Standing In A Masterpiece

“They drove, on washboard roads, wearing the finest sweatstained hiking clothes two weeks in the backcountry could fashion. The duo sat, side by side, each donning a smile that would out shine even the brightest of stars. They continued down a seemingly endless dirt road and each knew they were holding tickets to the real  happiest place on earth. The price of admission? A tank of gas and the desire to experience life to its fullest. The memories they were creating would be rooted deep in their core for the rest of days. Between each awkward bump, temporarily making them airborne, bursts of laughter could be heard in the distance. Onwards they drove. His foot on the gas and her hands clutching her chest for support. The setting sun was unlike any she had seen and she seared the vibrant canvas of the sky into her memory. Like a fine wine, nature was painting them a rich and bold sunset that only seemed to get better with time. Pinks, reds, yellows and blues came in ribbons overhead and the further they drove the more they unwrapped. As far as they could see, from the silhouetted mountains of the West to the contoured canyons of the East, the vibrant nature of the evening cloaked everything underneath in an almost surreal disbelief. The pastel pallet of Dusk was thrown to the wind. For this evening was about dramatic effect and nature seemed to be on a trip that would make even a sober person second guess their eyes. The hues of the evening eventually stopped them in their tracks as the trusty green Ranger skidded to a stop. They both stepped onto the gravel road. Dust circled them as if gingerly hugging their sandblasted bodies in appreciation. They stood in the middle of a masterpiece, each transfixed by the beauty of the dying day. Nothing could dampen the energy surging through the landscape. These are the moments we live for with the people we love…when words fall short, emotions run high, and the only sound was the rhythmic joy of their beating hearts pounding the song of the night.”20150921_193142

Late Night Ramblings

“I was forged with a burning desire to experience as much as I allowed myself. No longer was the question of fathomability present. For I had felt the impossible and the illusion of limits had been dissolved. My mind had shifted and I knew that I possessed everything there ever was. The choice was mine, yet strangely it had already been solidified centuries before. The knowledge of “how far can I take this” had evolved into “how deep can I go” and because of that pristine truth I was forever open to the unimaginable.”

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All material is copyrighted. Do not duplicate or share without written consent from the author – Sara Fry

A Short Excerpt from my Journal – Writing from Wind’s Perspective

My soul craves the dark and deeply beautiful depths of nature. It yearns for the brilliant unknown. To frolic with the wildflowers and sit among the trees telling stories of love, laughter, and the crazy but glorious people I’ve encountered. I yearn for more to follow. For others to understand the pull and tug of life. I try to help people be more conscious. As I drift on by I leave clues for everyone to see. Clues that speak of the unity of the world. There is an illustrious energy that surges through all life. Every being emits a spark of vitality to which we all resonate with. For life is within each and every one of us. The soul of creation is beaming itself through and reflecting the most glorious dance I’ve ever felt.

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All material is copyrighted. Do not duplicate or share without written consent from the author – Sara Fry

Leaving Grants, NM – Early Camping Shenanigans

 Once we arrived in the hotel room in Grants I sat down on the bed and fell asleep within seconds. My body was in dire need of rest. I was exhausted to say the least. My feet were painfully sore; this was the case for every other hiker as well. Road walks are killer. Every single body part starts screaming after the nonstop pounding against hard packed even pavement. When you’re on trail, your feet are constantly adjusting with every step. The trail is uneven and therefore the muscles in your feet get to move freely as they traverse the rocky path. When you’re on the road, you take the same exact step mile after mile, there is no reprieve from the harsh jolting that takes place. Road walks are NOT fun!

The boys woke me up in the morning to get breakfast, but there was no way I was waking up. They came back a few hours later just before check out. We packed up our gear, headed to Walmart for a few supplies, then hit the wide open ‘trail’ again. We walked along the road… oh joy! We passed by a correctional facility. I couldn’t imagine being cooped up in one of their small enclosed room. We joked about escapees saying they were thru-hikers and just walking North to their freedom.

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“Hospitality Center”…. this looks like the worst hospitality I’ve ever encountered…

There were signs posted alongside the road, “Do Not Pick Up Hitch Hikers.” Ipod and I took pictures right next to the sign and got a few good honks from passing motorists as they whizzed by.

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Classic Hikers Goofing Off

When Ipod, Nugio, and myself finally got to the trailhead we saw Chim rounding the trail ahead. The three of us took off our packs for a break while Chim got out in front. Not long after we sat down, a couple in a truck pulled up and offered us water and Gatorade. We gladly accepted and talked with the lovely duo for about half an hour. Nuge’s feet were killing him and we didn’t plan on going very much further that day. It didn’t matter that there was still plenty of sunlight left, our main goal had been getting out of town… and we had succeeded.

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Nugio and Ipod at the trailhead where we met the lovely couple

We saddled up again and I followed as Nuge lead the way. We made it less than a mile before we came upon a flat spot on the right side of the trail. It didn’t matter that there was cactus scattered throughout the entire plot – we were happy to see flat ground. Nuge and I laughed as we both laid out our Tyvek and yardsale’d all of our gear. Ipod showed up a couple mins later and he agreed it was a good spot to NOT hike. We had done maybe 12 miles that day.

Nuge and I broke out our Dodgy Bottles filled with whiskey and proceeded to medicinally treat our wounds. Slowly the aches and pains relinquished their grasps and faded away into soft murmurs. This was a good day!

Nuge and I were a little bummed that Chimi wasn’t with us. Chimichanga is much faster than we are. He will most likely be finished with the trail by August… as I’m typing this he’s somewhere in Northern WY (he may have already crossed into Montanta). We laughed and thought, well… that’s the last time we’ll ever see him again. We were both bummed, but we knew that this day would come eventually.

About an hour later, Nuge and I turned on our phones. There was texts from Chimi asking us if we went the wrong way…. we both laughed at the scene laid out before our eyes – both of us well on our way to being drunk while waiting for the sun to go down. We told Chim that we’d stopped and made camp for the night. About another hour passed before we heard Chimi’s call above our heads. Nuge and I were in disbelief. Chimi was coming down the trail after us. Nuge and I bust up in laughter. As he strolls up, we tell him to come sit down with us and take a swig. We must have been quite the site. 4 hikers all sitting on one neoair. Shocked, but pleasantly surprised, the sounds of laughter danced in the air… we had Chimi back!

We stayed up pretty late talking and having a grand time. I was very happy our little family was reunited once again. The three of us fell asleep to the stars above our head as Ipod slept soundly in his tent.

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A rock cairn on our approach up to Mt. Taylor

The following day was our first REAL mountain that we’d get to climb – Mt. Taylor. As the 4 of us made our approach we ran into a water cache. As we were taking a break and filling up our bottles the trail angel showed up. He had more water! We helped him unload his entire trunk (and even his backseat) and strategically placed the bottles into the coolers that he had left for CDT hikers. It was an honor meeting him. We were al VERY grateful for his dedication and kindness to complete strangers. He bid us good luck and we parted ways.

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Nugio on the final ascent to Mt. Taylor… after a pretty gnarly bush whack

We reached the top of Mt. Taylor and relaxed in a wind break. We laid out our sweat soaked shirts and let them dry in the harsh sun. Chimi took a nap while the three of us relaxed and enjoyed our first summit on the CDT. This was a good day. Over an hour later we looked up at the sky due south of us and to our displeasure we saw rather ominous looking clouds. We hurriedly packed our gear and began the decent to find camping for the night.

Chimi, Nuge, and Ipod in the wind break atop Mt. Taylor

Chimi, Nuge, and Ipod in the wind break atop Mt. Taylor

 Chimi and I found a million dollar camp site and settled in. There were two Teepees, a fire ring complete with rock tiling on the floor, and wonderful sitting logs. It was an absolutely amazing find! Happy and tired the 4 of us went to sleep.

Chimi, Nuge, and I had cowboy camped (sleeping under the stars) and woke up in the middle of the night to rain drops. We hurriedly set up our shelters before drifting off to sleep again. Another great day on the CDT.

 

Catching Up on the CDT – Lordsburg to Grants

I’m happy to report that I’m no longer on the first week stuck in New Mexico.  A ton has happened on this trail and I’m happy to say that I’m now MUCH further north, in Wyoming. I’ll be updating over the next few days in hopes of catching up to current time.

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Since I last posted I was reporting of severe shin pain. I ended up walking another day out of Lordsburg, NM (24 trail miles) and the final stretch that evening did me in. My leg was in excruciating pain and I decided to take some time off and let it heal. I followed the boys up the trail with Sleeping Bare in the RV for 8 days. I was constantly icing and elevating my shin. I went and got KT Tape and a calf sleeve to try and relieve some of the pain.

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Waiting to hop back on trail with the boys

I got back on trail a few miles away from Reserve, NM on May 15th. When I joined back up with the boys we had a couple new hikers with us. Anna (Pruner), Chimichanga, Sailor, Pasta Alfredo, Friendly Neighbor, Opa, Chuck, and my very favorite… Tripod – a dog whom had followed Ipod to the road.

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Anna in the back, Chim, and Tripod (with his prize elk leg)

Our next town stop was Pie Town, NM. Ipod, Nugio, Chim, Tripod, and myself all set off down the trail together. I got out in front in, however, I thought I was following Chimi and Tripod because I would randomly see dog prints and the ever famous Cascadia shoe print which so often litters  long trails. Turns out I was following different footprints and a random coyote.

I ended up hiking that section by myself because I had gotten so far ahead of the boys. When I arrived in Pie Town at Nita’s Toaster House I was greeted by a parade of hikers. It was wonderful being in their company. It wasn’t more than a few hours before the rest of my party arrived. Tripod, our three legged dog, was beat! He immediately found a spot on the ground between the hikers and feel asleep. He was a trooper!

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Left to right – ?, Friendly, El Jefe, Myla, Opa, Chuck, Sailor, Pasta Alfredo, and myself (BloodBank)

My shin was still giving me problems, but it was nothing I couldn’t handle. Nugio, Ipod, Anna, myself and Chimi took a zero at the Toaster House and had a wonderful time.

There was a dance later that evening at the community center. When we arrived the party was dead. We were told that since all the old cowboys can’t dance anymore it’s a sad scene. It was the perfect opportunity for thru-hikers to liven up the party. Needless to say Chim, Nuge, and myself got everyone on their feet dancing within a couple minuets. We had a blast!

The next town stop was Grants, NM. Nuge, Ipod, Chim, and I were headed North again. We had some beautiful desert hiking. Fully equipped with epic sunsets and endless views.

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Desert Sunsets

My shin gave me problems for the first couple days, but then everything subsided on the 3rd day. Happy shin, happy hiker! HOORAY!

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Happy Hiker

The 4 of us hiked onward to “El Malpaise!” It was an absolutely stunning section filled with lava rocks galore. It was a major pain to walk on the glassy uneven surface, but the scenery and company made everything worthwhile

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Chim, Ipod, and Nuge

While road walking a section we decided to head into town for lunch then hitch back onto the trail. It was a WONDERFUL idea. We passed a bunch of other CDT hikers and waved at them from the back of the pick-up truck. Now this is hiking done right!

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Ipod and Chim on our hitch into Grants for Subway and ice cold drinks. We were in and out within 2 hours. We continued hiking with full bellies and high spirits

The four of us finished that section with a nice long road walk into Grants, NM. My feet were absolutely killing me from the rough pounding of the hard pavement. The monotonous action was taking a toll on all of us and we were thrilled to finally be in town. Even though we were in town we still had a few miles to the hotel. Hitching wasn’t working, so we went into Pizza Hut and ordered a pizza to be delivered to a local hotel… with us being delivered there as well. Our driver was great and the 4 of us arrived via Pizza Delivery to the front door. Major success!

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Chim, Ipod, and Nuge on the road walk into Grants, NM

Onwards North to Cuba, NM!

Day 4 and 5 “zombie death march” 👣

When we got to hwy 113 the previous night, Sleeping Bare brought us back to the RV so we’d have a great breakfast before hitting the trail around 730 the following morning. 

I awoke to the sweet smell of fresh roasted coffee and Nug handing me a warm mug. I took a deep breath and inhaled the instant alarm clock in a cup.   A couple minuets later I was being served golden pancakes with over easy eggs.  This is certainly a great way to wake up!  It wasn’t long before Nugio, iPod,  and myself were loaded up and back on the trail again 

Full of delicious food and caffeine the boys and I began our desert death march… 20 miles till our next water cache. 

My shirt is giving me an extra special rash. Being super sensitive to things is not fun! When I’m soaked with sweat I don’t notice the pain,  but when I take off my pack for a break my skin dries out again and my scabs crack. Thus creating a VERY vicious cycle.  Every time I put back on my pack I can feel my skin tearing apart.  Ironically,  this is by far the easier pain to deal with.

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Oh the joys of backpacking 😂

My right shin is the worst of my ailments today.  It’s in awful pain!  If this is shin splints, it’s coming on incredibly fast and with a vengeance.  I’ve had shin splints before, but this doesn’t make sense because I’ve been training like crazy. Before I got on trail I was pulling 36 and 34 mile days with ease.  I’m really confused,  but I’m staying positive.  Send happy,  healthy,  healing thoughts! : )

The 3 of us finally found shade under the only tree for 6 miles and took a BEAUTIFUL siesta. It’s super hot out today. We’ll take any opportunity to get out of the blazing sun.

The land is completely barren and vast. You can see in every direction for miles.  There’s absolutely nothing to obstruct your view. 

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The hiking got a little better,  scenery wise, at about mile 11. We got out of the fierce little ankle bitter plants. They have one mission: to leave your legs as scabbed and bloody as possible. 

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This pretty little guy cut the bejesus out of my leg. 

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The desert… where everything’s dead.

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Nugio and ipod at our bone dry water source goofing off.

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Our next cow infested water source.

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Found this beautiful (Mojave Green?) Rattlesnake because I almost stepped on him.  He sure was pretty!

Nugio and I saw 8 antelope running/frolicking in front of us. This moment was too good to capture with a camera. After that I was beaming ear to ear. I love the little things that the trail provides. 

By the end of the day my leg was barking at me. I’ve only got 7 miles to go before I’ve completed the first stretch to Lordsburg, NM. I love this trail!  It feels so great to be home! 

******** Day 5

The three of us woke up early and did the final 7 miles into Lordsburg KOA. It was a flat and relatively boring road walk into town. My right shin is still very unhappy.  I’ve been using my trekking poles like crutches.

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On our way into town we passed a cemetery,  an animal shelter, and a veterans park.  You see so many neat places when you walk everywhere.  I found some gords growing on the side of the road and sent the picture to @digsapparel to support #amelonaday. 

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An awesome movement Michael McWilliams started to bring awareness to TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). He’s an incredible individual.  If you’ve got a melon picture send it his way to help support TBI awareness through art.  😎

I’m going to rest,  ice, and elevate my leg nonstop for the remainder of the day.  For now it’s showers, laundry, food, and sleep.

Hitting the trail tomorrow.  I hear we’ll see trees by the end of the day! Yippie!

Day 2 & 3: Sight and Walk “trail”

Another long and hot couple days.  I expect many more to come.  There’s absolutely zero shade out here… except for a few rogue trees. I’m still shocked this incredibly barren land used to be covered in shade.  There’s cow and therefor cow poop everywhere. It’s pretty comical actually. So far Jester was right when he told me I’d be near, on, by, and around cow shit the entire trail. Every time we find shade we have to clear all the patties out of the way. 

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Our view looking back towards Crazy Cook. 

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A snake a day

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Day 3 started out hot and relatively boring in terms of scenery.  Nugio, iPod,  and myself walked 10 miles to our next water cache that the amazing CDTC set up for us.  When we arrived Nug got a text from Sleeping Bare (his dad) that said he’d meet us at the hwy at 1130 with pizza and beer.  The only problem was,  was that we didn’t have service to let us know when the original message was sent.  For all we knew it could have been yesterday.  But low and behold not more than 5 mins had passed when a red sedan came buzzing around the windy road and straight for us, creating a welcome cloud of dust.  Out of the car emerged Sleeping Bare holding a box which, “had my name on it.” Inside was a veggie pizza especially for me. Hello Trail Magic! The 3 hikers and Sleeping Bare ate until we couldn’t eat any more.  Then we had ice cold beer. I opted for a “strawberrita” because the alcohol content was slightly higher. We couldn’t be happier. Armed with full bellies and high spirits we began the next 12 miles to hwy 113 where we would be greeted again by Sleeping

Once we began hiking again it was miserably hot.  My sweat soaked shirt provided a slight reprieve, but the heat was still sweltering.  We stopped at every bit of shade we came across…. which certainly wasn’t very much. 

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Nugio and ipod posted up

Just when we were beginning to feel the weight of the blistering heat we came across the most glorious sight!  Flowing water coming down the trail.  We practically ran to the source.  We couldn’t believe our eyes.  The solar well was overflowing ice cold water creating a make shift shower.  We all took advantage of this incredibly rare opportunity. 

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Our saving grace from the heat.  Freezing flowing water. 

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Nug taking advantage and soaking his swollen feet.

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Ipod utilizing the shower.

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If the well wasn’t overflowing this would have been our water source. 

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Our hot desert death march. 

We soaked under the water and drenched ourselves before venturing out into the sun again.  It took less than 15 mins for our clothes to be completely dry,  but it was glorious walking through the desert while the cool breeze penetrated our wet clothes.  It’s funny how it’s the simple things in life such as an overflowing pipe that bring so much joy.  

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Looking down into the valley.  Sleeping Bare was waiting for us somewhere down there. 

The final 4 miles downhill really placed a beating on my shin.  With every step I took pain radiated from the front of my leg.  Hopefully it will feel better tomorrow! 

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Typical CDT. The trail maker right in front of a barbed wire fence.  I love this trail!