Wind buffets the tent in the night. A few fat rain drops plop down now and then. The morning light shows dark storm clouds whipping by overhead. I have seen enough photos of drive trains clogged with New Mexico mud to be wary.
But, the clouds aren’t consistent and the rain is intermittent. We decide to go for it and pack up. 20 minutes later I gaze at the sky again and all my confidence goes out the window. The sky is a consistent dark metal gray.
What to do. Go back to the safety of pavement, or go forward and gamble with the dirt.
We go forward, and New Mexico rewards us. Enchanted forests of evergreens, groves of aspen. Tyndall finds mushrooms that look like inky caps, but without a local expert or guidebook, we leave them behind.
The rain finally catches us just as we turn onto paved Highway 64. We road climb as fancy, expensive cars whiz by in the other direction. Amanda catches up and we find a picnic shelter to regroup in. Instead of a campsite, we find camp host Sarah. She offers us water, beer, edibles and a spot on her sofa inside her trailer. We pass the rest of the afternoon laughing and talking. As the sun sinks and the rain clouds pass, we return to the picnic shelter for food and sleep. One beer on an empty stomach has us all a bit giggly.
It doesn’t rain all night, so we figure the roads are dry enough to make a go for Abiquiu. Only a couple small ascents stand between us and a real meal. Ready, set, go.
New Mexico is rugged, but it rewards.