“There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive…” -Jack London
We have now perambulated more than 550 miles across New Mexico. It has been a beautiful trek, with the rugged arroyos, mesas, and desert plants like the many varied chollas, yuccas, rabbitbrush, sage and earlier; the pungent creote and scarlet, blossoming ocotillo flowers. We have crossed through two towns since my last update, Grants and Cuba. The different manuals and handbooks that we have been making an attempt to follow both warned hikers about some of the “shady” characters around the town of Cuba. I have to say the biggest joy and pleasure of this trip has been interacting with these colorful and proud people. They all seem to be down a little on their luck and homeless but in that I can see a nomadic kinship with them. In Cuba, we finished our much needed ablutions and had some very piquant victuals at El Bruno’s Mexican restaurant. Upon departing, one guy stopped us and insisted on blessing us before we left. Also in town, I met a full-blooded Navajo who invited us to a pow wow whereupon he wanted to slaughter a lamb on our behalf. This coming after getting to know and talking at length (ten hours of waiting outside a convenience store) to the homeless population in Deming on day one. The people of New Mexico have also been very nice and eager to help as far as hitchhiking. The only negative we have had have been a few paranoid ranchers as I mentioned in my last update. Speaking of victuals, I unfortunately ate way too many of them at Bruno’s and was only able to manage 8 miles up a 10,500 foot climb before having to camp early due to intense stomach pain. The next day we ran into some high snow drifts and a very soggy high mountain meadow. We are definitely getting closer to the snow melt and the border of Colorado. We may have to get a bit creative with avoiding these upcoming snow packs. Neither of us want to fork over 200+ bucks for snow shoes so we are looking into some alternative lower elevation trails. The late snowstorms this year in Colorado will definitely make our going a bit tougher for the next few weeks.
By all accounts I am doing great with still no blisters or remarkable foot pains. My shoes are about ready for a replacement and some new socks but other than that I have no complaints. Even a bad day out here is better than a stultifying and stressful job. Back in Laramie, I worked in rheology which is a branch of physics that studies the degradation of material. It has proven useful in things like observing how my shoes react to the constant stress and strain of hiking, my backpack, and less corporeal things like my daemon. The latter has come alive in anticipation of the Colorado mountains and respite from the lately unbearable high temperatures. Also if anybody is in Denver tonight at Bar Bar my brothers in Year of the Pig are rocking the good music. Miss you guys! -Skeeter