I have no idea why I lay awake half of last night, from 2:30 on. I kept assuming if I waited it out I’d eventually doze, but I guess I should have gotten up and been productive.
Luckily Murphy knew how to work the giant old percolator that lived on the stove, and he brewed a giant batch of good coffee. Prana and I filled out a questionnaire for my parents while sipping and chatting, and Frank and Frankie came in for some food and lovin’ – I was happy to oblige. Those cats are purring machines once you get ‘em going.
We did our check out chores and headed out around 10- everyone else was staying at least one more day, waiting on the snow, and even more so, waiting on the rumored bottleneck of hikers.
Prana and I walked to Smiths, found our few items for resupply, then collected smoothies and bagels and avocado and cauliflower dips for our brunch. Sitting on the concrete in front of the store, Murphy showed up, shopped, and then joined us, and a woman biking across the country added a lively conversation as well. Several people walking by asked a few questions and wished us well, quite heartily and sincerely.
For how bleak Grants is as a town, so many of the people here are really, really nice.
The conversations went a bit long before we were finally able to extract ourselves and take off, about 3 hours later than we’d planned to leave. At the dog park, last water in town, we were plied with more friendly conversations, and then we followed the carcasses and littered highway shoulder around a large prison to the Mt Taylor trailhead.
Well caffeinated and well soundtracked, we made 10 miles before our first break, despite the heat and despite 7 days’ worth of food in our packs. The breeze blew pleasant across the mesa, and we stopped to cook dinner at the edge of a cliffed ridge.
5 miles later we made the junction to the summit trail and an awesome camp in the pines in the last of the light.