Saturday, September 25, 2010
Today it took all of my strength to get back into “neckbeard” (our van name) and go back out on hitch. I was debating even coming back, but thought that I should give it another shot. Plus, once I try something, its usually the most difficult time at the beginning, then it gets easier…
So we loaded up all our dried foods, packed our tents, grabbed our tools, and headed out. Overall, today, I am glad I came back. My crew members and crew leaders are just super, and I enjoy the idea of living in nature.
As soon as we got to Piedro Lisa Trailhead, my crew leader, Ross, said “home sweet home”, and at that moment I got really cranky. This part of the job of living outside is an emotional roller coaster, but overall, it is a very positive experience.
Tomorrow morning it is back to the grind at 5:45am. Jumping back into hiking, push-ups, and plants, and trail restoration. WOOT WOOT!
Today we hiked up to where we left off, its really cool to hike past parts we have already restored. Today I can proudly say that I was not out of breath within the first 5 minutes. THANK GOD!
We made more check steps, water bars, rock walls, and drainages. I really enjoy re-vegetation where people make social trails and “spider off” the normal trail, its cool to patch those places off so that people stay on the normal trail and don’t contribute to erosion or damaging natural restoration areas.
While I was picking away at the granite today to widen parts of the trail, I realize that I have so much time to think! Its really a different mind-set to have 9 hours a day just to think.
YES, it sounds weird, I know, but there a really not many distractions on the trail while I am working (except for the flies circling around me). I think it is really great to be alone with all my thoughts, but also very intimidating. Whenever I get an idea in my head of what I aspire to do, or what I dream of, my “rationalism” always talks me down… of ‘oh I can’t do it”. My goal for this hitch is to believe in myself, and not let my doubts interfere with my potential. Every day that goes by, I feel as though I am learning so much just by listening to my thoughts.
Last night I slept outside, with no tent. Just my sleeping bag on a tarp. This is the first time I have every “cowboy camped” and I was really scared. We all layed out our sleeping bags under the stars and told stories and jokes and went to bed way after our ‘bed time’ (aka when the sun sets).
I was 99% sure that I was going to wake up with a bear licking the chap stick off my face, but luckily, I woke up in 1 piece with no animals eating my flesh. To wake up and make breakfast with the stars still above me was pretty cool!
Just being in civilization for 2 days between hitches gave me a great appreciation for the things we have, but also it reminds me of how much I enjoy simplicity.
Today when we were on trail, we met some business men who were taking the day off. They told US that they were jealous of OUR view from the office. Pretty cool! Just another reminder to keep things in perspective!
Last night we cowboy camped again, it was so wonderful! This morning I got a bloody nose on the way to work and we were already really far up the trail so I could not turn around and go get some tissues I had, so I had to rummage through the first aide kit, and the only thing I could use to stop the blood was a tampon up my nose!
Today we worked a 10 hour day and then hiked up to Ponderosa Point, it was a MARVELOUS view, but I am really sore and tired now. Looking forward to cowboy camping night #3…
3 things made my day:
1) we cowboy camped again for the 3rd night in a row
2) this morning we did a toast (with our water bottles) at safety circle and physical training. Every time a person did a stretch or an activity, they toasted to something they were thankful for. Some people toasted top sunsets, hiking, night starts, a simple lifestyle etc. I toasted to a healthy and able body, because too many times I take for granted the ability to hike up a mountain with my own two feet.
3) this morning I was the 3rd person to get to work – meaning I was not the last person hike up and arrive at our trail destination! YAY!
Tonight I am on dinner and our food cash is really low, so I will be making powdered potatoes and mac and cheese… YAY CARBS!
Today was a lot of hard work on the trail. My crew member, David, and I, had to make a water bar on the side of a switchback, and it took us 5 hours to place a 350lb. rock.
We made it down from the mountain in less than 1 hour, so that was sweet, I am really tired. Tonight we are having our 1st ever campfire, and we are making s’mores. Tonight is night #5 of cowboy camping!
Quote of the day: “The things you own will end up owning you”.
Today was our 2nd rec day and we went to Santa Fe for our day and met up with 2 other crews! We walked around art galleries and ate delicious food, and went swimming at a recreational center. I also went jewelry shopping and got some sweet turquoise earrings!
Tomorrow I am on breakfast and we are heading up closer and closer to Ponderosa Point!
Quote of the day “A little less talk, a little more action!”
Today David and I finished up our 3 day long project of placing a water bar at the side of the switchbacks. The view today from work was the best EVER! The higher we get, the more I love it!
We got back from work and Theron’s family brought us chili dogs after work, the were amazing and the greatest surprise ever! We then took a hike after dinner (crazy I KNOW, I never thought I would do more hiking after work hours), and watched the sunset, I got some great photos of las lunas (the moons) from the top! Hahahahaha
Today the trail was pretty calm, we are still working on the last switchback before Ponderosa Point, and we are hiking approximately 5 – 6 miles a day.
Today we met Dave, the 83 year old man that I wrote about in my last blog, who has hiked the trail over 1,000 times and is a legend on the Sandia Mountains! He just got back from a 8 day hiking trip in the Sierra Mountains, can I say badass? What an inspirational man!
I am at the grossest and stinky-est and dirtiest phase I have ever been, and it is starting to really make me sick. I love nature and all, but I also do love running water and showers.
Quote of the day “I promise to never take my body for granted. It is the best gift I have”.
Today was our last full day of our 2nd hitch! YAY! The thunderstorm last night made everyone get poor sleep, since we were all 100% sure we were going to be struck by lightning. Today it was humid because of the storm, I felt like I was in Flordia!
We “cashed” our tools at the top of the mountain, so that we don’t have to carry them up next hitch, which I am SO thankful for! Tonight we had our 2nd campfire, and we made banana boats: which consist of a banana split in half, with marshmellows and chocolate pieces on the inside. Next time I am going to step it up and put graham cracker pieces on the inside too!
BACK TO THE FARM! We packed up all our things and headed back to Durango, Colorado. We had to do an AmeriCorps service project that consisted of shoveling cow shit into a huge pile (and I mean HUGE) for compost reasons to make the farm a sustainable agriculture location.
I never thought I would be shoveling shit with a Bachelor of Science in Psychobiology. It was a humbling day.
Weekend synopsis: I had no place to stay or shower when I arrived, so Blake and I went to the local soup kitchen to shower and eat. We then met Tyler, a fantastic guy who let us Couchsurf at his place. Today I went to “Mutts on the Mountain” and we took all the dogs for a nice long hike along the Lightner Creek Trail to get the dogs out of their cages. I WANT ALL OF THEM!!!!