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[CDT-L] Update: Flight of the Spirit Eagle

Well, it turns out we are staying an extra day in Cuba after all. We were 
all packed up and ready to go, when we realized that we werenīt quite ready 
after all. We were so busy on our rest day, we never took time to rest. So 
today we'll wander town, eat some more, read a bit, and rest a bit.
The past 8 days were really beautiful, but tiring too. We saw a tremendous 
variety of landscapes and ecosystems, from high plateau to Chihuahuan 
desert. We missed the last snow while we were in Chama and only had a 
couple of inches on the ground to deal with, and most of that has melted 
off, except in the corners and crevices. I'm really glad we chose to take 
our time and really enjoy that section, it was worth the effort.
For those who live in NM, if you want a nice area to explore, try the 
Ojitos Trail near the Chama River for either a day hike or short overnight. 
The multicolored sandstone cliffs are dramatic and beautiful, and the walk 
from desert to ponderosa pine forest along the Ojitos Creek is a really 
nice one. The climb doesnīt even get bad until the last 2 miles; before 
that it is a gentle climb in scrub forest and pines. It is even marked with 
CDT posts, a first in New Mexico. San Pedro Parks Wilderness was also nice, 
despite the many, many blowdowns. It is small, but the open meadows and 
spruce-fir forests reminded us of Colorado and Montana.
This next stretch will be our first long one dealing with the desert - and 
long stretches between springs - since Wyoming. Though we always had to be 
conscious of water sources in planning our day, and had a few close calls 
when the stream we were counting on appeared to be dry, we always found 
water where the guidebook said it would be. I really hope that continues in 
this next long dry stretch. Of course, after Grants things really get 
interesting as there is no detailed guidebook south of there.
The first 2000+ miles of this trail (southbound) is just training for the 
last 600 miles - kinda like the first 2000 miles of the AT is training for 
the last 100 miles (but different training - and a different ending).
The CDT - like all long trails - is physically exhausting, but is 
ultimately an exercise in mental and emotional discipline. The 'challenge' 
ainīt physical, gang - itīs 95% in the head. We're hoping our heads hang 
together for the next 5 weeks. I think they will.
Walk softly,
Jim & Ginny
Flight of the Spirit Eagle

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