Friday, January 14, 2022

Day 40: Kidnapped by Indians!

May 30: Given the rising temperatures, I made a point to wake up particularly early and was on the trail and hiking by around 6:30. I wanted to take maximum advantage of the cooler morning temperatures!

The scenery throughout the whole day was absolutely stunning. I felt like I was walking through southern Utah with all the interesting rock formations and among the cliffs, and I absolutely loved the day's hiking. I had no idea this area was so pretty! Later I heard that parts of Breaking Bad were filmed nearby, and they did have some pretty nice scenery. I couldn't say that I recognized any of the mountains from the background of the show, but it seemed comparable. It was a delightful surprise for me as I was just expecting more of the same mostly boring scenery of the last few days.


A few hours into my hike, I came across a rattlesnake sunning itself on the trail, and it scared the crap out of me since I didn't see it until I was about two feet away and it started rattling. After jumping about 5 feet high, I backed away and pulled out my camera to get photos and videos. 

Evenstar and Pez were both behind me, not being quite as ambitious as I was leaving camp so early. I know Pez hadn't seen a rattlesnake as of yet but probably would enjoy seeing this American icon. After hundreds of miles through New Mexico, perhaps he was having doubts about their existence. I wasn't, however, going to catch the snake to show him later. Nope, hopefully the snake will still be lingering near the trail for Pez to enjoy later when he passes by. =) Not too close, of course, but close enough that he could see and hear it. Evenstar hadn't seen any rattlesnakes either on this trail, but she had seen them before on other trails so it wouldn't be such a novelty for her.

I managed to pull off 14 miles to the water cache by 1:30pm--not a bad showing! I only planned to do another 4 or 5 miles the rest of the day. Easy peasy!

Plenty of water at the water cache!

So I wound up taking a four-hour break by the water cache. A few trees nearby provided some solid shade, and there was definitely plenty of water at the cache for anyone who arrived. Pez and Evenstar eventually caught up, and Pez had indeed seen the rattlesnake after it scared the crap out of him when it rattled its tail. Evenstar missed it completely, however, even after Pez tried to write a note in the ground warning Evenstar of the rattlesnake.

While at the water cache, a vehicle pulled up and a guy named Hugh stepped out along with a quiet kid named Cody. They were there to restock the water cache and had a truck bed full of water. We chatted with them a bit. Evenstar mostly chatted with Cody, entertaining him. Hugh lived on the nearby Indian reservation, but worked as a truck driver and had driven all over the country, and eventually Hugh offered to take us to his house for the night. He'd feed us then release us back onto the trail the next morning. I joked that that was their idea of "catch and release." =)

This windmill didn't work anymore.

Evenstar and I had our hearts set on doing a few more miles for the day, mostly to shorten tomorrow's hike when rain was expected. If we could finish before the rain started, that would be awesome! Pez was tempted by the offer, however, never having met Native Americans face-to-face before. He was a lot more curious about their culture and, I think, they were a little curious about Germany. But Pez also didn't want to leave us, but we urged him to go. "Our little boy is growing up," I joked with Evenstar, as if he were our kid and leaving on his own for the first time. But we thought he'd really find the whole experience interesting. Even something like being invited to spend the night with a stranger was something of a novelty for him. He had experienced trail magic, but not of the type where a stranger invites you to their house for the night! Evenstar and I had both experienced this so it was less of a novelty for us.

So Pez ended up leaving with Hugh and Cody, while Evenstar and I continued onward a few more miles along the trail.

We eventually set up camp at the base of another plateau late in the afternoon. A few trees helped break the powerful winds that started blowing through the area. It also looked like a good place to hunt for scorpions, so I pulled out my blacklight which I had largely not been using most of the trail. I told Evenstar in a wise tone of voice, "Where there are rattlesnakes, there are scorpions."

She wasn't sure if I was joking or not. "Is that really true?" I admitted that I had no idea, but it sounded good. I couldn't think of anywhere I had ever been where there were rattlesnakes but no scorpions, and I definitely saw a rattlesnake today so.... maybe. Probably? =)

I didn't find any scorpions, however, and eventually gave up my search and dived back into my sleeping bag.

And thus ended our 40th day on the trail. Pez, we hopped, would catch up soon. Probably not tomorrow since we were already a few miles ahead of him and he couldn't start hiking again until he got a ride back to the trail while Evenstar and I could start hiking immediately. But hopefully within the next couple of days, he'd catch up again.

The scenery during the day was spectacular! Filled with canyons and interesting rocks and mountains.

When I found out that scenes from Breaking Bad had been filmed nearby, I wondered if I'd recognize some of these mountains from the show.

I hadn't seen any dogs on the trail recently. A coyote, perhaps? I don't know....

This view of a canyon made me think of the Canyon of the Crescent Moon from Indian Jones and the Last Crusade. Would I also find the Holy Grail down there? (The answer: No. Definitely not.)

Rattlesnake on the trail!

1 comment:

Rita M said...

That is really beautiful, albeit alien scenery (compared to my lush upper midwestern landscapes)!