The Fearless Bus has had the good fortune to stumble upon some real gems for hikers and campers alike this spring. While Jaco and I await Papa Crunch to get from Mt. Taylor to Cuba, NM, we are staying at a hiker camp/hostel called Rebels Roost. It's right along the highway after you pass through the town of Cuba. Now, you wouldn't know what it was unless you were privy to some hiker intel. We had never heard of Rebels Roost until we ran into another hiker at Toaster House (Pie Town). We looked it up and found a facebook thread that the owner had posted in one of the CDT hiking groups.
The owner, Vince K., is amazing. When you first pull in the large yard - it looks like it once might have included a horse pasture - you notice a large shed with gorgeous paintings gracing the sides. Upon closer inspection, you note the large water barrel with attached shower head. It's a solar shower for his hikers! After that, there may be a welcoming committee of Vince himself or Vince with his dogs Flaka and Truncho. Vince is the quietest of the three.
Over the days that I have been camped at the far end of the yard, I don't believe I've ever seen the owner stop moving. Vince is a true entrepreneur and is in constant motion with all of his projects. This hiker camp seems to be a labor of love, the result of a decision to do something for and enjoy the people he digs the most, hikers. His artwork, furniture building, Tiny House construction, and new Coffee Shop trailer all add to the experience of Rebels Roost. Oh, he was also working on his green house and I saw tomato plants being moved about the area. They were already three feet tall!
I got a chance to sit Vince down for just a few minutes to find out more about the camp. Vince had been engaged in travel, taking himself and his dogs the length of North American, from Vancouver to Mexico. He said he made the decision not to return to his home town of Durango, CO as it was costly and one gets the impression it might be too crowded for his tastes. The land that became Rebels Roost was owned and lived on by his grandparents who have both now passed. His grandparents had operated a timber business on the site. Vince now has access to some extraordinary wood that he uses to construct his artistic tables and decorative pieces. You can tell he loves the place.
When you talk to Vince you can see the excitement in Vince's face when he describes his future plans for Rebels Roost. I'm not going to give away state secrets, but the plans include sustainability, several tiny homes on site, and the newest business, the Coffee Shop. At the time I interviewed Vince, a shipment of tea from Paris had just come in that afternoon. It smelled divine. There are other magical and mysterious structures being built so stay tuned.
As of right now, there is a large area for tent camping in the yard with access to picnic table, fire pit, firewood, games, and camp chairs. He sometimes welcomes guests into his home and allows us to access a clean shower with all the accouterments needed. During the season, Vince has hosted movie nights and cooking in his kitchen.
Water is an enormous issue for New Mexico at any time and this winter and spring have been especially dry. Vince does his best to collect what water there is, however, every forecast of rain dries up before the rain ever arrives. But there is wind, lots of wind and sun. The sustainability and off-grid life will mostly be provided by wind and solar power. He shares his strong conviction that this is something everyone should be looking into - along with growing our own food.
Rebels Roost does not charge campers but donations are welcome. There is a hiker box and I believe you can drop or send a resupply box. Hikers can find a power outlet outside and well as in the house so charging devices is not a problem. I'm sorry I won't be here for the launch of the Coffee Shop trailer, however, I am already making plans to bring Patrick through here when he returns to complete his Pie Town to Lordsburg SOBO segment to complete the CDT. Vince is already accomplishing what we dream of for the future. Hosting hikers at Rebels Roost supports the belief that the trail and the wilderness are worth preserving for generations to come.
Smell you on the trail.