Friday, April 27, 2012

Chilling out at the Toaster House hostel in Pie Town, NM, 350 mi. in to the hike, talkin w some aged hippies. Might zero here and continue in the a.m., no rush

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Silver City Stop

Hi everybody, writing today from the library in Silver City, NM, the second town that the trail (or this version of it anyway) goes straight through I'll probably be blowing through here much like I did in the previous town of Lordsburg before taking some time of at the trail angel Doc Campell's place in a few days.
The route so far has been much different from what I am used to, with longer flat stretches, less water, and more open country . There has been a fair amount of road walking, either paved or otherwise, but the landscape has been getting more diverse over the last few days. Whereas before there was only desert and scub, there are now the occasional live oak and pine tree, more akin to the hills in southern California. The fauna has been rather sparse, discounting the ubiquitous cattle (and their even more everpresent droppings--just howe long does it take for those things to decompose out here?), but there have been some pronghorn antelope sightings, a small group of javelinas, some wild horses, an elk, many hares and quail, and always hawks overhead.
Much more interesting are the other hikers I have met out here; there seem to only be a few of us so far, and I feel like I have met most of them already. I ran into Shroomer and Why Not a few days back over the corpse of a recently deceased cow. The strange(r) part of this is that I had met them before on the PCT in 2010. I suppose its not that unheard of, given the small size of the thru hiking community and all, but given the setting (out in the absolute middle of nowhere, over a rotting ungulant) it was a tad surreal. I have also caught up with Eleanor, a 2011 PCT who is out here by herself with a supposed finish date sometime in early August. Given that I don't particularly feel like running the enitre way, she'll probably outdistance me soon, but it is nice to know there is someone else out ahead as well. That being said, we plan on hiking together for the next few days up the Gila River canyon, which is apparently a challenging but rewarding bit.
We'll see what the next few weeks bring, I'm just kinda winging it this time out. I hope to slow down before hitting the San Juan Mts in Colorado, but we all know how that usually turns out for me. Anyway, talk to you later!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Country is beautiful but different, very open so far w lots of cross country bits thru desest and scrub. Water is sparse but manageable.
Hi all, writing from Lordsburg NM. All comps in the library booked, so can only text: have to make tracks out of town before it heats up too much.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Sooo. Stuck in Lordsburg NM due to freak snowstorm. Highways closed in both directions an hour and a half from the border. Always an adventure. epic lolz

Once More into the Breach

Hi all, feels a little weird sitting here trying to start writing this stuff again, but I guess its all for the best. I'm here at the Westin Resort in Tuscon, AZ with my mom where we have been staying for the past few days resting and getting ready for the challenges ahead. Having never been to this part of the country, it has been interesting just driving around and taking in the desert scenery. Not wanting to over tax ourselves, we have only done a few touristy things while here. We took a drive out to the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, which was surprisingly large and inclusive, with a modest size zoo and gardens, as well as geology and native american exhibits. The place was deceptively far out, seeing as the maps here seem to operate on a different scale than elsewhere in the U.S. City blocks can be a mile long, and the terrain quickly changes from urban to desert to really desert very fast.

We did get to visit my cousin Caitlin, her husband Fred, and the kiddles Alex and Markus up in Tempe (or Tempe area anyway. Kinda hard to tell where one city ends and another starts)., which was much fun. With the family spread out so much currently (I'm looking at you , Hong Kong), its good to get to see everyone whenever possible, even if only briefly. Seeing as it has been a good portion of a decade since we last hung out, I'm glad we drove up to see them. We got to explore the botanical gardens up there, which were pretty amazing and informative given the novelty of it all for us east-coasters. It was also probably worth it just to get a preview of what I'm sure will be the bane of my existence over the next few weeks; the many varieties of cactus and their accompanying array of insidious spikes (mental note -- possible indie death metal band name?).

Anyway, we head out shortly for the trail, a scant 5 and a half hour drive along I-10, then down along some... less developed roads to the Antelope Wells border crossing in the NM bootheel. It is surprisingly cold and rainy outside here, with precipitation (including snow at higher elevations) expected into tomorrow before the real heat returns, which is largely a good thing I suppose. There is little while hiking that comes without some price, but trading the scorching sun and unreliable water sources for rain, wind and a brief cold snap seems like a plus, but time will tell I suppose. When all your time is spent outside, the weather becomes less a hinderance and more a simple fact; I'll walk regardless of what its doing outside, so why give it too much thought? As always, I am rather nervous about setting off, which isn't necessarily helped along by the (hopefully) exaggerated accounts in some hiking books, but it is what it is. Regardless of what happens, or if my plans have to change, if I have to flip-flop the trail, wait out a storm, route around a forest fire, hitch 50 miles to town, or whatever else the trail has in store, I'll give it a shot. Talk to you later, wish me luck!