Grants was an excellent town stop thanks to the trail angels we stayed with, Hugo and Carole Mumm. Leaving was extra difficult since this last section was 80 miles of mainly hot, dry roads. The dry part was mitigated by the Mumm’s water caches without which it would have bordered on unbearable. We continued hiking this section with Chance and Riley who have been with us since Ghost Ranch North of Cuba.
There were a couple of highlights though. While it was very difficult walking, crossing El Malpais National Monument was at least different. The monument is an old lava flow with cool rock formations. However I had to spend quite a bit of time picking cacti out of my shoes.
After the lava, we got to see La Ventana which is a natural arch. And in the same area we scrambled up a mesa to walk the rim of The Narrows which gave us great views of La Ventana, El Malpais and even back to Mt. Taylor.
However these few ended the highlights of the section and we were relegated to 50 miles of dusty road. All our water sources from there on out ended up being windmills. The first one didn’t quite have enough wind to turn so I climbed up and gave it a helping hand while Chance filled my water bottles. Of course none of the windmills were right next to the road and the cross country hiking filled my socks with little stickers. So many stickers that one pair was ruined.
Arriving at Pie Town was a breath of fresh air. While the community has no store or cell phone reception, they make up for it by being super friendly. And of course there is the pie which really is top notch. There is a donation only hostel here which is a small hiker paradise. Hopefully the next section will be more actual trail as otherwise my feet might start a rebellion.