off. By the time I packed everything away, everything was bone-dry.
Shortly before 6 pm, I left Lava Flow to grab dinner. Afterwards, I went to the Walmart to try and find a duffel bag to put my pack in, so it would be safer when I checked it on the airplane. They didn’t have anything large enough to hold my pack, but I was able to find a roll of stretch wrapping tape (similar to what I used when returning from the PCT in 2018) that worked a bit better than box of plastic wrap I used when flying from Canada to Albuquerque.
The last chore for the day completed, I made my way to the Greyhound bus stop, getting there a bit early. Onion showed up closer to when the bus was scheduled.
Unlike last time, the bus trip to Albuquerque was uneventful. Aside from the bus being a few minutes late because the driver missed the exit to Grants due to a distracting passenger, there was really nothing to note about the trip. The bus wasn’t full, there weren’t colorful characters bothering us, and we weren’t driving into a windstorm.
Once we arrived in Albuquerque, we opted to walk to our motel, about two miles away from the bus station, rather than paying for a ride. it was, perhaps, not the best neighborhood to walk through at night — a few dogs ran up to us, barking — but aside from that, we made it to the motel safely.
Onion’s flight was early in the morning, so by the time I got up Wednesday morning, she was long gone.
I wrapped my pack in the plastic wrap I got yesterday, and then checked out and called a ride to take me to the nearby Waffle House for breakfast. I’d originally thought to walk to breakfast, but once my pack was all wrapped up again, carrying it was awkward, and I didn’t want to walk the two miles to breakfast (or the one mile from there to the airport) lugging a somewhat light (but still bulky) pack.
The flight home (via Chicago) was entirely uneventful, and one more car ride from the airport brought me to my doorstep a day and a half shy of six months from when I left.
I’ve come a long way since I made my first steps on the Appalachian Trail in 2016. Over the last seven years, 8,800 miles along the Appalachian Trail, Long Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, Benton MacKaye Trail, Tuscarora Trail, Tahoe Rim Trail, GR131, and the Continental Divide Trail has been an incredible journey. And while I still have some thoughts on the CDT, right now, it’s time to rest, as I close the book on my journey along the Triple Crown of Hiking.