The day started off so weird, I mean with Beans and all. After I woke up from my morning’s sleep Beans was right there staring at me, waiting for me. I chuckled to myself, I thought about a story I heard when I was a kid about somebody taking a thorn out of a lion’s paw. Actually, I hope Beans stays with me, I’ve been kind of lonely. I miss Lisa, and I miss home…a lot.
Before I started out last night I saw that the train tracks looked like a giant snake on the map. There were a lot of switchbacks and I was tempted to cut off the turns and go cross-country. I learned my lesson last night, no more short cuts. Besides walking the tracks eliminates a whole lot of the worst of the hills and gullies. I will stick to the tracks as long as its safe.
Last night just after we started walking I saw this sign that said Sibyl. Yeah, out in the middle of absolute nowhere there is a sign telling you what it is, or what it was. It isn’t anything now except train tracks running through the desert. But at least I could point out where I was…Sibyl. Beans and I pushed on.
Feels weird to have a much heavier pack. I thought it would be no big deal, that I would adjust to the added weight after walking awhile. I didn’t adjust and I didn’t get used to it. It is a way heavier pack. Then again, I have more “stuff” to survive whatever is ahead of me. I need to stop whining…I have a long way to go and whining doesn’t help a bit, not one single bit.
I had no plan on how far I would go last night. I got side tracked with taking care of Beans. A little dot on the map called Dragon was about a twelve mile walk, maybe four hours give or take. But I didn’t know how well Beans would hold up so I didn’t want to push it. I wouldn’t go through Dragon during the daylight no matter what. Dragon is about two miles due east of exit 318 on I-10, still in Arizona. It’s big enough to have streets showing up on the map, and looks like a post office there as well. Then its maybe ten miles or so to Cochise, AZ. Wilcox, AZ is my next big town after that; and about ten miles on the other side of Cochise. I wish the towns were spread a little further apart so I didn’t have to worry so much about my timing going through them.
It’s so weird, there are these huge mountains, a whole mountain range, ahead of me, I can see them in the distance. But the map is show a really flat nice pass right through them. According to the map it is as flat as can be and really wide as well. It’s called Big Draw. Seems appropriate. I have to keep remembering not to worry too much, the train tracks are laid through country that doesn’t force the trains to go up or down steep grades unless there is no other option. It’s too dangerous and too expensive to make them struggle going up and down mountains. I should be OK.
I am worried about Wilcox, AZ. I know it is a pretty big place. Well, pretty big for out in the middle of the desert. At some point people are going to go from being cooperative mode to survival mode. Once the food starts really running out, then all bets are off and people will be more worried about where their next meal is coming from than working together with their town or neighbors. It will get even worse, far worse, if police try to crack down and force “law & order.” In many ways law & order is just another term for police state and power rules in a police state…at the end of a gun barrel. But, one step at a time…one night at a time…one problem at a time. Plan ahead, but deal with the here and now.
Back to my here and now…
After a little snack, writing a bit, we decided to have a look around. I had forgot to spot a stock tank for water and that was my highest priority. Took about 20 minutes of looking but there was one nearby. The water tank was in a nearby draw, kind of a steep place with some grass and a couple of tall mesquite trees, and maybe one cottonwood. I just don’t know my trees well enough to know. All I know…it was shade. And then it hit me!
I was “crusty” and a little sore…I hadn’t showered for a week now. I am sure I stunk but I couldn’t smell myself. Maybe that is how Beans found me. Anyways, I decided I was going to take a bath. The water in the stock tank was crystal clear and decently warm/cool. I told Beans she had guard duty, I stripped down naked, and climbed in the stock tank. I am glad that whoever owned that tank hadn’t converted it from windmill to solar like most of them. I don’t think the solar powered well pumps are working anymore.
That was one of the most enjoyable “baths” I have ever taken. I used a little of the hotel soap I had but not much, it has to last. I had to air dry but that was fine as well. It felt very cool to do so under the trees, in the shade. Beans just laid around watching out for me. She’s a good dog, I’m glad she’s here. I told her I was going to wash her. She got up and moved about 20’ further away from me. When I stepped towards her I swear she did this weird low growl thing at me. I decided that washing her wouldn’t be the best decision right then, especially considering her wound…or my safety 😉
As I was putting my clothes back on I noticed all the cow tracks…and some horse tracks as well. I am an idiot! Here I was naked, in a stock tank washing away like I didn’t have a care in the world. I didn’t have a lookout, no one was watching my back, someone could have just walked up on me. And there wouldn’t be a dang thing I could have done about it. Not only that, while the water was clear and appeared to be clean…that doesn’t mean it was safe. So, the question is, do I know have some kind of crud from the water?
Needless to say I finished getting dressed very quickly, gathered my gear, and headed off to the next best hiding place for the rest of the day. I was smart enough to mix my tracks in with the cow and horse tracks for a bit, then I turned off to find a hiding place. I used a brush clump to sweep away my tracks for a good 100’ or so. A trained tracker wouldn’t be fooled, but I am guessing there aren’t many of those around here. Or at least I hope not. I think I trusted in Beans too much. She’s a nice dog but I don’t know if she’s good enough to warn me and protect me. I hope I never have to find out. I have to do better.
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