So that’s all folks! Thanks for reading my gibberish, and thanks for signing my guestbook. I hope you were able to follow my trip and enjoy the highs and lows along with me. Any future hikers who are reading this for research can feel free to contact me with questions I didn’t answer here. This was a new experience for me.
- Starting Location: Mexico
- Destination: back to normal
Took off cross country to ease the boredom of those blasted roads and got tore up in the spiny undergrowth. Not as pleasant as coffee in the morning but it sure does wake you up fast. Waves of grasshoppers sprung up as I walked and they fluttered around, often right into me. Cows looked on as I flailed at the air and stumbled around cactus.Into Hachita! All the stores are closed in this tiny town, but one building had a handpainted sign advertising cold soda pop. I peered in the open door and saw an ancient man sleeping in a recliner chair, but I couldn’t bear to wake him up. Swung by the P.O. and met the nicest postmaster I’ve ever encountered! Mailed home my stove and water filter and left some food in their hiker stash. The postmaster offered use of their phone and insisted that I use her calling card even though I tried to use mine. What a fantastic person.Onto the home stretch. Walked highway 81 south for 10 miles until I cut cross country to a windmill for water. Headed through the brush, crossing many cow paths before crossing a cow path with a CDT blaze! What luck to find that blaze in this maze. Eventually got to an old dirt road and headed on down. A rumble behind me turned out to be a 4×4 pickup truck rushing down this bumpy, eroded path. I couldn’t believe they were driving so fast on this road and wondered what the rush was. One minute later a caravan of three box trucks, so top heavy with tarp covered loads they were pitching like boats at sea, came barreling down upon me. Holy cats, what was going on? They were going so fast, bouncing so violently in the ruts and potholes I thought for sure they would tip over. I’m 10 miles from the border in the middle of nowhere; they’re probably delivering pizza. Instead of simply following highway 81 to Antelope Wells I decided to hike the CDTA “Crazy Cook” route. Ending at a manned border crossing held little appeal and I wanted my finish to be quiet and alone. This means I have a long hike to a road to hitch out of here, but whats a few more miles after you just walked from Canada? I’ll complete this journay tomorrow at the border in solitude. Like every other thru hike I’ve done, I’ll walk to the terminus alone. (hours later..) Sleep evades me. I’m chain-smoking and sipping cheap bourbon from an old soda bottle. This is my last evening on the CDT, the last night to watch the stars and feel the dirt under my bed until next year. Tasting freedom, no…wallowing in it for over 4 months, and now it comes to an end. How else could I feel? How could I not want this night to last forever?
- Starting Location: CDT
- Destination: CDT
Not every day of a long distance hike is full of excitement and daredevil thrills. Some days are actually kind of dull, and today was one of those days. I walked the dirt road that serves as the trail for over 20 miles, just watching the sun move across the sky and sending an occasional jackrabbit bounding for space not occupied by me. Big black beetles crept in the sand and a dry wind blasted across the treeless landscape. I stopped to cook at a water tank and the wind blew a bunch of crunchy grit into my mac-n-cheese. Delicious.Finally got to the “town” of Separ, which consists of absolutely nothing but one tourist orientated truck stop. It sold fireworks, fake Native American trinkets and random junk food. Loaded up on microwave burritos and was shocked to note they contained 1000 calories each. Regular people eat this stuff? If you’re not hiking and burning 6000 calories a day, one lousy burrito would be half of your daily caloric intake! The guy in front of me in line bought two, but I declined to point out my dietary discovery. His XXXXL sweatpants looked kinda baggy anyway.Opened up my backpack and there on my white Tyvek ground cloth was a shiny black spider the size of a quarter. I flicked it out and noticed the red hourglass on it’s abdomen; a black widow! I’d been carrying a venomous spider in my bag for who knows how long. I thought my pack felt kinda heavy…and poisony!Hiked until 9pm, navigating under the light of the moon. Without the blazing sun and fierce wind it was a pleasant stroll and I enjoyed startling the sleeping cows. Enjoy your freedom, you bovines, because you will soon be tucked away in a 1000 calorie burrito! Poor animals. I’m getting hungry for tofu.
- Starting Location: middle of nowhere
- Destination: Separ
Hey y’all! I know it’s been awhile since I rapped at ya, but I’ve been busy. After meeting trail angel Nita in Pie Town and eating some of her famous pie at the Pie-O-Neer restaurant I mailed a post card to Grants with a water report for those hikers behind me. At the post office I ran into Francis Tapon who I had met on the PCT last year. He is doing a yo-yo hike, which means he started in Mexico on April 6th, hiked to Canada, and then hiked south back towards Mexico! We left town together and hiked for about 5 days as partners. This guy gets up at 6am and hikes ’til 9 or 10pm, so I just fell into his crazy schedule and kept up with his frantic pace. Francis is a great guy and excellent company so it was worth doing big mile days to stay together. What brilliant conversation! Unfortunately I had no time to write any journal entries, so here is a recap of those lost days.The highlight was definitely the Gila River and its amazing scenery. The trail swings back and forth, following the deep gorge and crossing the river about 100 times since the steep banks won’t allow the trail to stay on one side. Route finding was easy, just follow the river! Willow thickets and briar patches made for interesting bushwhacking!Francis is notorious for losing gear on his hikes and I was amazed to hear his long list of lost items. His bad luck must me catching because during one long, twisting bushwhack I lost my trusty umbrella! Retracing my steps was impossible, it was gone forever. Still don’t understand how it got pulled out of my backpack.Since Francis wants to end at Colombus we parted ways when the trail split, and I headed to Antelope Wells instead. A long boring roadwalk got me to Silver City and I contacted Erika, a friend of a friend who turned out to be a really awesome local who let me crash at her house. This town is fantastic! A co-op grocery, brewery, and people building mutant bicycles. I felt right at home. Tall bikes in New Mexico!
- Starting Location: CDT
- Destination: CDT
32-mile road walk along a dusty lane. Ugh. Hot, dry, and the water sources I was depending on were gone. Two guys gave me some fruit, another fella gave me Clif Bars and juice, and then I began to pantomime with my empty bottle to cars and got water that way. Pathetic, but I was desperate.Rolled into Pie Town and went to the Toaster House, the home of local trail angels. Nobody home so I went to camp in the park. This is the tiniest town; 2 pie restaurants, a post office, and a few homes.
- Starting Location: enjoying the desert
- Destination: Pie Town…really!
I don’t know why I enjoy the desert so much. You’d think a fat kid from the Midwest would just shrivel up and die out here, but I relish the uniqueness of it all. Today I saw wild turkeys, snakes, a majestic natural stone arch, and a tarantula. Bushwhacked up to the rim of a canyon to try and stay off the infernal road walk and was rewarded with excellent views. Found a slow turning windmill that wasn’t pumping out water, but it’s collection tank was full so I just drank the murky green water. After my thirst was quenched a wind picked up, sending the windmill blades spinning and a flood of fresh water out of a pipe. Impeccable timing. I don’t get many vegetables out here so I guess the green water was a healthy substitute.My trusty tennis shoes are now too small for my feet. I was hoping their tightness was due to being new, but I’ve been tromping around in them since Ghost Ranch and my toes are getting squashed. This isn’t good. Size 13 is the highest common shoe size readily available and if I have to go bigger, that means special ordering my footwear from now on. Lovely. Maybe I can amputate a few toes to get these hooves down to a normal size? Ah, now that would be ultra light! As Ray Jardine says, ‘A toe on your foot is like six in your pack.’
- Starting Location: Zuni Canyon
- Destination: enjoying the desert
Good grief! I gotta get out of here! I cleaned up the floor and got my bounce box from the post office. Enough! I mailed everything in it home. No more will I be a slave to the tyranny of our mail carriers and their ludicrous hours.Got 3 liters of water and started walking. Right before a notoriously dry desert section…I blame Teen Wolf for influencing the terrible decision.Zuni Canyon was nice, even if it was on a road. The reported water sources were dry and I didn’t find anything until a windmill 20 miles from today’s start. I still had a liter of water in my pack! Filled up and hiked into El Malpais, a jumble of volcanic madness. Finally found a spot to camp free of volcanic rock and the thunderstorm I’d been eyeballing all day finally hit. Crash, flash, and a spit of rain before it blew over.
- Starting Location: forced zero day – ug!
- Destination: Zuni Canyon
Packed up my gear and flipped on the Weather Channel to see what I should anticipate. Some rain is forecasted this week, which is actually nice for the desert since cloud cover keeps you from sweating too much. Then I heard the announcer say something about Columbus Day…oh crap! I need to hit the post office but they are closed today! Darn you, Christopher Columbus and your federal building-closing holiday. Why didn’t you stay in Spain instead of ‘discovering’ this continent? You brought a imperialistic culture to this land, complete with genocide for the natives, and now the post offices are closed.Another forced zero day on trial. I ponied up for another night in the motel and hit an all you can eat Chinese buffet. Then I celebrated Columbus Day by lounging naked on the bed all day. The History Channel had a program on the production of beer, and then I caught Teen Wolf on the American Movie Channel. I had forgotten what a cinematic masterpiece this film was. Michael J. Fox break dancing in a werewolf suit and slam-dunking basketballs is impressive but that’s no reason for me to be jumping on the bed like a spazz. I was praying that Weird Science or Ferris Buehler’s Day Off would come on next, but they followed Teen Wolf with Indecent Proposal! I scanned the phone book, hell bent on calling the television programmers to voice my complaint, but found the pizza section first and was distracted into ordering food instead.
- Starting Location: more ramblings
- Destination: forced zero day – ug!
Eight short miles across New Mexico’s crumbly geography got me to a road, a paved road. Once in town I splurged and took advantage of the notoriously cheap hotels and paid for a room. I know, blasphemy! There were so many bushes to sleep in.I’d like to comment a tad more regarding yesterdays’ scribblings. Pull up your chairs and remember…Remember! Remember our history. Remember the history of cowboys, trappers, and miners. Those folks who made and lived a past we romanticize today. Did they work a full year, in cubicles, saving for 401K’s? Did they burden themselves with possessions? Of course not! Yesterday’s heroic figures worked as long as they needed to – to build a grubstake of savings and then to wander the majestic lands of America. You think my wanderlust is some hippy bs? My friend, you have grown cold to reality if you think that, and all I’m doing is living – all I’m doing is the same our ancestors did. I’m living more parallel to your historic heroes, yet I’m the bum?Obviously I’m out of control. I’m in town…excuses, excuses. Like a voice crying out form the wilderness I whisper…shhhhh….
- Starting Location: planning the next hike already
- Destination: more ramblings