September 13 – At dawn, we left Grants toward Pietown. The riding was great, although our day was long. We rode nearly 72 miles. We passed over our 20th, 21st and 22nd Continental Divide crossings.
Because we were riding early in the days, we were treated to a lot of wildlife activity. We saw several elk and were finally able to snag a picture as it ran away.
El Malpais Wilderness is beautiful. There are some great geologic formations including arches, huge sand stone cliffs and freestanding sand stone sculptures.
We checked into PIetown in mid-afternoon. Lunch at the Gathering Place, including a huge dose of pie was excellent! We were treated to a tour of the old town by a local, Nita, who runs a hiker/biker hostel. There is a windmill museum, and Pietown is home to one of the 27 radio telescopes that make of the Very Large Array.
September 14 – Again at dawn, we loaded up and headed out of Pietown. We are riding big days, 72.44 today, as we are anxious to be home.
We rode past several small extinct volcanos. Some of these have been eroded so that all that stands is the stone center cone.
We saw a huge herd of pronghorn antelope today. We thought it might be elk, so we stopped for photos, but they appear to be antelope.
From time to time, we come across old buildings. This one seemed unique. It is make with stacked stones, and the stones are packed with mud.
We followed afternoon monsoon rains which stretched out ahead, just like every afternoon. The clouds cause the wind to start at about noon and linger into the late afternoon.
We crossed Continental Divide crossings numbers 23 – 27 today. This means there were many climbs!
September 15 – We have many more miles to ride, and the itch for our own bed grows stronger. Thus, we made our first Continental Divide crossing of the day (#28) before dawn. It was too dark for me to be visible in the photo!
A few miles later, after the sun came up, we rode with 4 horses that came out to greet us on the trail. After saying hello, they returned to their pasture and we rode on for miles!
High on a hillside, we saw elk or pronghorn running from the noise of an approaching vehicle.
The trail snaked through grasslands once roamed by the likes of Billy the Kid. I could imagine the historic travelers though this valley.
Finally, after 84 miles and our 29th and 30th divide crossings, we stopped for the night in Lake Roberts. The evening was capped with the view of feeding hummingbirds.
September 26 – Today was a beautiful ride … It was also comparatively short at 30.21 miles. We rode through the Gila National Forest. It has to be on of the most beautiful forest I have ever been. The sun shining through the pines is incredible.
There was some climbing, but it gave us beautiful views ….
….. And our 31st Continental Divide crossing.
We have arrived in Silver City, the old haunt of Billy the Kid!
We have almost completed our journey. Life is great!