If you are wondering what happened to me the last few days, I'd suggest looking at my last blog.
Those of you that pay strict attention might notice that I am a trifle off route from what I was supposed to be. The details of this are laid out in my previous blog but as a spoiler, I woke up in Weed.
Weed is a small town near the middle of nowhere (which I have been informed is slightly South of the town of Pinon in flats that are on the way to El Paso) and last night I slept behind their country store. I'm not sure what the elevation is, but it's high and it was a windy night. While I picked a good spot shielded from the wind by a small passage dug into a hill behind the store, the noise alone from the wind shooting through the pines overhead was enough to keep me awake for quite a while. Keep in mind, I normally sleep beside roads, noise is nothing worrisome to me typically but this was huge.
My phone dead and my alarm too quiet to rouse me, I woke up 20 minutes before the store opened and rushed to get my camp taken down before I was discovered. It's one thing to come clean about where you've been and another completely to be found out, people always assume the worst, better to open with the best then work backwards.
I walked out from the side of the building to find him unloading his truck. "Well where did you come from?"
"I'm walking across the country," I said in standard response. It didn't matter that this wasn't exactly the answer to his question or that the only place I could have come from was behind his store, it just mattered that I distracted him for a moment to make things okay. Nothing up my sleeve while my other hand is stashing a dove in my coat pocket.
I came inside and was happy to use the bathroom, brush my teeth and wash my hands first thing in the morning and all with running water. The man working the general store started a fire in the wood burning stove in the center of the store which clearly had once been a house. I sat by the fire and ate and drank and read, The Little Prince, which was given to me by a friend on this journey who said I was the title character. The man at the store laughed at the book and than confessed to reading another book meant for children several times as an adult, I told him I had never read it before.
He let me send an email to my family since I hadn't had reception in several days except to pick up a message that said they were worried about me and afterwards I sat until almost 9 am. I had a long day awaiting me on the way to Cloudcroft.
"Well, I reckon it's about a mile uphill, then a few miles steep downhill, and then you got 17 miles up to Cloudcroft. All uphill." He took my picture for a scrapbook of visitors to the store he had and I found out the long way just how accurate his assessment of the trip was. Twenty-two miles in total, and it was just over twenty before I crested the mountain. At 9000 feet at the crest of a hill, the natural world brimming over with natural life suddenly was spilling over with civilizations signs. My phone went suddenly from no signal to full signal, cars were abundant as well as power lines running up and down the mountain, a PA sounded a man's voice in the distance from some sort of event and a Brand new Ranger Station was just around the corner. Suddenly, I was starving.
It wasn't even 5 in the afternoon yet and I still had plenty of energy to try and make it part of the way down the mountain towards Alamogordo, just a quick bite to eat and a blog sent off to let people know I was alive . . . Pizza. I had dreamt of pizza for days with just a quick taste the day before. Daydreamed really, often, I don't remember my dreams but I had thought of pizza. At the first intersection in town lie a pizzeria ripe for the plundering. I strode in, ordered and sat and started to turn on my computer. My brain completely shut off. Everything moved on at normal speed except me and suddenly I felt like it took a minute to blink and my jaw sat slack, something I am normally much to prideful to do. I took a few moments to get functioning again.
Four days, 120 miles and up two mountain ranges with not enough food, flat tires, rocky roads. It all had been piling up, taking it's IOU's patiently for my body to let them loose and there they came. I have this theory about your body and mind, they won't get sick as long as they know they can't. They will just sort of hold on indefinitely until you have a down moment to deal with the sickness that has been so officiously brushed aside behind a velvet rope, just waiting for its time to strike. It's why you always get sick on vacation but never at work. My body was patient, it pushed through far more than it should have. It could have slowed down and still got me where I needed, later but there nonetheless. I pushed it, I always do. It's why I ran a marathon without training, it's why I chose math in college, learned Czech, and it's my natural place-in the red. As hard as the last few days were, many times I felt amazing, alive and like I was beating something I shouldn't be able to, pushing the limits of what is possible in my life and expanding my envelope. That's what this is.
I'll let you in on a secret now. At the end of my life, I want my story to be so unbelievable that no one would put any stock in it if it weren't well documented. I'm afraid this route will leave me alone with no family and a sad ending, but if not, it could be the greatest story I could come up with and the best gift I could give to people that are afraid of trying for something more. Even in such a life you need rest though, and tonight like few others I needed a shower and a place to rest my head. Instead of heading down the hill from the pizzeria, I crossed the street to the Summit Inn and was granted a night of peace and rest.
Tomorrow the story starts anew and before too long it changes completely. 939.