Sunday, August 19, 2012

Notes from out West.


1.  You gotta drink water.  I ran through about a gallon a day and the weather was mild.  Drank all the time.  First hike in I packed a gallon of water and left it there.  Packed the empty jug out on the last trip out.  Noted where water channels off Shiprock and waters sagebrush and the little bit of vegetation around.  Water pretty important.  At the Climber's cave, there is a little rockwork.  The cave has the biggest waterfall on the rock when it rains, so there is water and shelter, plus a little vegetation and all that that brings in a desert oasis.  Surprised there wasn't some broken waterjug bits from the last few thousand years on the floor.  Because of the uniqueness of water/shelter/vegetation the site has got to be a pilgramige destination, though there is no sign of such except the little rockwork which may NOT be Anastazi.  Interesting spot on Shiprock, maybe THE most interesting spot.  Slept there three nights.

2.  The Navajo never buckle up.  Ever.  And no car seats for the kids, no nothing.  They don't give a flip for it.  They also tend to park wherever they want.  We pulled in a painted slot at the Red Valley Trading Post and were a hazard to navigation as everyone else parked along the rail, under tree, along the road.  White folks very repressed, compared to the locals.

3.  Nobody has any good guns.  Very little shot up signage.  You see a bullet hole here and there but they are rare.

4.  Hitchiking still in vogue.  At the corner of 550 and Red Rock Highway, an intersection we saw daily, there was always a couple of folks standing around waiting on rides one direction or another.

5.  Packrats.  I hesitated to feed them and ruin their diet.  If I scattered contents of a ziplock it might precipitate a breeding boom with the food surplus, then everyone starve.  Had packrats on my pack on the West ledge and one that liked to walk ON my sleeping bag cover the last night on the split boulder. I had to reach out and shake the pack, and shake myself the last night, and that didn't impress them much.  Back a minute later.

6.  There ain't no meteor showers.  Four nights with a view of the stars and milky way during a famously, (100 per hour), productive shower.  I might have seen ONE out of the corner of my eye and I laid back and watched stars a lot.


7.  Tires.  Why the heck is the desert full of tires?  They burn, you can toss them on the roof of your trailer, you can even recycle them.  Tires everywhere in the desert around Shiprock.  Thousands.



8.  Hand painted signs.  Still an art form on the reservation.

9.  Pack light.  I didn't wear half the clothes I took.  Two pairs of socks.  Two pair undermawears.  Two shirts.  Two T-Shirts.  Could have gone for three but this did it.