“…there’s a NEW Mexico?”
5/28/22: Austin to Clovis (448 miles) (this is a youtube link, ppl)
They say blog journaling is so 2022, so here I am tumblring onto the train via a hotel room in Clovis, NM. I had hoped to be writing this poolside after the long drive, but:
Anyone who knows me — and for the handful of folks who actually read this — likely know I am off on another solo backpacking trip. 3rd, to be exact, and my second annual Memorial Day week adventure. For the sake of my mother’s concern I’ve decided to pick up a GPS tracker/SOS beacon that I dearly hope won’t get washed down to Navajo Lake.
Today was an initial exercise trying it out on the hot ass drive from Austin. I figure why not share it with friends who care about my well-being when I get out into the woods: https://share.garmin.com/bellwetheraudio (pw: cmburns)
The map is a little clunky — I’ve only looked on my laptop so I imagine it might be worse on a phone (shrug). I practiced placing waypoints along the way:
- Boy & His Shadow — this was ~90 minutes into the drive north of Lometa, TX when I finally felt like I was entering this adventure. I started getting excited about what all will happen physically, emotionally, & spiritually. The Tow’rs song was playing off a collaborative Spotify playlist I made with Krystal Kay Cortez who was also going on her own adventure to Boulder this week. My first collaborative playlist and I’m proud of the work: Today’s leg ended on Townes Loretta.
- Zephyr, TX — anyone who went to Lufkin High School since the 90’s knows of this small hill country town because of Truitt Eubank. A truly great chemistry teacher and soulful human. I just did a quick search to see he’s still teaching and, probably, still talking about coming from nowhere Zephyr, TX.
- World’s Largest Pothole — Well, not really, but for a Honda Fit it was pretty rough this very Saturday before Memorial Day last year:
- 109 Degrees and Dust Storms! — Holy shit it was hot in the Panhandle today…and on May 28th. I’m worried this will be a worse summer than 2013. Last year I hydroplaned through countless storms on US-84 into New Mexico. Today I experienced what that bizarre dude at the mezcal tasting on Wednesday was preaching to Southpaw about Dust Bowl II.
This part of Texas/New Mexico is unforgiving and the people that have made a life here have my full respect. This is a hard place to call home and I’m having a difficult time finding non-profit community groups. It feels like a forgotten/isolated community, but not in a healthy way. I need more time to understand how I can help.
Last year I booked an AirBnb cabin in Vallecito, CO for this trip. I was desiring a return to the Weminuche Wilderness. It turns out the host (Shaun) is a firefighter, emergency responder, and avid trail runner who spends a lot of time in these woods. When I booked the cabin and told him my plans he called me to talk it over. I cancelled the reservation. The reason: a 2005 avalanche destroyed the last bridge over Vallecito creek and with a healthy winter it was raging. He didn’t want to have to come rescue me and/or my body. I heeded his advice and explored the Pecos Wilderness last year instead.
This year the Pecos Wilderness has been on fire. I reached out to Shuan and he gave the green light to come this early in the season. We talked last night and he thinks I can cross Vallecito. The troubling part is I will have to cross 20 yards of waist-deep, cold water with a full pack on my first day. How to navigate that has been weighing on me during the drive today.
It’s going to be weighing on me until I reach that moment on Tuesday. Next stop: Abiquiu.