Most Beautiful Country
I just came back into civilization. I had the most incredible four days walking a total of 111 miles. I am sitting in my hotel after a much needed shower.
I must start that prior to the last four days, I was exhausted and sore. However, this last journey has invigorated me so much. Walking Junction 104 from Las Vegas to Tucumcari, I saw the most beautiful country so far on this adventure. So many times I felt like I was in a Louis L’amour book working on a Sackett Ranch riding horses looking for calves hiding in the brush. Every turn around a corner brought a new view and experience. I walked with a variety of emotions; joy, peaceful, appreciative, afraid and downright blessed.
The terrain went from flat plains to beautiful mesa’s and forests. I took a lot of pictures, but they don’t do what I saw justice. The weather went from the mid 80’s to rain, thunderstorms, lightning to 102 degrees. I loved it all.
My biggest fear of not having water never transpired. I had so many people that helped me.
Day one I started on Jct 104. The area was a lot of grassland with cows. I actually saw numerous antelope in with the cows. I had a couple residents pull over and just ask if I was ok. One, Art was a descendent of Billy the Kid. He gave me a whole historical picture of Billy the Kid that I never heard of.
The walk changed quickly from a peaceful jaunt to a terrifying “what the heck is going on”. At one point I was in the center of the most incredible weather experience. 270 degree was thunder and lightning. The remainder had a beautiful rainbow and sun setting. At one point two lightning strikes landed about 50 yards from me. The sound of the crackle is so much different close by. I had nowhere to hide. I was out in the middle of a grass area with nothing to hide under. The only thing to do was continue walking forward and hope the storm would stop. As I continued forward, the lightning was so awesome.
When I got to the 30 mile marker, the rain stopped. I found a little place off the side of the road and set up camp. I was able to watch the lightning all night long. While watching the lightning, my mind went to where I was going to get water tomorrow. There are not a lot of houses where you can just go ask for some. I knew that there was a post office in about 26 miles. That will be the plan.
The next morning I was breaking down my tent and Abel from N.M. DOT stopped to check on me. He asked me if I had enough water. He then proceeded to give me four bottles. I was set. After giving Abel a challenge coin, he gave me an Armor of God coin.
Abel told me that in about 1.5 miles I was going to come upon Corazon Hill. A three mile, 1,200 foot elevation drop. Oh my goodness, it was breathtaking.
I made it to the post office in Trementina. It was located in the back of a residence. I was able to fill up my containers with water out of a hose. It worked.
I stopped on the side of the road and had supper. I fell asleep and was awoken by loud thunder. I packed up and was met by a huge amount of rain. I was able to find a shelter and sit out the rain. After the rain subsided, I put my slickers on and made my way forward. I stopped at mile marker 53 and found a sleeping spot adjacent to two roadside memorials. For some unknown reason I slept the best of all my outside experiences.
I had enough water for the time being. There was a huge lake at mile marker 76. There was a campground and I figured I could get additional water there. Then, Abel showed up again. He had two gallons of water, Gatorade, Lay’s potato chips and homemade burritos from his Dad’s store, Laguna Vista Quik Stop in Las Vegas NM. The burritos were potato, green chili and meat. I had great conversation with Abel. His wife and family were saying prayers for me. I can’t believe how blessed I am to have met Abel. Although a quick encounter, I feel somehow we will stay connected.
Abel said I was going to hit an incline that was steep and short. He wasn’t kidding. It seemed like it went straight up with no incline. It was a killer on my quads.
Walking along a quiet section, I met Deputy Darin Romero from San Miguel Sheriff Department. He stopped to check on me. We exchanged patches. It is amazing how much territory they patrol on their own.
At mile marker 76, I arrived at Conchas Lake. Adjacent to the lake was a gas station that was supposed to be closed. However, it was open. I met Larry who worked at the station. He told me about the area and let me relax until it got a little cooler. It was currently 100 degrees. Larry told me to be safe sleeping out there as there are bears, mountain lions and wild hogs.
I left Conchas Lake and walking toward Tucumcari. Larry told me that from where I was to Tucumcari there were three ranch houses only. The ranches varied in size 22,000 acres and less. I can’t imagine that much property.
As soon as I started, Christy drove by me and we waved. She came back around and handed me $5.00. She said, “I think you need this more than me”. I said God bless and thank you. $193.00 for Widows and Orphans Fund.
Later in my walk, I was stopped by Rosindo, Roy and Lucindo. They had seen me walking the last couple of days and brought me several bottles of cold water.
I found a sleeping spot at mile marker 85. It was a beautiful sunset. What a gorgeous view.
On the last leg of the trip, it was littered with more cows and antelopes. The scenery was spectacular.
I made it into Tucumcari and had supper at a pizza spot. As I finished, Kim came up to me and gave me $20.00 to cover my meal. She was from Joplin, MO and said she loves to hear stories about people crossing the country. What a blessing to have on my entry into Tucumcari.
I don’t know if it was because I was on foot, but it was the most beautiful countryside I have seen. I would recommend that if you have the chance, take Junction 104 from Las Vegas to Tucumcari. I don’t think the other way would be as spectacular.
I will be in Tucumcari for two days and on the way to Amarillo, TX.