This is an unforgiving land.
Yesterday I got up early, before sunrise, to pack and get to a trailhead to start my hike.
First mistake: I went by myself.
I had to ride a ricekty old bike with only 3 gears six miles and half of that was on dirt road, following the oral instructions of the girl who works at the hot springs spa. I found the parking lot she told me about, really just leveled off dirt and saw I had to go through a barbed wire fence, this type of fencing is everywhere out here. So still nothing new. I thought about using a stick to separate the wires and reached down for what I thought was a stick.
It was a deer leg, perfectly intact, hoof and all. I screamed and backed over the deer head. Once on the other side of the fence I began seeing more and more macabre deer parts. Possibly torn apart by a predator or a serial killer.
I was told by spa lady to go up an arroyo, a wash out that when during dry season become a path. I hiked that--there are ways to get lost and I did lose the path for a while--up to what looked like a road. I kept wondering why spa lady didn't tell me to just walk up the road. I took the road that appeared to be a 4-wheeler thing, lots of erosion etc, there were lots of loops and turn offs and choices.
I finally decided to turn down to go to the mt getting closer, but still in the distance.
I saw that the trail was going to wind my up the southern flank. Cool, the trail kept getting tinier and tinier and harder to follow. No big deal. I just climbed over the boulders and tried to avoid the cactus. I couldn't put my hands down ever for balance while climbing because of all the cacti and spines, etc. At a certain pt as I got closer to some cliffs I knew I'd have to use my hands. They got all chalky white with speckles--a result of all the quarts and crysal in the rocks.
So here I am, up high with the birds, a terrific view of the Rio Grande valley, the wind making a hollow sound off the sides of the mt and I thought ---- this isn't a trail! I'm like free-climbing something I'll have to come back down.
So I stopped and had a tea from my thermos and a piece of chocolate and tried to make my way back down. My pants are full of so many cacti spines, I've decided to retire them.
Anyway, nothing is ever as straight forward in this unforgiving landscape. Once I get to level ground, the road, the wind picks up. It's like blowing me over. I have to hang on (to what?) so that I'm not blown over into a ravine. (Later I find out it's a wind storm with continual wind blowing at 40 mph).
So I turn off the road for the arroyo and start going down. Remember on the way up I sort of got lost. Well I'm on it now and then I realize I'm ascending into a canyon where there are steep drop offs. I don't remember this going up. Now I'm stuck and have to just keep going. I somehow scramble down.
I make it back to my bike and the dismembered deer. But now I have to ride 6 miles INTO a windstorm.
Let me tell you, the first thing I did when I got back--which took me twice as long as getting there--was brush my teeth. I still have grit coming out of my eyes and ears. At one point the wind was so strong a giant tumble weed the size of a man started coming at me. I had to swerve to miss it. The gusts literally blew me into traffic. Thankfully not too much. Still I was freaked out and shakey from exertion by the time I made it back
Taking it easy today. Oh and by the way, finished my bigger project and now on to smaller stuff like a revision of Masterpiece for my agent. Should be a piece of cake next to that hike yesterday.