Day 25 of hiking the CDT. Day off in Grants, NM

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Good places in Grants, which is not exactly a destination vacation spot: The Sands motel -1 block off Rt 66. Good Indian family eager to help. Washed and dried all our clothes for $10 cash. $50 room w/ 2 beds. Refused $$ after driving us to Walmart and waiting for a half hour as we resupplied. Convenience/ liquor store across street, excellent Mexican breakfast, and then lunch at El Cafecito- within eyesight. Railroad rumbles in the night, again. It’s a town of faded glory in the West.

I received a question from my faithful transcriber Clarkie, AKA John Clark, and decided to make that today’s post. Maybe it can generate more commments :

“Can you discuss the issues related to group hike vs individual hike?
For example, decision making involved in “hike your own hike” and starting whenever you want versus waiting for others; or vice versa, hurrying to keep up or leave with others. What level of concern does MeGaTex have when you write for instance on Day 23, May 9: “Still no Patburglar sightings.” Is their a faith that everything will work out in time?
While through hikers may all know these ethics, many of us who are not long distance hikers might be enlightened with this information.”

My answer:
We are at the same time concerned about everybody else and also not overly concerned if a break in the group occurs.
Regarding Patburglar, he’s a unique very capable hiker who started a different route (Crazy Cook) from us (Columbus) on this hike. He joined us through the Gila portion and somewhere here in Grants today who has chosen to embrace the ultralight philosophy to the max and understands that by forwarding his phone north to Chama, he has made it more difficult to stick with the group, and he’s apparently fine with it. He has our numbers if he wants to call and coordinate the next leg to Cuba 112 miles away. I personally miss hiking with Pat, but am not worried at all about his ability to take care of himself out there. He’s very skilled at surviving difficult situations.
Me Ga Tex and other solo hikers fit together easily. So many great trail relationships continue from individual contacts: Boat, Dreams, Psycho and Apricots come to mind from the PCT’s 2010 hike.
There is no distinction as to who is joining who, either. I recall the most powerful presences on the PCT and think of Boat, now a Triple Crowner, after his solo CDT northbound hike of last year. He allowed us to join him, and we shared his company for a time northward from California as long as you were willing to rise at daybreak to walk with him. MeGaTex is open to sharing campsites and meals as well as the tread with any hikers.
That being said, it is common to split up for a day or more and reunite with this group if one so chooses. It requires strong compromises to move a group along the CDT.
On the AT, hundreds of shelter registers allow the whole shifting cast of characters to keep track of one another. Even if one only stops at a shelter for a snack, a quick entry can be made, like “Passin’ thru” with time, date, and name. Word travels up and down the trail due the thousands of hikers who travel the AT. This allows one to ascertain how much work it will take to reunite with someone ahead. You simply do the math and figure it out.
It’s was harder on the PCT due to no shelters and no registers. Despite that MegaTex started, and finished on the same day, and managed to communicate barely enough to hold the group, there were periods where each individual member was indeed separated and it will happen here too. Moving on seems to be the norm, and fact be told, this Trailjournal serves as a focus point to pinpoint the general group’s progress. Phone numbers and emails help too, when you can get a connection, and Verizon rules here. Louis has an AT&T account and he hasn’t been able to get one bit of service so far.
The CDT will turn out to be a tougher situation for stragglers. No shelters, no registers, no agreed upon route, no towns to rally around ( it has been close to 350 miles since we have been able to enjoy a motel). Also very little capability to make phone calls or send texts or emails. There have been reports of former CDT hikers who never encountered other thru hikers on the whole trail, and these are recent reports.
Pat called Breeze a few minutes ago, he decided to head out today, on his own. That’s the way it rolls. Likely we may see him again, though. I hope so, we need all the help we can get to keep steady northward momentum.

When I finish hiking, all my focus will shift back to the blog again. Hold on! In the meantime, go to my daily Trailjournal and follow the adventure.
My Trailjournal site is http://www.trailjournals.com/tjamrogCDT/

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About tjamrog

I'm sixty-seven and live in the Maine woods. I thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2007, the Pacific Crest Trail in 2010, Vermont's Long Trail in 2011, and the Continental Divide Trail in 2013 . I am outdoors every day. I offer guided backpacking trips and classes in Maine, through "Uncle Tom's Guided Adventures".
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