Monday, December 30, 2013
I'm excited to be moving up to Humboldt County on the first and resuming work once again. I've had three weeks to rest and recuperate from the CDT and I'm ready to go. I'll be in the heart of the redwoods and I am looking forward to more exploration and discovery in the forests during my free time. Once again, this blog will most likely be concentrating on our redwoods during my time here. Here's to a happy, healthy, and creative 2014!
Thursday, December 19, 2013
|Cotton fields and the Florida Mountains|
His words were ringing in my ears while finishing the CDT. While I am not of Middle Eastern descent as Answerman was, I still couldn't help feel that I really, really like the desert. In fact, I am looking forward to the day when I can return to New Mexico.
|Colorado's roads were covered with banana peels. Southern New Mexico roads were covered with cotton and chili peppers.|
|Snow 10 miles north of the Mexican border!|
|Last campsite of the CDT. Three sisters to the north|
"Are you starting the trail or finishing?" the man behind the counter asked me.
"Finishing!" I exclaimed, shaking off the final insult, the last explanation for why I was hiking so late in the season!
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
|Campsite on night one|
|Mimbres River: It was excruciating walking past this wonderful river knowing that there must be Puebloan ruins or remnants along this waterway. I could not explore due to barbed wire fences designating private property.|
"What's going on here?" I wondered somewhat uneasily.
Suddenly, one of the white horses started walking towards towards me and then stopped. The other horses in the line did the same thing. The white horse then began galloping towards me and the highway, and the other horses followed suite, in a horizontal line kicking up a cloud of dust.
"Stampede!" There was nowhere to go, at least I had a fence in front of me, so I stood and watched.
The horses stopped a few feet from the fence and paused for photos. A poor scrawny white donkey tried to keep up with his horse friends but was pitifully slow in comparison. I continued walking down the highway, and the horses followed. They began galloping, doing little tricks while the white donkey again tried to keep up, and then would pause and wait for me to catch up. As I walked past, they would wait for me to get 20 yards ahead or so, and then run along the fence again doing tricks, and wait for my response. I gave them a round of applause, apologized for not having any food to give them and went on my way. Eventually, the horses reached the end of their property and I said my goodbyes.
|Night two: A perfect hobo camp along with a memorable sunrise along highway 180.|
Monday, December 16, 2013
"Why is that?" I asked, "Did a truck just arrive delivering fresh goods?"
"No," the man replied as he walked towards the coffee machine. "Winter storm's a coming, going to drop at least 8 inches of snow around these parts. It's supposed to be a three day event."
Sunday, December 15, 2013
Saturday, December 14, 2013
The Importance of Pottery Sherds to Native People
Native People of the Southwest believe that their ancestors deliberately left pot sherds as evidence of their lives, their migrations, and their continued presence. Hopi people call pot sherds "the footprints of the ancestors." As migrating families left one settlement for another, they broke their old pottery to leave behind as a testimony to their passing, and made new pottery to take with them to their new village.
Pueblo potters today refer to clay as the flesh of Grandmother clay. When they gather clay to make pottery, they offer corn meal to her and promise to make her beautiful. They enter into a reciprocal relationship with her. Because Grandmother Clay is in pottery, it is sacred. Because potters put something of themselves into their creations, pots are intimately connected with their makers. Native people ask visitors to leave pot sherds and other ancestral "footprints" in place so these connections between present and past peoples and the land can continue.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
|Plains just north of the canyon entrance|
Pieces of my heart are in so many places around this incredible country of ours, that I don't know if I will ever have what is considered a "home" again. The latest place that felt like home was the Middle Fork of the Gila River. It came as a total surprise to me, especially since I heard the area was devastated by flooding this September. I entered the canyon feeling apprehensive, reminding myself to be patient, to expect low mileage days, to expect cold, wet feet, as the trail crosses the Middle Fork 100+ times during a 40 mile stretch.
|A fascinating pictograph. Above shows a small being holding what appears to be a large pine tree. Below a being holding a geometric pattern. What do they mean?|
While taking a hot shower underneath the small waterfall, suddenly a couple of hornets fell into my lap. I looked up to see several angry hornets buzzing wildly above my head. I jumped into the pool in front of me. I turned around to see an angry mob of hornets filling the air around the waterfall. As it turns out, I think the splashing water from sitting in the waterfall disturbed an underground hornets nest a couple of feet from the falls. Thankfully, the hornets were taking their rage out on the waterfall rather than me. The falls were the obvious winner in this battle. I had to laugh again at the sublime and the lethal, once again coexisting on the CDT. I had to vacate the hot springs before the hornets discovered who the real culprit was.
|Stones for grinding corn, corn cobs, and blades|
|An incredible pictograph of a mountain lion standing on two pyramids, triangles or pedestals. This painting was very large, perhaps as long as 12 feet or more?|
As I drifted off to sleep, the rain began to subside, the stars came out, and an almost full moon began to shine it's reflected light onto the canyon walls before me. To see the arch of the cave above my head, the stars below the arch, the shadows of the moon, the ancient man made storage rooms behind me, the sound of the Gila River below, the relaxation of my muscles from the soak in the hot springs a few hours before, the image of the pictographs still fresh in my mind: The universe seemed so much more mysterious and wonderful than I ever could have imagined in that moment.
|Handprints on far left along with other symbols.|
|Typical scene along trail and valley floor: Flood devastation|