4 weeks to the date of my getting out of the woods, I was back in the happy place, where Larry and I both belong - mountains. Pecos Wilderness is the biggest in NM and in our home considered to be Larry's playground. He's explored it a few times when lived in Albuquerque for a year over a decade ago, and then twice took his son there. It is also the closest in driving time to our middle-of-no-fun-land home, all of 11 hrs. With that, at around 12 pm on Thursday, after arriving to Santa Barbara campground and quickly setting up a tent to stake the spot, we were on our way into the woods.
After not the most exciting first 5 miles out of the camp (which Larry said we'd have to do all over on the way back, and repeat tomorrow, and probably the day after), we still were breathing dry air - dry in more ways then altitude of over 9,000 at the start, it also was sunshine! - and hiking the single track, reminiscing on his previous trips here, jumping over creeks, and discussing if we should try and find an unmarked long-unused path to one of those peaks.
On the way down we were both hit with the altitude sickness. Even though we haven't reached far above 11,200 feet or so, the sudden jump from a sea level, coupled with poor hydration and calorie consumption, wasn't cutting us any slack. With 15 miles and just a tad over 6 hrs of hiking, we got back, to recoup, finish setting up, and spending an evening in the woods.
And what a luxury camping is a real campsite felt to me like! A huge area for the tent, a table, a fire pit (where I gave Larry a lesson on striking a good fire:)), a water spigot - and a sleeping pad, bigger tent than one I carry, and a bunch of other tiny, but oh, so cute add-on's! After dinner (Ramen noodles, of course), we stared at the dancing fire until it was smoldering, and got into our tent for a night of sleep.
Friday was to be The Big Day - big miles, and at least one 13-er! Those first 5 miles, again, went uneventful, as we started to climb gently switchbacks soon.
We then rolled through some no-name town of Mora, where Larry surprised me with his love and knowledge of my wishes - he dug out some information that Mora has a non-profit organization raising Alpaca, goats and sheep, collecting their own wool, spinning it on the local mill, hand-dying it, and selling for pennies! I got ALL that for $40!