Date- October 17, 2019
Location- Side of highway
Distance Traveled Today- 28 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 2,303.4
Weather/Temp- Some clouds, 60s
Pain level- zero
Spirits/Morale- Damn roads
Wildlife encounters- prairie dogs, gopher snake
Days without shower- 1
Days without laundry- 1
Uggghhh, today was road-a-rific. Not! I was up, out, and walking down the road by 7:45 am. I stopped at a Subway to have breakfast, then stopped and had a Gatorade at a gas station about 5 miles further on. After that, it was just desolate desert highway with no shoulder. Thankfully it wasn’t super busy.
The highlight of my entire day was finding a baby gopher snake on the side of the road and relocating it to safety. That was it. The rest of the day was spent zoning out on my audio book, a few podcasts, and trying not to get greased by semi trucks. BTW, the current book is: “The Road to Wigan Pier,” by George Orwell.
I stopped by a ranger station in the middle of the Acona Reservation and had a light lunch and refilled my water before hitting the pavement again around 1:30 pm.
The redeeming factor of the day was the sheer canyon walls I walked along for several miles. They were the only real “views” I got today. I tried to pet a cow that had its head stuck through barbed wire, while trying to graze on the other side of the fence. Unfortunately (for the cow) – I only succeeded in giving it a heart attack when it noticed me approaching from the road.
A Sweet Spot to Stop
As the day wore on, I wanted to get 30 miles or better. With only a couple miles left to reach 30, I could probably see about 5 miles down the road through the open desert. There was literally nothing. No trees…nothing. However, there was a small cluster of random baby conifers a couple hundred feet to the west of the road, behind a barbed wire fence. A tree oasis in a sea of sagebrush, cactus, and lava rock. I waited until there were no cars, then walked to the fence. Next, I tossed my pack over and then crawled under the bottom wire and hoofed it over to the trees. I could tell hikers had camped here before. It’s the best looking spot for miles – definitely the mileage sweet spot from town. Great hiker minds think alike.
There really isn’t much else to say about today. I’m going to do a 41’ish mile day tomorrow and catch up with Jetpack. I’d like to get up and start hiking before 6 am, but we all know how that works with me. Maybe I’ll surprise you (and myself) – but I doubt it. Nevertheless, it would be really cool to finish a 40 miler in the daylight…
A Personal Record…Maybe
I just realized tonight that I’ve cowboy camped every single night in New Mexico, so far. No tarp. No privy. Just me, the dirt, and the stars. It’s really a testament to the great weather. It would be amazing to make it though the whole state without setting up my tarp. That would be a personal record! I almost made it through Oregon like that (on the PCT), but had to set up my tarp on the very last night before Washington. Fingers crossed!
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