5/10 Woke to pouring rain and snow on the mountains. Good timing to be in Reserve! Caught up on civilized stuff like reloading my iBooks app and books, bill paying, eating at the excellent cafes and buying a few snacks. Here everybody knows each other, “How are you?” they say to each other. “Good! How are you?” exactly like my sadly now former coworker Cody Carpenter says at home in Alaska.
I talked with a wildlife officer who had been stationed in the Army and later was a USFS smokejumper in Fairbanks. After serving in Iraq, he wanted nothing to do with cities and loves his job in NM. New Mexico is wilderness as I’ve discovered, with big cats (Puma, Jaguar, Mountain Lion, I’ve heard all these names), bear, coyote, Mexican Wolves, snakes, javelinas, elk, deer, turkey and so on. His job is to determine if a dead cow was killed by a reintroduced Mexican Wolf (the Feds will reimburse the rancher for the loss) or by a regular run-of-the-mill predator.
5/11 I can’t believe how great people are–my plan worked. Breakfast at Adobe Cafe at 7 when they opened, pack on the porch. I walked to the edge of town, sat on the guardrail, and the first truck picked me up. I was walking by 8:30! A beautiful day through pleasant country with 1 2-hour climb, muddy brown cow water, 1 jacked-up pickup and 1 Private Property with 2 insanely barking dogs. I camped hidden from the road in scrub trees and desiccated cow pies.
5/12. Since I did 22 yesterday, it was just 18 to Toaster House in Pie Town which I reached early afternoon. Hikers! Dassie and Burning Calves from Day 1 greeted me and showed me to a bunk in their room. Then I was whisked away by owner Nita for a tour of Pie Town, a rather old, and odd, spot on the map. After taking us to the house she lives in and getting to play with her orange cat Muenster, I found myself driving her car with Bow Leg to Quemado 20 miles away for beer. Back at Toaster House with 12 or 14 hikers in this old, semi-decrepit, bizarre, cluttered, by-donation “hostel” for hikers and bikers that has about 8 beds and several couches plus porch and tenting space along with a single bathroom. Lots of great company! Most people spend at least 2 nights here.
5/13 The Ravens are coming in today I hear! I went to Saturday post office hours (7:30-9:30 am, how weird is that?) and picked up their boxes so they wouldn’t have to wait till Monday. I busied myself cleaning house, washing clothes and towels, chatting with Midnight, Dassie, Burning Calves, Navi, Bow Leg, Navi, Dave, Lux, Anna and John and more. And the Ravens arrived with smiles and stories. I moved to a bunk upstairs. Mama’s feet are doing better but they will zero tomorrow. I should get out of this vortex and hike out, but I’m enjoying all the hikers, the pie, the rest and the Ravens, so…..
5/14 Mother’s Day. I bought Pie to go yesterday for breakfast today. More hikers walked in as others walked out: Endless and Wueen Bee, Silver, Quicksilver, Radar and Peru, Inbar from Israel, Buddy Backpackers Dad. I changed to my own tiny room and slept great.