Day 79 – Thursday (early morning)

Day #3 on the road…

We made it somewhere southeast of Rough and Ready Hills to an almost dried up lake bed. We were west of the Robledo Mountains this morning and found a little dirt road (two-track) heading south, our direction basically. Our map showed the possibility of a lake or pond. We figured there should be a couple of stock tanks long the way and maybe water in the seasonal lake/pond. We were about 75% right.

We found one stock tank and topped off our water. Jared was out a head of us and said there was some water in the old lake bed, not much, and it was pretty muddy…but hey, its water. And it was close to a good stopping point for the night. We only covered about 5 miles but we learned a lot the last two nights/days. Things such as how to pack up quicker in the evening, better organization to cook, and we are getting the whole security thing down better, far better, than we had been. But at some point we have to cover more ground each night…a lot more ground.

Another thing…we are in a very, very desolate area. It is desert to be sure, and there is not a single tree anywhere to be seen other than in the way distance. There is lots of scrub brush like mesquite and more cactus than you can imagine. And rocks…man, rocks, rocks and more rocks. Fortunately for use there is enough grass, very sparse grass, that cattlemen are interested in enough to run cattle in the area…and that means water tanks. So far we are good on water. Tomorrow when we are due east of Reichy Butte we will turn southwest and head towards I-10. We should intercept I-10 east of Burris Station somewhere. Then stay just off I-10 and parallel it for about 10 – 14 miles to Akela Flats. There we can choose to follow the train tracks paralleling I-10. It’s 7 or 8 miles to I-10 from where we are camped, I am hoping we can at least make it that far tonight. And with any luck there is another lake bed along the way. Jared has already spotted a stock tank that we can reach within an hour off our main route if we need to. I hope we don’t need to.

I touched on a little bit but I guess I never explained well enough why we are taking this route. We had two basic choices…I-25 north to HWY60 then due west to just outside of Show Low which would be close to the cabin. Or, we could take this route with is basically I-10 west to HWY180, then northwest through Silver City to Alpine. Pick up HWY191 to Springerville and then HWY60 to our turn off outside Show Low.

I am the most familiar with the I-25/HWY60 route because that is the way I drove many times. Straight, easy, no problems, plenty of gas stations and restaurants in the right places. But that easy route was lacking one very important asset…water. There were very, very long stretches of road where I never saw any water tanks, or any water of any kind actually. And also…exposed. There was the road that we would have to walk on…and no cover or concealment for the majority of the way once we got out of Socorro. So we are talking the longer, most mountainous route but it has more water potential and better concealment once we hit the Silver City area. There is one drawback…weather. Our route is more prone to adverse weather…both rain and temperature. We could hit some snags on the way. Hopefully we will be well past the mountains in in Springerville where I have a friend that may be a big help to us.

So we chose our route mainly for better water supply and for more concealment. But, both have their drawbacks. This route also gets us close enough to the Tanner’s for a visit and rest. I miss that little blonde-headed turd! And that mutt….what was its name 😉

One of the things I noticed the last couple of days as it was getting light enough to really see in the mornings…this land is unbelievably huge! It just goes on forever in all directions. It looks like the embodiment of any barren landscape movie you’ve ever seen. But, if you know what you are looking at it is majestically beautiful in many ways. And little dots of green here and there. And those little green dots mean water…or at least moisture. Problem is, in this vast country that little green dot may seem obtainable in a short hour’s walk…when sometimes it is actually 20 miles away through a very grueling landscape.

Our turn to eat…gotta go.


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