13. La Famille Hefti
Right @ Chama

Right @ Chama

Chama, New Mexico is a tiny little town in Northern New Mexico that we had never really seen until this past trip. We always drove just up to Chama, then turned left, stopped at the gas station for gasoline fill-up and propane top-off, and continued on to Colorado.

This time, we turned right.

And we discovered a quaint, train-themed downtown (Chama’s claim to fame is the Cumbres & Toltec scenic train tour), and beyond, absolutely stunning low mountain, cliff bands, aspens, and lush green everywhere. What a beautiful area!

The goal for this trip was to ride with our neighbor Lee and his girlfriend Kiersten on different sections of the Continental Divide Trail (CDT). Lee’s “Covid Project” is to ride the entire length of the CDT in Northern New Mexico, one section at a time, from where the trail crosses into New Mexico from Colorado on down to our home town of Los Alamos.

Following a forest road to “the pin” that Lee gave us for camp, we discovered our way was blocked by a gate. Oddly enough, the forest road ended at a very large, private ranch.
Time to turn around and figure out Plan B.
Don’t know what the original camp spot would have been like had we been able to access it, but our Plan B spot was absolutely spectacular! Up on a little hill overlooking a lush valley below dotted with little islands of pine trees, camp offered amazing views and made us feel like royalty for the weekend.
Lee & Kiersten arrive shortly and camp is secured. Couldn’t ask for a more scenic happy hour spot.
Our typical set-up: camp blanket, Matchbox cars, many books, etch-a-sketch, and the good old outdoors. During this trip Hugo really started reading!! So exciting! I wrote works on the etch-a-sketch and he would tell me each letter and then sound them out: P-I-G, B-I-R-D, C-A-R, C-A-T, etc. He would also spell out words that I would say (without seeing the word, just by be saying the word and then each letter slowly). So proud of him!
CDT Day 1: let’s ride! I take the first lap with Lee and Kiersten. We head south from camp and enjoy an 18-mile 1,200 foot elevation gain ride complete with lightning, rain, and one giant elk.
This section of the CDT was extremely rideable and fun! Technical in spots due to blocky rocks, but overall very enjoyable and doable!
At the rocky ridge line section
Almost back to camp, we ran into a flock of sheep..oh where, oh where are the sheep dogs?
There they are. Two Great Pyrenees (the typical mountain sheep guard dogs) show themselves and carefully take measure of us. We were deemed “ok” and were escorted past the sheep. We got off of our bikes and walked slowly past the sheep. The dogs walked behind us, making sure all was well.
A wonderful welcome back to camp after a long ride.
Lee shows some mad wheelie skills upon returning to camp. Great first day!
Day two: Lee, Kiersten and St├ęphane take on the CDT north from camp, all the way to the Colorado border and back. Today’s route includes 20+ miles and 3,000+ feet of elevation gain. A big day.
Beautiful trail.
All along the Continental Divide Trail these little blue signs are posted. This is so you can ensure you’re still ON the right trail.
Exploring down the hill from camp – looking for fish in the creek.
Hugo helping me break down camp – here he is cranking up the camper legs. I just had to get them “started” and he cranked the rest of the way up – all four! Nice work Hugster!

We also met a father-son duo on the trail. On day two they stopped by camp and to chat and we discovered that Chris (dad) and son (Bowe) lived in Marly, Switzerland – twenty minutes from where St├ęphane grew up!! They now live in Taos and we hope to meet up with them again for some climbing adventures soon. What a small world.

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