Friday, June 11, 2010

Days Two Hundred Thirty to Two Hundred Ninety

There's really no excuse for the delay in this post, which is more or less the equivalent of two or three posts. However, the reality of hiking without a computer has made writing and blogging in West Texas somewhat of a challenge. If I have an article due, then I spend my time doing that and ultimately neglect my blog. I could spend more time in one spot, like I am now in Terlingua/Study Butte, but that comes at the sacrifice of distance and days.
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As always, here are my mileage estimates and stops with scattered journal entries. Enjoy.
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Day 230: Zero day in Muleshoe
Day 231: Highway 214, about 18 miles
Day 232: Enochs (with a short side trip to the Muleshoe Refuge), about 11 miles
Day 233: Beyond Lehman on Hwy 125, about 19 miles
Day 234: FM 769, about 22 miles
Day 235: Just outside Plains, about 26 miles
Day 236: Just beyond Plains on Hwy 214, about 6 miles
Day 237: Beyond Denver City, about 15 miles
Day 238: Outside of Seminole, about 15 miles
Day 239: Hwy 385, about 9 miles
Day 240: Andrews, about 21 miles
Day 241: Highway 128, about 23 miles
Day 242: FM 1218, about 20 miles
Day 243: Kermit, about 13 miles
Day 244: Zero day in Kermit.
Day 245: Hwy 302, about 10 miles
Day 246: Mentone, about 22 miles
Day 247: Hwy 285, about 14 miles
Day 248: Orla, about 12 miles
Day 249: FM 652, about 12 miles
Day 250: FM 652, about 18 miles
Day 251: Hwys 62/180, about 30 miles
Day 252: Backcountry, Guadalupe Mountains National Park (also started hiking on park trails), about 11 miles
Day 253: Dog Canyon, Guadalupe Mountains NP, about 18 miles
Day 254: Park Headquarters, Guadalupe Mountains NP, about 15 miles
Day 255: Williams Ranch House, Guadalupe Mountains NP, 9 miles
Day 256: Williams Road near Dell City, about 20 miles
Day 257: Dell City Junction (by way of Dell City), about 20 miles
Day 258: Hwys 62/180, about 20 miles
Day 259: Hwys 62/180, about 24 miles
Day 260: El Paso, 35 miles
Days 261-262: Two zero days in El Paso
Day 263: Anthony, about 22 miles
Day 264: El Paso, about 15 miles
Day 265: Zero day in El Paso
Day 266: El Paso, about 18 miles
Day 267: Fabens, about 18 miles
Day 268: Fort Hancock, about 22 miles
Day 269: I-10, about 15 miles
Day 270: Sierra Blanca, about 20 miles
Day 271: I-10, about 12 miles
Day 272: Outside Van Horn on I-10, about 19 miles
Day 273: Hwy 90, about 18 miles
Day 274: Outside Valentine, about 20 miles
Day 275: Hwy 90, about 19 miles
Day 276: Marfa, about 19 miles
Day 277: Hwy 67, about 15 miles
Day 278: Beyond Shafter, about 25 miles
Day 279: Presidio, about 20 miles
Day 280: Zero day in Presidio
Day 281: River Road, about 7 miles
Day 282: River Road, 12 miles
Day 283: River Road, 12 miles
Day 284: FM 170, about 20 miles
Day 285: Just beyond Terlingua Ghost Town, 8 miles
Day 286: Terlingua, about 3 miles
Days 287-291: Five zero days in Terlingua
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The World's Biggest Muleshoe, Muleshoe, Bailey County, Day 230
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Day 232: Camped in Enochs at a cotton gin! [A trio of men approached me and inquired as to what I was up to. I told them and we shot the bull for quite some time. One of them told me to just go ahead and camp at the gin if I wanted. I told him that I didn't really like to trespass if I didn't know for sure, and he said, "Shouldn't be a problem. I'm on the board of the coop!" I love small towns.]
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Clarity, Bledsoe, Cochran County, Day 234
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Day 235: Nothing in Bronco. Chatted with old woman at store. [It's amazing how vague I can be, even when I'm my own audience. I ran out of food in the morning and hiked into Bronco hoping for some grub. The store was closed, but I knocked anyway. A squat older woman answered, and I asked about food. Unfortunately, she only took cash. So I continued my trip into Plains and knew that I'd get food in the morning. Sure, I was hungry, but a 26 mile hike on a little trail mix and a health bar is no big deal. I still chuckle at the terseness of my journal entry, though. It's a good reminder that there's usually a lot more going on than a person cares to explain.]
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Day 236: So walking out of Plains from the library, I was talking on the phone, and an older hispanic lady was walking my direction [on the opposite side of the street]. She stopped to cross the street - no cars, nothing - but didn't go because that would have put her near me. It's bizarre to be having a nice conversation with someone and to simultaneously be feared by someone else.
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Memorial, Gaines County, Day 237
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Food for Thought, Gaines County, Day 239
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Day 240: I've now read about 700 pages in 5 days, or 1000 in 15 days. That's a lot for me, far more than average. True, I'd already read [one of the books], but the other two were new. Am I tuning out my hike? [Note: I'd like to think that I'm coping for the lack of mental challenges out here. Physical, emotional, and spiritual challenges abound, but sometimes you just want a good book or puzzle.]
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Dunescape, Andrews County, Day 242
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Day 242: [An interesting side note to these Winkler County days: My brother Charlie was looking at Google maps before I entered this section and was worried by all the blank spots on the map, the blankness being sand dunes. A lot of the desert plants had grown over the terrain, but it was crazy to see a few miles of land that looked like it was imported from the Middle East. Long story short, it was no big deal, but some of the technology available to my family and friends is sometimes a little less helpful than they'd like to believe.]
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Bottom-left Corner of Texas Panhandle, Winkler County, Day 242
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Unidentified Object in Bag of Peanuts, Winkler County, Day 242
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Day 242: [I bought Spanish Raw Peanuts from the Ellis Pecan Company in Andrews, Texas, but took the picture a day or two later in Winkler County. I found the above object in my bag, and it was a little disconcerting, to say the least. I wrote the company and received a pat answer, that it was probably a root or something. I don't claim to know what this is, but it's hard, really hard, and I find it difficult to believe that it's a root. That said, I have to take the company's word while I'm out here and look into more thoroughly later. I like their product, but if I find out that this is something less benign that root matter, I am going to be one unhappy camper.]
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Lined Up, Loving County, Day 246
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Tan Lines, Loving County, Day 249
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Day 249: [I realized my farmer's tan was intense when it looked like my feet were put on. Had to share.]
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Beginning of the Day, Reeves County, Day 250
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Roadside Minutiae, Culberson County, Day 251
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Guadalupe Peak, Culberson County, Day 252
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Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Culberson County, Day 252
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Day 254: Might have camped at Pine Top Campground, but there was a loud obnoxious family there. Kids out of control. I was 3.6 miles from headquarters with the sun 30 minutes from setting, and I went for it. Arrived at night. Found an M&M and a Rice Crispy wrapper on the way down. Hmm...
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The Cairn Sentinel of El Capitan, Guadalupe Mountains National Park,
Culberson County, Day 255
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Sunset from Williams Ranch Home Porch, Guadalupe Mountains National Park,
Hudspeth County, Day 255
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Day 256: When I made it to the main road, I entered the world of sand and dust. The wind had started back in the dunes, but out on the road, the conditions got nasty. It's not the big granules that do it; it's the little ones. They cover everything and make it hard to open your eyes. And the little ones are never-ending. They're on my hands as I write this, on the notepad, on my mat, shirt, hair, everything with the possible exception of my mouth, but when I eat or drink, that will be another casualty.
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Looking Back, Hudspeth County, Day 257
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Oasis, Cornudas, Hudspeth County, Day 258
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Sunbather, Hudspeth County, Day 259
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Day 259: Checkpoint. Chatted with two officers; both reluctant to talk about border.
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Western Corner Marker of Texas, El Paso County, Day 263
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Checkpoint, El Paso County, Day 266
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Mission of Corpus Christi, El Paso County, Day 267
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Enter the Raisin, El Paso County, Day 268
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Day 268: Made it to Fort Hancock... with a dog! I found a small, dark, and dehydrated terrier mix puppy in Fabens, and she put her stock in me. I fed her a little peanut butter, then trail mix, and loads of water. She was tick and flea infested - no telling how long she's been out. She walked with me, complaining along the way until we reached Clint. She was begging for food from everybody, not yet attached to me. I got her some rice and chicken (after a conversation with my cousin Cat) and she ate well. I call her Raisin d'Etre, or Raisin for short.
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Day 271: I met I guy earlier named _____. He drove me to the courthouse [in Sierra Blanca]. Kind of a nut. Talked about black ops, having two PhDs, knowing the president. I just let him ramble.
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Cloud Cover, Hudspeth County, Day 272
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Beware of Fish, Hudspeth County, Day 272
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Hiking for Love, Culberson County, Day 273
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Day 273: [I found this little popsicle cross beside a roadside marker made by Carol Cruise. Ms. Cruise, wearing a prosthetic leg, is walking around the entire United States. She started in 2002 and is hoping to finish this December. She is a reverend and is reminding people of God's love. Notice that her odometer stands at 8,592 miles. By now, she's in central Texas.]
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[In Van Horn] people kept complimenting Raisin, and she ate it up. One woman gave me a leash! She had a spare and was heading to Arizona. She thanked me for "saving another one."
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Day 275: Took a break under a train trestle. NOT the most peaceful place when the train rolls by at 40 mph.
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Street Jesus, Marfa, Presidio County, Day 277
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Country Art, Presidio County, Day 277
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Day 280: [Bob Phillips and his Texas Country Reporter crew showed up in Presidio. I spoke with Bob about recent developments in his life (he got married two years ago), and we chatted about my hike and Raisin. I spent the bulk of my time with one of the producers Mike and the cameraman Dan, both really nice fellows. The show comes out in mid-July.]
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Mary, Redford, Presidio County, Day 282
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Day 282: Found a church in Redford and got water... later found out that it tasted like rubber because of the water hose. Ahhh!!!! [I lost two liters to this mishap and lucked out by finding a water hole in Closed Canyon, shown two pictures below.]
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View from the Ruins, Presidio County, Day 282
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Closed Canyon, Big Bend Ranch State Park, Presidio County, Day 283
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Another Roadside Attraction, Presidio County, Day 283
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Day 283: [Annie sent me a book called "Smile While You're Lying" by Chuck Thompson. There's one line in it that haunts me: (paraphrased) "We revere what we destroy, but we destroy it first." The teepee rest stop seems to illustrate this perfectly.]
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Contrabando Set, Presidio County, Day 284
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Day 284: Strange to visit the Contrabando movie set after already having seen it three days ago [with the Texas Country Reporter crew]. Maybe I'll watch Streets of Laredo. [Contrabando was a B movie set in the old west, filmed about 20 to 30 years ago. They abandoned the set which was later adopted by the park service. It's kind of neat in its own way, but a bizarre sideshow to the area. There are only a few buildings, all constructed for the purpose of making one movie and later adopted by other movies. It's not real, and yet people, myself included, stop to investigate it.]
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Found a camping spot called Rancho Topango. After mild negotiations, I secured an indoor place and shower and hard-boiled eggs for $13. I didn't know what to expect [when I showed up]. When I started calling out "Hello? Hello?", no one answered. Then I found an older fellow sitting down looking at me. I said, "Hi, how are you doing?" and he continued to look at me saying nothing. It wasn't exactly uncomfortable, and he cut it off before it became weird. "What can I do for you?" he began.
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Ghost Town Art, Terlingua Ghost Town, Brewster County, Day 285
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Terlingua Local, Brewster County, Day 285
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Day 286: I arranged with Greg and his maintenance man Mike to do some work for a river trip... only not immediately. [The trip has kept me in town for several days now. I just went yesterday on Day 290.]
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Art for Sale, Terlingua Ghost Town, Brewster County, Day 287
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Day 290: [Beautiful day. There was a group of about ten of us and two guides, and we hit the water by nine o'clock. We canoed up Santa Elena Canyon. The water felt great, and the upper body exercise was good for me. There were five kids in the group, and they kept us adults in check, fooling around in the water, jumping off rocks. There was one boulder in particular that stood just a bit back from a large pool of water. The kids were afraid to jump because of the distance, but I went for it, hitting my legs against the shallow bottom. I warned them, but it was too late. Several more went for it, enjoying the challenge and scariness of it. I love being an instigator.]
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That's all for now. Until next time...

2 comments:

littlepigletta said...

Wow, Matt! Now that's a tan-line! I wonder how many shades darker you are than when you started? Is it possible to measure? With infinite colors existing, it's an interesting idea. Glad you and Raisin are taking your time right now, and making good memories along the way. I'm sure your little friend is glad to rest the paws for a bit. Looking forward to more posts!

Brandon Champion said...

If you put Raisinette in a little baby stroller, you'd REALLY get some strange looks.