Travels With Oso con Migo
Odyssey In America
OAE On The Road Again -- Slowly Slowing//Travail Travelling
Life After Lot-13//Living In A Textiled
I went for a walk in the Bosque del Apache Wild
Life (but rather sedate) Preserve yesterday. Thought I would attempt it
barefoot as I've been on this trail several times and it is mostly
sandy, some rocky, and would be good for my feet. But the sand is dark
coloured and the sun overhead made it unbareably hot so Limmers it was
for this walk. In order to avoid any consternation and confrontation I
felt obliged to delay my start until a couple of Muggles completed
theirs and went away so I wrote another letter and took a nap.
This was to be a quick walk, an aerobic walk, to check the plumbing and
the feet, to sweat a little. During the course of the past Winter I
have not been walking as much as I should like to--I could write
another chapter on that subject. At one point along the trail, where I
have on a previous hike sat and daydreamed for a spell, I spied an owl
with chick on their nest in a hole in the rock wall of the canyon. Too
bad my camera does not have a telephoto lens, I thought, as Ms.Owl and
I maintained eye contact. Too bad I am breathing so hard I couldn't
hold the camera still anyhow.
I believe Ian might have been with me on one of those previous walks,
that same Spring he spent rollerblading at Albuquerque and we went to
Roswell, when we were invaded by all the moths in the rest area, and
went to on to TeXas. Tho I don't remember where it was we went beyond
TeXas. Perhaps it is all wishful thinking. Perhaps I am remembering
something that could have been. If it didn't happen that way then it
In any case, it occurred to me along this walk in the Bosque as I
stopped more than once to catch my breath, another event when we were
out together in a different place. The time we took our bikes in the
truck and went out to the Windmill Cave northwest of Eldo. We left the
truck near the AridZona Project Canal and rode bikes on the gravel to
the windmill, then walked to the caves.
On the way riding our bikes back to the truck we were tired and he was
without water--I think for some reason he'd left his water bottle in
the truck. But what really stands out is how angry he seemed with
himself as he struggled to keep up. At one point he exclaimed "I can't
believe I'm letting my Self get beaten by an old man!"
Now, considering how out of shape I must be--stopping as I was so often
to catch my breath and rest--it occurred to me that perhaps he would be
able to beat me and perhaps it would be he who would have to stop and
wait for me to catch up. I am not sure I want to find out.
Another Mother's Day in Deming
From the text of the Evergreen Station Geocache Page:
"The first known inhabitants of this area were the Mimbres Indians.
They lived and farmed along the Mimbres River. The Mimbres Indians are
best remembered today for their beautiful pottery.
"It was around 1800 when settlers began arriving in southwest NM. In
it's early years the area had a bad reputation. It is said that outlaws
rounded up in AZ were given a one way ticket to here. Mid century, the
Butterfield Trail Stage had a stop nearby.
"In late 1881, the Southern Pacific RR, building toward the west,
reached this point and a tent and shanty city soon followed. It was
named Deming after Mary Deming Crocker, the wife of a Southern Pacific
Deming has grown quite a bit since then and quite a bit more since I
was here last. Now there is WiFi at the Escapees Dream Catcher
Tuesday, 16th May, Monday Is Not Yet
Not too many friends to whom I can write of this stupidity. Ian was
correct when he said "Stupidity should hurt". It did this time but
probly not sufficient for me to remember very long.
I have been putzing for days, weeks even, with an obstinate,
recalcitrant, printer issue. Or rather lack thereof. The issue that is,
from the printer. It doesn't, some of the time, and it does at other
times. Seems to have something to do with the connectivity of the
network of which there is none this far away from La Casa Blanca.
So finally I have the idea of reverting to an
earlier configuation, a more fundamental (mental seems to be the
operative here) arrangement of parts between computer and printer. One
wire. Do away with all the network stuff. The wire was already in place
from an earlier time, before network. *** One end was attached to the
printer, the other to the LPT1 port *** of the computer. All I had to
do was rearrange the choices in the printer configuration table. But
the printer still wouldn't print in this simplist arrangement. And it
didn't print when I tried a different computer on the LPT1 end of the
I reinstalled this and reconfigured that and tried different choices
here and there. All to no avail. I had visions of throwing the
whole mess out into the yard. Finally I shut down and took the truck
for a drive. At least the truck still starts tho I am beginning to hear
strange new protestations from under her bonnet too.
Towards the end of my drive I had the idea of finding a new cable, a
different kind, that would go between the USB ports on printer and
computer. It was the USB port on the printer that had been working most
recently with the network switch in line but the existing cable was not
long enough to go all the way to the USB port on the computer. Needed
an extension, or a new, longer wire. Found one at (ugh) Wal-Mart. (No
other choices in this Deming town. Wal-Mart has run everyone else out.
But that's another storey...)
Back at the bus--run the new cable. And in the course of threading it
through the maze and bundle find that the LPT1 (see back at ***) wire
does NOT after all go all the way through. There used to be a printer
selector switch in there which I removed when I installed the network
and did away with the second printer. But I never connected the middle
ends of the cables since they were replaced with the network cables.
So now the new cable works. And, with the switch reinstalled, the
original cable works as well. The network printer arrangement is out of
the picture; I'll consider reinstalling that when I return to the
network at La Casa Blanca. And I have two printer definitions, one for
each port. I feel better for being twenty dollars poorer. After all, I
could have run off and bought a new printer.
2006may18thursday, Pine Spring Camp,
Guadalupe Park/Wilderness, TeXas High Point
Finally fixed the WiFi again. See how long it lasts this time. I am
burdoned by all this high-tech,supposedly labour saving convenience and
at times feel like throwing it all into the street. The worst
frustration is the way the component manufacturers have things fine
tuned, programmed even, to fail the day after the warranty expires.
That frustration is only compounded by the number of helpless helpdesk helpers and
"qualified" service technicians who don't know shit-from-shinola, their
ass from their elbow, which end is up, about the products they purport
to service. The CompUSA store in El Paso wanted to charge me 130US$ to
"make your WiFi card work" but in the same breath the techie told me
they had not the test equipment to troubleshoot it nor the host hot
spot to connect with to prove it was functional. What sugared off was
that it is cheaper for me to purchase a new PCI card, install it my
Self, and then drive twenty-six miles across the city to a hot spot I
With that out of the way I still had enough daylight left to drive 180
miles and catch three caches along U.S.62/180 before sunset. One of the
caches, the one in the middle, Salt of the Earth (GCP93M), is in the
salt flats along U.S.62 in Hudspeth County. A nearby Historical Marker
which speaks of the Salt Wars provided a wide spot sufficient for The Cat Drag'd Inn and toad to get
off the roadway. It was getting on towards sunset and the colours
warranted a photo, it was also a good time to check the lights. Arrived
Pine Spring Camp, Guadalupe National Park just as it was getting dark
enough to want lights and found a spot level enough for the night.
Phew! What a day.
Friday, After The First Scratch:
Another Fun Day In The Wilderness
Yesterday was for housekeeping. Did the dishes, dusted the furniture,
vacuumed the carpets. And fixed a few things... Well at least I
rearranged the parts and the tools a little. And I made a nice pasta
supper to bulk up the carbs so I would be all set for a long and
arduous hike at early-o'clock today. I've decided that the difference
between a "walk" and a "hike" amounts to the equipment one wears and/or
carries. This was to be a hike: I wore my Limmers and hat, and carried
my thumb-stick, in the sprit of Colin Fletcher, The Man Who Walked Through Time.
Guadalupe Mountains include the TeXas High Point
but I am saving that summit for the off-season, or when I have someone
to share it with. Instead I wanted to explore again and go beyond
Devil's Hall. I wanted very much to go where no man has gone before,
where I mightn't find any beer cans, water bottles, or Wal-Mart sacks.
The trail leaves the campground headed more or less due north and
quickly divides into three branches. Tejas Trail to the right was the
way I expected to return, the people trail to Guadalupe Peak to the
left was already too crowded for a skinwalker, Devil's Hall went
The sun was just rising over the eastern spur and the temperature was a
balmy 70f. Very excellent. The first leg of this trail is mostly level
and is shared with horses to the turn of the first switchback. There
the horse path turns away up the ridge to rejoin the Guadalupe Peak
people trail and the way to Devil's Hall bares right to follow the dry
river bed of the Pine Spring Canyon two miles in and about 700 feet up.
Devil's Hall is a fascinating place. You have to go there.
After pictures and a banana my way went up. A half a mile forward and
1,100 feet up. That's about a 40% grade if I did the numbers correctly.
Parts of it were scary to say the least. Sometimes it seemed I was
following a trail, probly deer or mountain goat. Other parts, more
gentle grades, were more a matter of finding space between the yucca
and beaver tail cacti wide enough for one leg at a time. My thumb-stick
has not had such a workout in years. Originally I brought it along
because of the admonition at the trail head to be wary of mountain
lions. It says not to run from a mountain lion. Lions like loins. You
should stand your ground and try to look big. Open your jacket--what if
you're not wearing one? Wave your arms. And carry a big stick? Well, I
saw no mountain lions however I did flush out three deer and several
Instead of beer cans I found shells. Seashells that is. Along about
halfway up, maybe 6,900' MSL, above Devil's Hall. The first one was
ensconced within a pocket in a rock about the size of a basketball. A
second was several hundred feet further along lying in my "trail". I
thought they were seashells anyhow. They looked like seashells. This
whole place used to be a reef in the Permian Sea. Why not seashells?
The best I could do with the information from the Visitors Center when
I visited later on is that these are shells of the Curly Tailed White
At 7,500 feet MSL my bushwack up over the top of Grandfather's Knob met
the Tejas Trail very near to the summit of Pine Top and from there,
after a third serious snack, which I shared with two vampire
butterflies (Two Tailed Swallowtails), it was about three miles
downhill to The Cat Drag'd Inn.
It is hard to think much about stopping whilst rolling along like that
so I will have to go up again someday to take in a side trip to the
Sunny Day 2006may21, Once Is Never
Another nice hike: Frijole Trail to Bare Canyon
(had to be properly attired for that trail) up to the Bowl Trail to
Hunter Peak (a.k.a. Pine Top); Bowl Trail to Tejas and down past
Grandfather's Knob to a shower cooking in the sun at The Cat Drag'd Inn. Nine miles
round trip and an ear popping 2,500 foot elevation gained and lost. No
deer this time. I saw a small Bull Snake on the Frijole Trail. They are
kind of scary at first cos they look like a rattler. Head shape and
body posture gets one's adrenalin going when you come across one of
these guys basking on the trail. Their head is not normally flat and
triangular as is a rattlesnake but they morph it that way, and they
also have a hissing almost bark-like noise that sounds almost like a
rattle. But no rattle. No venom. The thing is, how did the Bull Snake
learn how to morph the shape of its head?
Hunter Peak (8368'MSL--about fifth
Another scary place. For me anyhow. I never did
like the edges of long drops and this peak is all edge, except for the
side that you climb. One minute you are walking casually through a
quiet piney forest and a short side trail later you are on hands and
knees looking straight down a thousand feet to the bottom of Pine
Spring Canyon. It takes all I have to not stand up and try out my
wings. Even now, just writing about it brings on vertigo,
butterflies... At the junction of The Bowl and Tejas trails I met a
Horned Lizard. From there it is downhill on Tejas all the way to camp.
Near the bottom, a mile or so out, four people with gear and clothes
enough for twice as many were resting under one of the few shade trees
within three miles. They were headed up to the Pine Top Camp. I told
them they'd missed the mule train and they'd never get to camp before
the rain sittin' there like that. At the bus my sun-shower was toasty
hot. There is something really special about an outside shower in least
likely places, solar heated water, in a bag hanging on the side of the
bus, in a campground. Nobody around...
Monday: On The Road Again.
Only a few miles (102, and that includes going around in two circles
once each), through Orla, to the city of Pecos and the law of Judge Roy
Bean west of the Pecos River. No walks today, only driving. And wind.
Hot wind. Between 99f and 108f. This will be a night to snuggle up to
the current bush at a pay as you cool campground and work on letters. The Cat has Drag'd Inn to the Central Time
Zone; probly won't get dark until morning now.
Tuesday: Off The Road Again.
That was a short drive. Today I am doing laundry, defrosting the
freezer, and writing this letter. There is a hot spot just up the
street and a post office to visit so I think I will stay a second
night, watch a movie, take a shower, visit neighbors.
Be Well, Do Good, and Please Write.
I do not know what I may appear to the world; but
myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and
diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a
shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all
before me. --Sir Isaac Newton
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Copyright © 2006, A.J.Oxton, The
Cat Drag'd Inn , Tonopah AridZona 85354-0313.