This is the end of the previous tale about navigation when hiking. I am on my way back to Terra Sante across wide open spaces of various terrain. The first part can be found as the previous post.
My memory of the subtle differences in my landmarks faulty, I am having a tough time staying on my route, except when I find the jeep trail that crosses my path. Soon enough, I’m making my way toward the sticks that I placed to point the way.
This jeep trail has been a relief from the random wandering through the open desert. The harsh thick plant life makes a straight line of any kind impossible.
As I come around a bend on the trail, through some reeds and into a clear green space, where my stick marking is, a large Jack rabbit is sitting in the middle of the road before me.
It poses, as I cautiously get my camera out of its case. It is close enough for me to identify that what I thought was a grand white tail, is just a grey spot on its back. The partner, a bit further out also has the same markings. Are they old survivors, or is that a survival strategy?
I take photos. It runs out further when I shift from staying as frozen as possible. Maybe it had never seen a quiet naked human before this? It is just out of sight and I must follow to get another clear shot. This leads to their flight, but much more slowly. They run across from me more distant, but I can still see their grace. Then quickly, they are gone in the mesquite bushes.
I find myself in the unfamiliar, but it is easy to walk back a trail of mashed reed. I work my way across, to what I hope is the correct mistletoe in the correct trees. It is.
The distant mountains line up and I find my way to the long fence.
I decide to make time by being less of the tourist on the jeep trail by the fence. I snap a few pictures, but I am more focused on my stride and time. I would run, if it made sense, but I’d best conserve energies. My legs are feeling weak and slight pain, as I arrive back near the land that my truck is on. I make my way under the fence, this time it requires knees to touch. As I reach to pull my bag through under the barbs my elbow gets a blood test. I must be tired. No stops for the trip and I have shaved over an hour off of my three hours during the return.
As I approach the property, I see two figures in tan pants taking a stroll through the desert property. A closer look reveals two tanned bottoms with a darker tan on top. One is taller and the other walks in a feminine manner. A dog accompanies them. I like this clothing optional neighborhood. I may end up living here.
I spent the rest of the day looking over a property for sale. I eat and watch a sunset with friends. It is dusk, when I’m sitting in that sauna, chanting humming and soothing the stiffness from the exertions of the day.
DF and Me: The Next Walk:
I hadn’t taken any selfie pics on my earlier hike. More illustrations needed to be taken. Later in the year, DF and I came back to this place, to hike and fix this problem.
It was much the same hike. Starting out, finding the best place to slide under the barbed wire fence.
It felt like a long walk, into a vast freedom. We followed many of the same landmarks. We had some confusion in the same places.
We walked the same places in a different season.
The shade and green mat of mustard had grown and gone to seed. We needed a different place to come to rest.
We found “the right place’ in the middle of the largest wash out there.
We were looking for a spiritual experience, our lunch and a rest. We spread out DF’s shirt and my sarong in the soft sand. Some meditation, yoga and prayer, we sat silently.
We spent time noting between the two of us, the significant vegetation for landmarks. When there are two, it is best that both follow the same trail of orientation. This extra huge hackberry was something for us both to remember.
Toward the end of this sojourn, there was that sinking anxiety that the sun was going down and if we took a wrong turn that we could end up miles in the wrong direction in the dark of night. The rattlers come out in those times and we were not prepared. Coming to a road and walking a few miles out of our way along it naked, would be a lousy option.
Quads have been out here and they make familiar paths and these two track trails look the same. The daytrip marauders create new trails and they make little infrequently used trails look like the road most traveled. One large degraded plain of dirt had been completely disturbed, a mass of tracks where quads had done hundreds of joyriding donuts.
At sunset, we found our turn to the east and expected to meander away from the long fence, until we came to the place where we go out into the desert and climb under the first encountered fence obstacle to crawl under. Something didn’t feel right. There is intuition, there is that sense that remembers the details of a place that a conscious mind might forget. It just didn’t feel correct. We turned back and walked briskly as the sunlight began to fade in a truly wondrous, but threatening sunset. At the turn away from the long fence, we weren’t sure, but it might work out to travel south some more.
It worked, the road bent and led us into a more lush desert landscape. We were still in doubt when we found the sticks that we had laid across the road, which directed us to the deepest place to slide under the fence.
Relieved, we walked the remaining mile to the truck, drove through the sanctuary to the sweat, climbed out and rested. From door to door our day was freely naked.
I hope that these two tales have given a sense of how we navigate and don’t get lost. Our walks are generally less precarious than this unmarked wandering straight out into a remote desert spot.
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