I feel like a song from Annie the Musical has come true: it’s tomorrow and the sun has come out. And what a difference it has made. Mornings and nights are still cold, but the days are warm and beautiful. I had forgotten how closely tied to elevation the desert is. When we drop below 7,500 feet the pine trees and meadows disappear and the red clay, sandstone and scrub appear.
Leaving Cuba the trail was low and followed the edge of mesas. Unlike the Great Divide Basin, this desert had a quiet beauty and while easy walking, the trail meandered through varied terrain with frequent views. Volcanic cones lined the horizon.
On our second afternoon we climbed out of the desert onto a high mesa. I think this may have been first time I’ve ever missed the desert. The mesa was alternating forest and meadow without any views. However on the third afternoon we climbed Mt. Taylor which towers above everything around and offers panoramic views.
We made it to Cuba early on the fourth morning. We are staying with trail angels which is a pleasant change from hotels. In fact we like it so much, we are taking tomorrow off. We’ll start southern New Mexico on Friday. The time left on the trail is ticking away.