Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Days Two Hundred Ninety-One to Three Hundred Fifty-Nine

A week and a half ago, Raisin and I arrived in Corpus Christi. It still hasn't sunk in. This stay with my folks has been like any other, wide open and laden with time. The way it feels we could have just come back from Guinea, Montana, New Mexico, or any other place I've lived.
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There's so much to say I want to say it in its own space. So for the last time, at least in a long while, scan the mileage, look at the photos, and read these little snips of thought. Enjoy.
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Days 291-293: More zero days in Terlingua Ghost Town
Day 294: Just inside Big Bend, about 5 miles
Day 295: Near Castolon, BBNP, about 19 miles
Days 296-297: Two more zero days in Castolon (did day hikes around BBNP)
Day 298: River Road, BBNP, about 18 miles
Day 299: Mariscal Canyon Trail, BBNP, about 21 miles
Day 300: Juniper Canyon Trail, BBNP, about 30 miles
Day 301: Grapevine Springs, BBNP, about 17 miles
Day 302: Hwy 385, BBNP, about 20 miles
Day 303: Hwy 385, about 15 miles
Day 304: Hwy 385, about 9 miles
Day 305: South of Marathon, about 17 miles
Day 306: Marathon, about 14 miles
Days 307-311: Several zero days in Marathon during hurricane
Day 312: Hwy 90, about 10 miles
Day 313: Hwy 90, about 20 miles
Day 314: Hwy 90, about 19 miles
Day 315: Sanderson, about 5 miles
Day 316: East of Sanderson, about 3 miles
Day 317: Dryden, about 17 miles
Day 318: Hwy 90, about 15 miles
Day 319: Hwy 90, about 16 miles
Day 320: East of Langtry, about 15 miles
Day 321: Seminole Canyon State Park, about 16 miles (1 mile to get there off road)
Day 322: East of Comstock, about 21 miles
Day 323: West of Del Rio, about 13 miles
Day 324: Zero day at Broke Mill RV Park outside of Del Rio (second evening here)
Day 325: Hwy 277, about 15 miles
Day 326: Hwy 277, about 15 miles
Day 327: Normandy, about 12 miles
Day 328: Eagle Pass, about 17 miles
Day 329: Outskirts of Eagle Pass, about 6 miles
Day 330: Southeast of El Indio, about 16 miles
Day 331: Old Mines Road, about 20 miles
Day 332: Old Mines Road, about 20 miles
Day 333: FM 1472, about 20 miles
Day 334: Laredo, about 25 miles
Days 335-338: Four zero days in Laredo
Day 339: Southeast Laredo, about 12 miles (3 miles were made just to get to starting point)
Day 340: Hwy 83, about 16 miles
Day 341: South of San Ygnacio, about 13 miles
Day 342: South of Zapata, about 16 miles
Day 343: Just past Falcon, about 20 miles
Day 344: Hwy 83, about 18 miles (visited Falcon Lake State Park)
Day 345: Hwy 83, about 12 miles
Day 346: East of Rio Grande City, about 15 miles
Day 347: East of La Joya, about 20 miles
Day 348: Mission, about 10 miles
Day 349: North of Hidalgo, about 12 miles
Day 350: Old Military Hwy, about 20 miles
Day 351: Los Indios, about 15 miles
Day 352: Brownsville, about 21 miles
Day 353: Northeast of Brownsville, about 12 miles
Day 354: South Padre, about 20 miles
Day 355: South Padre, about 30 miles
Day 356: North Padre, about 21 miles
Day 357: North Padre, about 29 miles
Day 358: North Padre, about 19 miles
Day 359: Home, about 16 miles
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(I haven't added up my miles. I'll have a rough estimation soon.)
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Day 300: Got a really early start. I'm behind on my schedule and need to finish by tomorrow. That means a 30-mile day today. I gots to get crackin'! [If a hiker, especially a solitary hiker, doesn't check in to the Big Bend Headquarters when he/she finishes, the rangers send out an alert and go looking for you. Didn't want that to happen, and the likelihood increased a bit because I added a 20-mile detour to wrap over Mariscal Canyon.]
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Infinite, Brewster County, Day 301
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Day 301: Reunited with Raisin! Patricia drove little Raisin out to me and was a real sweetie, even offering to take her. Nope! Raisin and I are out of here! [Patricia and husband Jim took care of Raisin while I hiked around the park. Though having a puppy around mixed things up, especially for their older bigger dog, the family warmed up to Raisin by the end of the few days.]
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[There are millipedes all over West Texas. Raisin would sniff and bark at them, but they would often curl up in self-defense like the picture above. They are harmless and should not be confused with a centipede, which has about a dozen segments to the body and longer legs, and is dangerous to the touch. I saw both during the trip.]
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Fireman, Marathon, Brewster County, Day 309

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Day 309: Chopped chicken breasts, then rode and drove a fire truck! Ali had to do some fundraising. [In Marathon, I was volunteering quite a bit with the local fire department. I helped with food prep and clean up, drove a fire truck which was crazy big, and also judged two chili cook-offs. Daniel, the fire chief, was happy to have the help, and I was happy to be part of a group. I got involved through the volunteers at La Loma del Chivo hostel who were also fire department volunteers. Working for free and being part of the Marathon community for a few days was one highlight of the entire trek.]
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Pretty in Pink, Brewster County, Day 312
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Day 315: [Stayed at a motel. Manager asked me the following:] "Do you smoke?" "No." "Do you drink?" "No." "Do you pray to Almighty God every morning?" "No." "Then what do you do?" [She was incredulous that I didn't have any vices that she related to. I told her in response to her last question that I walk.]
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King Me, Sanderson, Terrell County, Day 316
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Wisdom, Dryden, Terrell County, Day 317
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Day 317: Then Mike - who also got invited to eat [at the store] - invited me to crash on his couch. He had heard about me from Marfa! [Imagine walking for nearly a month, then having someone recognize me through word of mouth! This is what happened in Dryden, and I am still shocked by it. I guess not too many people walk around the area and never in the summer.]
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Lozier Canyon, Terrell Canyon, Day 319
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Day 319: Found an awesome canyon after sunrise. Decided this would be better than a picnic area. Fenced off. Went down anyway. We ate, I read, played in the running stream, cleaned up, washed clothes, finished The Devil's Highway by Urrea, finished Charlie's article on George Schaller, are more, relaxed with Raisin, moved on to Dead Man's Walk from Mike & Sandy. Enjoying cool white rocks and the breeze. The overhead traffic is 30 ft above us and mostly drowned out by the rapids. [I was told later that the canyon is usually dry!]
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Under the Bridge at Lozier Canyon, Terrell Canyon, Day 319
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Judge Roy Bean's Place, Langtry, Val Verde County, Day 320
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Make it a Double, Langtry, Val Verde County, Day 320
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Purple Sage, Langtry, Val Verde County, Day 320
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Day 320: Shrubs with purple flowers are everywhere now. So pretty. [The purple sage turned the countryside into a painter's palette. The purple stretched to the horizon, splotches as far left and right as I could see.]
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Prickly Pear Fruit, Langtry, Val Verde County, Day 320
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Country Humor, Val Verde County, Day 320
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Border Patrol Drag, Val Verde County, Day 320
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Day 320: [The above contraption is known to the Border Patrol as a 'drag.' There are dirt roads that run parallel to the border which are 'dragged' every day or two or three. The tires smooth the road and make it possible for agents to 'cut sign' and see exactly where people are crossing.]
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The Pecos, Val Verde County, Day 321
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Seminole Canyon, Val Verde Canyon, Day 321
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Day 321: [Raisin and I snuck into a forbidden canyon. We played in the water for hours before finally camping out on a ledge at night. People probably hadn't slept on that ledge for over 150 years. I tried to make a fire from sticks and failed. Even so, the evening felt sacred.]
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Hesles Motel, Eagle Pass, Maverick County, Day 328
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Day 329: Talked with the owner Mr. Hesles-Shroeder about a work exchange. We had started the conversation yesterday. I wanted to work by the hour $10/hr and quit after 2.5 hrs. He wanted the job - weeding - done in its entirety. What if it took 5 hours? No way. "Mr. Read, I don't think anything can be arranged." There you have it. "This is a border town, Mr. Read. This isn't Montana." While interrupting me, he added, "I can find many more people like you who will do the job." Like me? What irked me is that he wasn't paying me, per se. It was a barter. After receiving the world's trashiest room, all of a sudden he has standards? I would think that 2.5-3 hrs was a good deal, but he obviously didn't. Raisin and I checked out 30 min later.
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Nest Egg, Laredo, Webb County, Day 339
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Day 339: [I watched a spider guard her egg for thirty minutes while Raisin and I were waiting out the heat inside a culvert. The images I took are big and bold, though the actual spider was no bigger than a quarter. Fascinating creature.]
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Hot and Spicy, Falcon Lake SP, Zapata County, Day 344
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Day 344: [I've seen grafitti the entire trip, but this person made a special effort for his/her writing to stand out. I found this underneath a picnic area roof at Falcon Lake State Park.]
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Lady Dog Dog, Rio Grande City, Starr County, Day 346
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Day 346: Dog 2 was there in the morning! Actually, I knew she would be because Raisin barked at her movements throughout the night. Crazy thing: this Dog 2 does not make any noise! [I later named her Lady Dog Dog and because of her behavior and disposition I decided to try to get her to a humane society. The poor thing was so hungry, that she stuck with us for two days with no encouragement from me. I finally caved and poured some dry dog food on the ground in front of her and Raisin. During the last few weeks, I had noticed Raisin getting uppity about dry food (as opposed to wet dog food or yummy human food), but when Lady Dog Dog started inhaling the dry food I'd put out, Raisin, who was momentarily shocked that any dog would eat dry dog food so fast, got possessive and started barking "Hey, that's mine!" (or so I believed). Sadly, a day or two later, Lady Dog Dog got hit and killed by a car in Mission. I had called two humane societies that morning - both closed.]
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Charlie, Hidalgo County, Day 349
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Days 349-350: [My brother Charlie hiked with me. All told, we did about 20 miles together in 6-7 mile chunks. Our conversations traveled all over, which was reflective of the lifestyle, but we had a good time. We took a short-cut along some run-off created by the hurricane several weeks before. We got away from the traffic for a little bit and didn't have to scream to be heard. A good stretch.]
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Runoff, Hidalgo County, Day 349
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My Parents, Hidalgo County, Day 350
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Day 350: [My parents Nolan and Esther were real troopers during the hike. They visited in the first couple of months as well as the last month. Everything in between, they checked the blog like everyone else. This picture is so them.]
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No Wall, Hidalgo County, Day 351
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University Campus, Brownsville, Cameron County, Day 353
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Day 353: [The campus of the University of Brownsville is one the prettiest academic places I've ever seen. I received a tour from Professor Medrano, who teaches several history courses about the border, the general area, and Mexico.]
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Homecoming, Brownsville, Cameron County, Day 353
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Amigoland!, Brownsville, Cameron County, Day 353
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End of the Wall, Brownsville, Cameron County, Day 353
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Day 353: [The wall, as in other places along the border, just ends. The river was to the left, a small developed park area to the right. We saw a border patrol vehicle parked in some shade directly behind where this picture was taken.]
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Sand Pyramid, South Padre Island, Cameron County, Day 354
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Unidentified Grounded Object, South Padre Island, Cameron County, Day 355
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Sand Crab, South Padre Island, Cameron County, Day 355
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Day 355: [Raisin loved chasing these little suckers. They're pretty fast, too!]
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Design, South Padre Island, Cameron County, Day 355
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Day 359: [Padre Island will forever be a place of blisters and sandal sores. It was five days of pure pain, every step a shock. It didn't help that I pushed for home either. Luckily the weather was on our side. Easily ten degrees cooler than places inland, the island also had a breeze which made it very pleasant in spite of my injuries. Raisin too got chaffed and was walking at an angle for several miles. Felt bad about that. I pushed her so hard that I ultimately had to carry her most of the way home on the last day. But we made it.]
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More is coming, but not much more. Stay tuned...

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