"8228" - U.S. 360 Day 17 from Kingston NM to Silver City NM
My cycling journey around the American perimeter
49 miles – Total so far: 882 miles
Emory Pass, at 8,228 feet above sea level, was the goal. It took me two hours, eight miles, and a 2,000 ft climb to reach it. Grades of 4-11% dominated the first part of the ride, up the Black Mountains. At this first destination, the wind howled and the temperature dropped. As I was taking some pictures of the panoramic views and catching my breath, a young hiker with full gear emerged out of the forest. Ryan (pictured below) introduced himself and we had a good conversation. Ryan hails from Seattle and is obviously a seasoned hiker. He is seven days into a three-month hike along the Continental Divide Trail, from Mexico to Canada. Last year he completed the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada. It’s always amazing to run into these resilient, adventurous folks.
Coming off of the high elevation point on the Southern Tier, I expected a nice descent. Unfortunately, after a few miles, I was climbing again, before a final descent into San Lorenzo. Continuing on, I was greeted with another long, 1000 ft ascent out of San Lorenzo. Seemed like the rest of the journey into Silver City was up and down. For much of the day, I was either spinning in low gears up the mountains, or hanging on for dear life coming down. I have heard from others that the total climb on this particular leg of the journey is well over 4500 feet over the 50 mile stretch, and my body, for the first time, is feeling it.
The landscape was beautiful mountain country today. Lots of pine trees, lots of rocks, and lots of switch-back curves. One fascinating scene was the Santa Rita open-pit copper mine. The mine was first opened in 1909 and for years it was the largest in the world. Apaches and Spaniards have both obtained native copper and copper ore from this site.
Passed through areas with very limited services today, including San Lorenzo, Santa Clara, and finally Silver City. I didn’t see other cyclists, but as I mentioned earlier, I did run into a hiking equivalent! Wildlife sightings included a number of huge mule deer.
A less challenging ride tomorrow to Buckhorn, passing over the Continental Divide. A shout-out to my middle son J.R., who’s senior prom is tonight in Austin. I love you son.
It’s All Good.
Photo of the Day: My new friend Ryan, hiking the Continental Divide
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