9/27 – The first part of New Mexico was surprisingly similar to Colorado. Or, at least, the very infrequent occations in Colorado when we were travelling at lower elevation along rolling hills and aspen in Colorado. The walking was easy and the weather was brilliant. Piercing sunshine and a fathomless blue sky above.
Unfortunately Mike hadn’t been feeling well since Pagosa Springs and in Chama he got even worse… it appeared to be giardia, the waterborn illness that’s fairly common among thru-hikers, who don’t always treat their water. At its worse giardia is completely debilitating with constant vomiting and diaorrhea, but thankfully Mike had a milder case and antibiotics ready. He began to feel better after taking them but wasn’t symptom free until after a few days. It’s pretty phenomenal he didn’t take any time off due to his illness!
On the 9/28 Dan began to feel fatigued and loose his appetite…. something very suspicious when you are burning 5,000 calories a day. By the evening of the 29th, as we began to descend from the mesa to the desert, he seemed to be feeling better. We camped only 3 miles from Ghost Ranch and as soon as we’d dropped in elevation the scenery changed dramatically. We were suddenly among sagebrush and cactus, nestled in a canyon of stratified red rock. And Dan’s stomach was also going through a dramatic change – he hadn’t slept because he felt nauseous and in the morning threw up several times. He barely managed to walk the 3 miles to Ghost Ranch, so upon arrival we decided to get a room so he could rest while we came up with a plan.