Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Day 122 - Pitch Black

One of my favorite movies is "Pitch Black", a movie about a spaceship crash landing on another planet. It stars Vin Diesel and Radha Mitchell, and helped launch both of their careers. I'm not a huge sci-fi fan, but I love this movie because the sets of the foreign planet are beautiful, like MoMA beautiful. Check out some production stills. And even more amazing, the set isn't an anonymous soundstage in Burbank, it is Australia! The alien right here, among us on earth.

Just like New Mexico. The desert here is beautiful and barren looking--oddly shaped rocks, deep crevices, all lit under the klieg light of a cloudless sky. And strange bits of movement in the corners of my eye, an almost perfectly camouflaged tan bobcat running into the sage. Little whirling dervishes of dust cyclone upwards in tight cones. Almost easy to imagine we're not on earth.

And this is so strange, since we're only ~25-30mi from Cuba, NM.

We left the Del Prado hotel this morning, after the wonderful hospitality of Mrs. Yang and her son Daniel. Wish we had been able to spend more time with them, but the trail calls.

The hike begins with a roadwalk, then we veer off to the left into the sand and sagebrush. The trail climbs up to a mesa, and we walk along the edge, with spectacular views of the valley below. Eventually, we descend from the mesa to the valley, and intersect some BLM roads.

Just as we stopped to plot where we were going to collect water, a passing white pick up truck slowed to a halt. The three guys were curious about what we were doing. They offered us a ride to Mexico, Grants, wherever we wanted to go. But, we have a continuous footpath, and no hitching, so we passed. Then they offered us water, and Dr. Pepper (a sign that we are getting closer to TX?). Real, fortuitous trail magic from real angels. Thanks guys.

With ~20m of sunlight left, we crossed a section of trail where someone had spelled out "hi" in rocks. Took it as a good sign and decided to camp here, on a broad, flat expanse of sage. No wind cover, so the tent is shivering in the gusts. It is going to be a cold night, something in the 20s. Glad we got fleece liners.

Incidentally, the combination of the cold and dust has given us both bloody noses. We may need to get this checked out in Grants.

Oh, and there is the small matter of Gangles' birthday on October 20. We're aiming to be in Grants on that day.

Mileage: ~28mi from Cuba to near Deadman Peaks

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