A Difficult Stretch – Burnside to Gallup to Grants

The stretch from Burnside, through Gallup to Grants continued with amazing connections, conversations and people. While it kept me enthralled with its beauty, it saw me with several difficulties of various kinds.


The walk from Burnside to Ganado was rather easy, although it was a larger road. I arrived in Ganado, found the chapter house and sat down to charge my gizmo’s. That night I found a nice camp spot behind the hospital, and the next morning I headed to the local gas station for a bit of food – and on arriving there, a bar on my cart was broke! Thankfully Leanne found me, and offered to host me the night. The next morning I accepted a ride from Leanne to Window Rock where I was to meet with Earl later so I could find a way to get the cart fixed. I hung out a day in Window Rock, and the next morning Earl picked me up and took me to Window Rock so I could get the bar on my cart welded. I also got laundry done, sent home my thick, warm and exceedingly heavy winter sleeping bag, and we returned to Window Rock in the evening. It was a gorgeous evening, but it ended up being a cold one. I had a great camping spot, and it was the night of the blood red moon which I loved. The next day I sat at the museum and charged up my gizmo’s and then I finally got on the road again. It wasn’t long before I was in New Mexico – and I felt an incredible pride – my third state!


But I was incredibly tired. I had had several nights of really poor sleep for some reason and it was wearing me down. Insomnia has always been a struggle for me – and after 5 nights of very little sleep I was definitely feeling it. The first day an photographer from The Gallup Independent Newspaper met me in the evening to take pictures of me. Cayla was a sweetheart and stayed with me through setting up camp and getting dinner. The second day walking towards Gallup the journalist met me on The Trail getting prepped for a nice piece about me in the newspaper. And I found a really nice, hidden camp spot to stay not only the night but the next day as well. I was worn much too thin and exhausted. I still had trouble getting enough sleep though. But I finally made it to Gallup, and Cayla my photographer had offered to host me. I was still exhausted – almost to the point of wanting to roll up and cry in fatigue, so it was amazing to get inside, get showered and get some much needed sleep.


Gallup became an incredible experience. On Saturday the newspaper article ran, and apparently people in Gallup reads the newspapers, because I was instantly an celebrity. People wanted to meet me, stopped me on the road, gave me money and wanted to hear my stories. It was amazing and continued well outside of Gallup too. Among the people I met were Marlene and Lynette.


Spring Flowers in the Desert

After a few days rest, some writing and a nice weekend I was back on the road. I had planned to take a detour to Gathering of Nations the following weekend, but continued to walk a bit before that. All through Gallup I got so much attention from people who had read about me, and I was deeply honored.

I made it to Red Rock – Gawd it was gorgeous there! Loved it! I stayed there overnight, and got a ride the next morning to Gathering of Nations. Just to make this part of the story complete – my cart broke down as well at GON and I had to have it repaired.


After GON, I was dropped back off at Red Rock, stayed the night and then headed to the local Chapter House to charge up my gizmo’s. The Church Rock Chapter house was as hospitable as all the others – got showered and stayed overnight. Yay! Finally, back on the road towards Iyanbito – and I was still among the red rocks that I have so fallen in-love with. It was a lovely day walking. At around 2 pm, I was nearing the Iyanbito chapter house when some dogs came at me fast and furious with fangs barred. A bit nervous I took the safety cap off my bear spray, but thankfully the dogs stopped a few feet from me. As I passed I wanted to turn and put the safety cap back on my bear spray, I dropped it and it feel in a very unlucky way on my cart and went off full in my face. I got a massive doze of pepper spray right in my face and into my eyes. Oy, but it was painful! This is not a weapon to take lightly, damn but it was painful.

I was completely and totally blinded and crying out in pain. Scared and shocked I realized I had to rinse it off and thank God I knew where everything is on my cart – intimately. I felt my way and pulled out my full gallon of water and started to pour it over myself – all while praying for help. Within about 5 minutes I heard some cars and started to wave my hands. I can’t quite imagine the sight I must have been – sitting more or less in the middle of the road, soaking wet, eyes screwed shot, waving my hands. A good Samaritan stopped – I never saw this person, but I am so grateful for the help. He called 911 and soon after the paramedics were there. The paramedics tried to help me feel better, clear out my eyes and get them open again. It took a while, but eventually I was somewhat better. I felt pressured by the paramedics to not go to the ER because as they said – there was nothing the ER could do that they hadn’t already done, so eventually I decided to stay on the trail on my own. I sat down on my duffel bag and continued to try to open my eyes, without much luck. Eventually my vision started to get worse again, I was soaking wet, starting to shiver with cold, and unable to find clean, dry clothing. I started to panic. So I called 911 and was taken to the ER. True to what the paramedics had told me though – the ER couldn’t or wouldn’t do much for me. They put some drops in my eyes and were much in a hurry to get me out of there. As commented on my facebook page, I was rather shocked at how white the workers in the ER were – considering only 32% of people in Gallup are white!


Thank God for Marlene and Lynette – I was hosted by Lynette that night and I sure did need that help. In spite of being in a lot of pain with my eyes, I had a really good time with Lynette and her family. The next morning I managed to get my laundry done – it was soaking wet and soaked in pepper spray. And I was back on The Trail, but this has started a period of being exceedingly slow and tired. At first I simply got out on The Trail, found a spot to camp and relaxed a day. My eyes were hurting – a lot. But having both the paramedics and the ER workers words echoing in my head that this was no big deal, I got back on the road and continued to walk. Now on I-40 towards Continental Divide. After another 24 hours I started to notice that my normally incredibly excellent eye sight was anything but excellent. Things I could normally see were blurred or completely not within visual range for me. And my right eye was so irritated that it was swollen shut. I wasn’t sure if this was part of my eyes healing on their own, or if I should be worried so I called poison control. They essentially told me that this could potentially be serious and get my back side to a doctor asap. Ai, Ai. I hitched a ride back to Gallup and back to the same, uncaring and inhuman ER. I do have a problem with medical professionals – I admit it. Seriously, if people are hurt in Gallup they shouldn’t expect a little extra kindness from their ER – I am sure it is money driven, kindness costs time and time is $$$. The good news was that according to the MD there wasn’t anything serious wrong with my eyes, they were just exceedingly irritated. He irrigated my right eye with a full bag of saline and sent me on my way.


My right eye swollen shot!

And this time Marlene and her family came to my rescue. I had a great day with them the next day, and Marlene dropped me off at Continental Divide on her way back to Albuquerque after the weekend. Now I was tired, beyond tired – never really felt rested since Gallup. I holed up at a very cheap, not fancy motel in Continental Divide and slept for two days. It was needed, and onwards towards Grants.

Not much has happened since then – weather has kept me moving a little slower than I would like – but the walk since Continental Divide has been essentially uneventful. This was a tough but I got some drops at the hospital and that seems to help.


I have been by the rail road since Los Angeles, almost continuously. The first time ever I started to see several shipments of military tanks. I admit – it scares me. Why are they needing to move those now?


4 thoughts on “A Difficult Stretch – Burnside to Gallup to Grants

  1. OMG, you poor thing, did anyone in the ER send a eye dr. too you?? either time?? I worked for a hospital, run by nun’s and let me tell you our ER cared. That is so sad the trmt. that you got!!! Terrible. And what is up with those tanks? I would love to know more about that. So where are you now and were are you headed. Sorry, but I have not been feeling very good…take care. Did you ever get your cat’s taken care of. God, I hope so…..

    • Dear Rosemarie, I have an issue with medical professionals – I admit it. Still, I hate dehumanization, and that is what I experienced. No, no eye doctor took a look at me. They did check for corneal abrasions – which was the biggest concern. They should have rinsed out my eyes the first time I was there. Seriously! The sneer when they told me “homeless people couldn’t just come there to get inside” made me sick to my stomach. I was in a whole lot of pain, shivering cold and they wouldn’t give me time to find out where to go from there.

      I have no clue what is with those tanks – I wondered myself and was ill at ease.

      I am in Grants, NM headed towards Albuquerque.

      The cats are still in temporary foster care – there is a big media push coming though so I really hope to find them some place more stable soon.

      I hope you feel better soon – my prayers are with you. Malene

      On Wed, May 14, 2014 at 2:04 PM, A Conversation with America wrote:


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