camping on the railroad

Parents, be prepared to censor your computer monitors because I’m about to talk about…poop. This morning it was so cold the ground was completely frozen and there was no way for me to dig a hole to bury my morning offering. Couldn’t even upturn a stone to make a hole, it was that solid. So I had to defecate on the surface like a common household pet.Now, before I get a storm of furious emails from all my numerous Trail Journal reader fans, let me address all three of you.

Eliminating waste is perfectly natural and I want to point out the famous children’s book ‘Everybody Poops’ as an example. Face it, you pooped this morning but flushed it away with perfectly good drinking water.With 23 miles to the road to town, I didn’t really expect to be here. I slept until 9am, took a lot of breaks to enjoy the scenery and meandered aimlessly across the trail-less landscape. There was enough food in my bag for another night out but because I knew it my feet had covered 20 miles and I figured I might as well do the other 3 since it was only 4:30pm. Got a fast hitch on that lonely road and was soon at the grocery store in Chama, New Mexico. Trail wise, I’m still in Colorado, but my hitchhike to town crossed the border into New Mexico where a man has the authority to buy bananas and bourbon with the same ten-dollar bill. Tomorrow I hitch back to Colorado to walk across the border, but tonight I’m in heaven.Restaurants are getting spendy and I know I’ll want a good breakfast so I ate canned beans for supper.   Nosed around town looking for a good urban stealth camp when I spied the old railroad. Abandoned cars? Why, I don’t mind if I do! Piled into an old rusty passenger car and spread out amongst the seats. So tonight I sleep over railroad tracks like a proper hobo and smell the old creosote fumes wafting from the floorboards. A hiker bum in an old railroad car; does it get any more romantic than that? This line is a restored steam engine route designed to take tourists up a narrow gauge railroad. Workers are out and about gearing up the lead unit and I hear the ol’ toot-toot of an ancient engine being prepped for tomorrows journey. To be stashed away in an abandoned piece of train history is more comforting than any 5 star resort, and I tip my hat to those who are out riding the rails while I’m out walking the trails. Kindred spirits indeed! I want to close with a favorite quote from Henry David Thoreau:’A Traveler. I love his title. A traveler is to be reverenced as such. His profession is the best symbol of our life. Going from – toward; it is the history of every one of us.’

  • Starting Location: sunny and COLD!
  • Destination: camping on the railroad


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