I drank as much filtered water from the old tire as I could and continued
on my walk with three liters. My goal for the afternoon was Separ, which I
could see all day. The road I’d found in the dark last night continued to
the hills, and on in to them, with no sign of the CDT. Near a dry
reservoir, in the shade, I used the GPS and gave up on finding the CDT.
I set a cross-country course with the large tower near Separ as my target.
I followed cow paths until they no longer kept me on target. I followed
paths of immigration, until I lost them. I walked through the unkempt
desert, finding two long-abandoned children’s bikes. I could imagine what
happened: They hopped off their bikes to look at something, then
something else. When they went to find their bikes, they realized how
similar the landscape was: how they had no landmarks to find their lost
bikes. When they finally made it home to worried parents, they were in
trouble with parents who were, nonetheless, glad they were alive.
Walking cross country put me into the landscape that had looked so grim
from the road. It was as bad, if not worse, than it looked from the
safety of the white line. In the course of the day, I walked past three
dead cows: two dead this season, hollow from gnawing, one a long-dead pile
of bones. When the dirt wasn’t puffing up in dry clouds of dust underfoot,
it was crunching hollow as I stepped, squeaking and crying as my shoe
moved. My cross-country route took me distantly past windmills, but I
didn’t want to trespass in this harsh landscape. Anyone stuck living out
here was likely to be as hostile as the landscape.
At the time that I should have been eating lunch, I came across a
way-station of sorts for immigrants or smugglers. Two bushes provided
solid shade between and beneath them, enough space for two people.
Judging from the trash, many people used this space for shelter while
coming in to the US. I sat in the shade and ate a little.
A few hours later, some paltry shade was enough to put my body and mind at
odds. My body wanted to just keep on going. Walk, walk, walk. My mind
knew I should take a break. I finally released my waist belt to try to
stop. It worked. I was near the intersection of the old railway grade
and the telephone lines. The trail was supposed to be nearby, but I
didn’t bother to look. I was making fine time.
I’m going to take the time here to describe what almost every daytime stop
for shade has been like. The shade is thin and not very big, but it’s
something. Nothing has used this area for shade, so there are thorns and
stickers on the ground. The low dead branches and the shade source itself
has thorns. I pull at the dead branches, and kick with my feet to clear
the area. I throw my pack into the shade to serve as a back rest, then
begin to clear the stickers and thorns where my body will be. I use my
sit-pad to shield my butt, and clear the area for my legs. Inevitably, I
get stuck with some sinister thorn, dried and hard. I scratch my head on a
thorn in the bush, then settle down to rest, but not before recalling that
I did check for snakes and scorpions.
In this particular spot, my legs hang out into the sun, but not too much
if I curl them up. I suck on my water hose and try to eat something. The
meager shade, supplemented by a breeze, feels good.
As Separ grew bigger, I started hitting barbed wire fences. The trail
takes a jog around here, but I can’t figure out how to stay out of fenced
land, so, seeing only vultures and crows, I push my pack under, slide
under myself, and continue on. I think it was a total of five times. As
I was upon Separ, I got to go through a gate. It looked locked, but was
I got a liter of water and some grapefruit juice, which hit the spot, at
Bolins (?) Continental Divide, a tourist shop where they were friendly.