This horse was the cutest – an stallion with 3 mares, he came up to the fence at a full prancing gallop to check me out. I stood and greeted him with a knicker for a while. He answered in kind. He was stunningly beautiful.
The walk from Continental Divide to Grants was very uneventful. Weather was a bit challenging, and somehow I was still just tired, tired, tired, God awful exhausted. Still, I got to Grants without much drama. I was planning to stop in Grants to write some articles, before heading out towards Albuquerque. With that in mind, I started to couch surf hoping for a host – and I was lucky. Dave came through for me with my last minute request, and we had a really great evening with him and his wife. I got my writing done, and started to head out towards Albuquerque. But – this wasn’t to be an easy stretch. Before I got out of town I got sick, as in a raving, nasty, flu with high fever, that included fever chills, shaking cold and aching all over. I found a very cheap hotel and holed up for 4 nights – which was all I could afford. By then the fever had mostly broken, but I was still not “well”. Then I headed out and found a camping spot for another 4 days, coughing, hacking up yucky stuff, and generally weak. Being that sick in a tent sucks!
Finally several of my friends talked me in to finding a doctor – all of them fearing I had pneumonia. This required a three mile walk to the nearest ER, and packing up my camp. I wasn’t too thrilled with the prospect, but took the advice. (in this case, I shouldn’t have, I should have stayed in my tent and slept two more days) About 1.5 miles into the walk I was much, much too drained to walk any further. I sat down, coughing, shaking with fatigue and tears pouring down my cheeks. I tried to get up and walk a little further, but kept being stopped by the coughing and feeling dizzy weak. Finally, I gave it up and called 911. The ambulance took me to the ER – I was really only 1.5 miles away. Like the ER in Gallup, Grants have 29.1% white population, but the hospital was staffed by 90% white people – it made me uncomfortable. It is simply so wrong that a major employer can’t find ways to hire equitably – and if the people of color need additional training – offer it! And well, I was poked and prodded every which way to forever – it was a nasty flu and bronchitis – nothing to be worried about. Late afternoon I was back on the roadways trying to find a camping spot. They promised rain and thunder that evening and all the next day. I knew I still wasn’t strong enough to walk as well, so I had to find a decent camp site.
About one mile away, I found something in a major field I thought was perfect and got set up. And the weather did roll in that night. Being in a tent during a major thunder storm is something else – every time the clouds and thunder came my way the wind picked up – essentially flattening the tent around me – I was surprised the tent held up as well as it did. A few times I could feel the earth under me shake when an especially loud thunder boom rang out – but from counting seconds between flash and boom the lightening was never closer than 7 km away. During this day I managed to really start to eat again, and I was resting a whole lot – starting to gather up some strength.
Thunder and rain clouds behind me.
And the following day I managed to walk – tired and coughing still I managed to walk 7 miles, where I found an gas station and subway sandwich – it was a nice solid meal after having been so sick. I was now in the Pueblo of Acoma, and the landscape was gorgeous – old, black lava flows with plenty of vegetation peaking through. It was lovely, and I enjoyed it.
Horses among the lava flow and vegetation.
The second day walking I came to San Fidel – a teensy tiny town on The Reservation. San Fidel has an amazing amount of dogs, and they are frankly, not friendly. Twice I got rushed and attacked by large pit bulls, and for the first time ever, I used my pepper spray – grateful that I had it too! At least one of those times I have no doubt I was in serious danger. It was three pit bulls coming at me, snarling, canines showing, hackles raised and headed directly for my legs. Yes, it was scary.
Wild flowers in the desert and among the lava flows. This is still Pueblo of Acoma.
The next day I pretty much made it through the Pueblo of Acoma – that last night I got permission to camp on the campus of the Church of Latter Day Saints – I was grateful, they locked the gate at night, which meant no dogs would be able to find me. What a relief! And I had to decide if I wanted to walk through the Pueblo of Laguna on the back roads, or go on the freeway – I-40 – for 37 miles. I tried to find someone with connections into the Reservation, but with no luck. So I opted for the freeway.
Pretty scenery on Pueblo of Acoma – New Mexico is relatively less dry than Arizona.
Folks – here is the thing – the Reservations are their own countries. They are owned by the Indigenous people – and we white folks have no rights to assume we can just walk through. I didn’t like having to pepper spray the dogs on the Pueblo of Acoma Reservation – but it was me or them. Without connections, permission or even a sense of the culture I decided to be respectful and not walk straight through the Reservation.
So, on to the freeway I went. At the end of that first day walking on the freeway the Laguna Police found me. They were kind and concerned for my well fare – as well as intrigued by the walk. No problems there! After hearing of my trouble with dogs, they also agreed that I was doing the right thing – and I passed through with no trouble. That first day I broke all my previous records – which up to then was 12 miles on the day – and walked 14 miles on the day. I was drop dead tired at the end though. Tired and sore. The next day I had planned to try for another 14 miles, but only made 12. Still – my range is getting seriously extended. Tired and sore still applied. On the second day the Laguna Police checked up on me again – again, they were respectful and kind. In fact, I had realized I was low on water – the weather was hot, the sun relentless and I was sucking down water like a fountain. So, the officer drove back to his headquarters to get me a gallon – Thank you Officer Treviso.
Third day on the freeway passed me out of the friendly Laguna Police territory – my goal this day was the rt 66 casino – 11 miles down the road. Now, I was in the territory of State Police, and of course, within 90 minutes of leaving Laguna Police territory, I had a couple of troopers crawling up my backside. First (of two) troopers to arrive was an idiot who worked hard to establish dominance – frankly, I just saw a wet-behind-the-ears mid-twenties youngling living in a patriarchy, and therefore having an inflated sense of ego. The other guy seemed more laid back – but after Officer “wet-behind-the-ears” managed to sound completely dominant when he asked 5 or 6 times if I really was ok. Ask me once – sure, yes, thank you officer for asking, I am doing well. Ask me twice – maybe you didn’t hear me. Ask me thrice – yes, bonehead, really, I know I am a middle aged, grey haired, fat woman – but you know what? I am completely capable of determining myself if I am doing well – now, child, buzz off, or I might go looking for a fly swatter.
And I blew in to the casino right ahead of a major rain storm. Grateful to get out of it, and hoping it would pass by the time I was done getting a solid dinner. The casino, well what can I say. I arrived, tired and hungry and found an restaurant. Soon after I ordered a very young male server stopped and asked about the walk – he had passed me a couple of times on the freeway and was curious. I introduced myself and the walk, and he got excited. It was sweet. I saw him talk excitedly to a few tables as well as his fellow servers, and it made me smile. 30 minutes later someone from another table asked if I was walking cross country – I confirmed, and she gave me $10. Then at the end of a huge meal – three servers came to my table. Instead of a bill on the tray, there was $20. They had pooled their money, paid my bill and gave me $20. How touching is this? I came away with a full belly, and $30 extra. People are so incredibly generous and I was in tears as I left to find a camping spot.
And onwards I went! now just two days solid walk from Albuquerque. They frankly were uneventful, so I wont bore you with the details – I arrived well at my hosts place in Albuquerque and have settled in to really start fund raising.
I did have to walk straight up a 5 mile hill – and I did it in 3 hours, and then continued to walk another 5 miles on the day. I am getting so much stronger and my range is really expanding.
This is the view behind me after climbing 5 miles!