Section 10: Rio Grande Village to Langtry

 

Day 122

9 miles

 

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Well we did it. Dryden take-out here we come. Nikki may actually make it back to her vehicle and catch her flight home to Colorado. It’s been eight days of nonstop go, go, go, early mornings and short breaks, but we have loved every second of it.

 

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The daily grind of hiking was broken up by Nikki’s departure and the arrival of new friends. The canyon walls shrunk until the terrain came smoothly down to the water and tamarisk trees replaced some of the dense cane creating a flimsy forest. There was more space in the tamarisk, though we still found ourselves crawling through some tight spots.

Many of the crawl spaces below the branches and bushes were covered in piles of animal turds. Something’s litter box?

 

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We were sliding midway down a chute through the cane when we found an old, yellow rope laying on the ground. Discarded jackets and clothes were everywhere. More signs of people passing through. We can’t understand the pattern!

 

This picture does not do Nikki's war scars justice. She was covered in scratches after eight days in river cane and mesquite. She's the best!    

This picture does not do Nikki's war scars justice. She was covered in scratches after eight days in river cane and mesquite. She's the best!

 

Zak, Corey and Sarah had made it to the take out about 15 minutes before us and brought us in with cheers and hugs. Claire’s mama was here! And Zak and Corey with a small grant for filming! We unloaded the boats to begin the arduous task of sorting everything out and repacking with the new food and Sarah’s gear. Nobody was in too much of a rush. Zak and Corey had brought homemade biscotti from Keith, a river guide in Langtry who would be helping us in a couple days at the end of the river trip. Yum! We were especially distraught to lose Nikki, and did our best to procrastinate on her departure. All too soon it was time and she ceremonially handed off her life jacket to Sarah. Nikki! You are gone but never forgotten!

 

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Time for some quick filming with Zak and Corey. We loaded our brand new Osprey backpacks with empty water jugs to make them look full and climbed to the top of a scenic ridge along the road. Because Osprey has provided the funding for the video, we will have to make sure to always be wearing their packs during filming (tricky since we don’t usually carry them while hiking along the river). We felt like movie stars as Corey and Zak directed us through several shots. Corey had even brought a drone, which filmed us from above as we climbed back down. So cool! We watched the footage right after and all agreed it could have belonged in Lord of the Rings.

 

And we’re off! Now that Sarah was here we didn’t need to help with the boats and could both concentrate on walking. We found a road that ran parallel to the river above the cliffline. Corey walked with us while Zak managed their duckies and gear from the river. As usual it was a lot of fun to hang with Corey and catch up on his photo shoot adventures.

He might be going to Antarctica to film ice for a week! How cool is that?!

 

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The road was easy but the ground was covered in the most vicious and maddening dog cholla. It looks like a tuft of grass from above and it hooks into anything that touches it. We had to use rocks to gently pry them off, trying our hardest not to embed them further. They created a mine field of potential missteps and none of us escaped their wrath. While lowering herself down a ledge Claire accidentally sat on one prompting a very painful extraction that Tenny was decent enough to assist with. Ouch!

 

When the road ended we scoured the cliffs for a way down, settling on a narrow shoot riddled with scrappy brush. Poor Corey, with no ease-in forced to crawl on hands and knees down a crack that we only hoped had a bottom. We passed our gear down one backpack at a time while thorns did their best to halt our advance. The boaters lounged in the grass, waiting for our descent from across the river. It felt like a party on the river bank when we finally reached them. So many people. Gotta keep moving though.

 

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We showed Corey the cliffs, shall we show him the cane?

It wasn't too awful, there was space to pass through and it was interesting, with more signs of people. Under a cliff overhang, on the Mexican side, a camp had been set up in the dingy low hanging space. Sleeping bag, blankets, food. Hopefully Corey got some good footage of the day.

 

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