Travels With Oso con Migo

Odyssey In America

OAE On The Road Again -- Slowly Slowing//Travail Travelling

Nude Sunbathers Ahead

Greetings Virtual Travellers:

Life After Lot-13//Living In A Textiled World

Tigger and The Frog are testing Sara(h).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 should have. Ian on the Black Antelope from an earlier Ride.

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 RR executive."

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 campground.

Tuesday, 16th May, Monday Is Not Yet Over

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.

Devil's Hall is in the middle, where the thumb stick points.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 wire.

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. Arrrgh!

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 Checking Lights at Sunset in the Salt Flats.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 knew about.

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.

The Devil Resting in His Hall.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 straight ahead.

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 lizards.
Snail Shell above Devil's Hall.
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 Snail.

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 Devil's Maw.

Sunny Day 2006may21, Once Is Never EnoughProper attire for the Bare Canyon Trail.

Bare Canyon Trail SignAnother 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 highest here)

Hunter Peeking for Lunch.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... Horned Lizard at Pine Top.

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.

Love, ajo

I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to 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 prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me. --Sir Isaac Newton

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Copyright © 2006, A.J.Oxton, The Cat Drag'd Inn , Tonopah AridZona 85354-0313.