Day 35: Pie Town to Beaverhead Work Camp, 97.7 miles, 3,746 feet
Riding fully loaded with overnight gear, two days of food and 8L of water, I left earlier at 7am with the family still asleep at the Toaster House, hoping to use more daylight to cover the nearly 100 miles in store for today’s route.
I eased out onto rolling dirt roads through ranch land and pine forests, finishing most of the climbing before the temperatures and wind picked up mid-morning. I barely noticed two minor Continental Divide crossings, followed by a more sustained climb up to the day’s high point and divide crossing (#24) in the Glia National Forest.
After descending the moderate pass and crossing New Mexico State Highway 12, I emerged onto flat grazing land, and the wind started to pick up while the environment changed dramatically to big sky landscapes with hundreds of large grasshoppers, yellow flowers and cattle and windmills in the distance. I managed to find a suitable lunch spot to take a break from the wind at a cattle guard with a cement ledge to sit on, watching a variety of hunting pickup trucks and campers passing by.
Leaving the flats again, I climbed back up into the forests via the La Jolla Canyon (slight wind break!) for another divide crossing through pine forests, and then back down into the O-Bar-O Canyon where I met a herd of antelope running across the grasslands.
Thankfully, the day’s long distance passed through environments that were constantly changing, with pleasant riding and cool temperatures which helped the miles fly by.
I arrived feeling good at the USFS Beaverhead Work Center late in the afternoon, glad to fill up on water (I had drank 6L of my 8L), find a pit toilet, and options for informal camping nearby. As it was late in the season and a weekend, the place was mostly abandoned except for two staff from California, who were incredibly laid back and told me I was welcome to camp out anywhere.
I cooked all the food I had brought for dinner at I nearby bench, and laid out my groundsheet, pad and sleeping bag under the info board. I figured it wouldn’t be that cold and didn’t feel like rigging the fly tarp I had brought along in case of rain. I feel asleep to the sounds of elk bugles and a sky full of bright stars.