CDT 2021: Day 25, Nero Day in Grants

Shine your shoes, light your fuse

Walking to Grants, New Mexico

I'm convinced that choosing the correct shoe is the single most important decision a long-distance hiker can make. I have seen many hikers who were unable to finish a hike because of injuries to their feet or legs caused by a wrong choice.

Selecting the correct shoe can also be the most difficult decision to make. It's an individual decision. What works for me might be horrible for you.

I've probably spent more money on shoes than on any other piece of hiking gear. I know I've had more frustration with my choices.

I've tried nearly every type of hiking footwear made. Many times I thought I had the perfect pair, only to discover after a few miles or many miles that they didn't work as well as I had hoped.

In truth, I'm still looking for the perfect shoes. They probably don't exist.

DateFriday, May 7, 2021
WeatherPartly cloudy sky with a high temperature in the low-80s
Trail ConditionsAsphalt highway with a narrow shoulder
Today's Miles5.2
Trip Miles378.3

For now, HOKA Speedgoat 4s are working well for me. I especially appreciate that they come in a wide width. When I needed to buy a new pair while on the trail, I didn't want to switch to something else when I knew these worked.

After walking in the same pair for two-thirds of my Benton MacKaye Trail thru-hike and nearly 400 miles of the Continental Divide Trail, it was definitely time for a new pair. The REI clerk who helped me last night was impressed I got as many miles out of that pair as I did.

I was grateful when my friend Mark offered to bring Zigzag and me to Albuquerque because that finally gave me a chance to buy another pair. The purchase was a little more difficult than expected when the shoes I ordered online didn't arrive at the store yesterday, but all was sorted out today.

Zigzag and I were relaxing at Mark's house while he did some work when I received a message saying my order had arrived at the Albuquerque REI store.

HOKA Speedgoat 4 shoes

When Mark was finished with his work, we went to lunch and then to REI to pick up the shoes that I ordered and return the shoes I bought as a backup.

The only issue I had with the new pair was the color combination. The color of my previous shoes wasn't available, so I had to go with a pair in bright red and blue with a yellow accent. The shoes made me think of circus colors.

The fit was the same, though, and that's what matters. To be sure, they won't remain shiny bright for long.

Gravity, Mark, and Zigzag

Mark dropped us off at the Subway shop where we ended our hike the day before yesterday. After thanking him for being such a good host and trail angel, we resumed our walk at 2:30 p.m.

On the highway outside of Grants, New Mexico

We needed to walk 5.2 miles of the trail today, plus another mile to reach our hotel. The distance was all on asphalt highways. At least this time, there was a small shoulder to walk on instead of just the side of the traffic lane.

I noticed right away a big difference my new shoes made. They were the same shoe I had before, but now I had a spring to my step, which I had long lost as the soles wore down.

I cruised down the road comfortably. I was carrying a full pack with more than five full days of food but didn't mind the weight.

As we approached the town, a man driving by stopped and asked us if we needed anything. He seemed to be knowledgeable about the trail and didn't think we were lost.

Junkyard on 66 Brewery

The walk was made even better when we arrived at the brewery we attempted to visit yesterday. It was open today.

Doggone and Thirteen

When we walked in, we were pleased to find Doggone and Thirteen were there.

Junkyard on 66 Brewery was located in a former auto salvage lot, and the owner has tried to stay true to that. The tables were made from the hoods or tailgates of pickup trucks. Tap handles at the bar were made from engine pistons.

Zigzag and I enjoyed a dinner of smoked brisket with lagers before walking the rest of the way to our hotel.

We'll be back tomorrow to a full day of hiking, though once again it will include a long section of road walking.

Shine your shoes, light your fuse
Can you use them old U.S. Blues
I'll drink your health, share your wealth
Run your life, steal your wife


"Nothing to tell now. Let the words be yours, I'm done with mine."ref.