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Saturday, April 30, 2005

Following Your Heart

New Mexico is known as the 'Land of Enchantment'. Today, I was enchanted far beyond my ability to communicate in this email. We continued our journey along the crest of the Black Range today with perfect weather. It was a magical day. Our first day without cattle poo on the trail. In fact, other than a few random barbed wire fences we passed by, we saw no signs of the hooved locusts. Poor things, through no fault of their own, we've turned cattle into ecosystem mowing machines. Today though, we saw a lot of bear and elk scat instead.

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We had amazing views all day long as we walked on the Black Range Crest Trail. It was tough to make progress towards our next resupply town, as we couldn't pull ourselves away from the views out to the desert plains in the distance and far below us. The only thing that kept us moving along is that we are running out of food. Yet, I would have so loved to linger.

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The high point today was 10,011 ft. Hillsboro Peak. We climbed through a lot of SNOW to get to the top of this mountain. On the summit, there was a fire lookout which we climbed for 360 degree views. Wow! I couldn't have imagined anything more beautiful.

Something about this New Mexico landscape really tugs at my heart strings. I was here in the Black Range 15 years ago for the first significant backpack of my adult life. It is good to be back. I was swept away by the beauty of this place then, as I am now. The me of 15 years ago would have smiled big had he known I'd be walking over Hillsboro Peak again on the CDT. At that time, the thought of doing something like a CDT through-hike was incomprehensible.

A lot has happened over these last 15 years. Being here in this place again helps me see the last 15 years of my life with proper perspective. Pain has just been the Soul's way of prompting me to let go and allow something higher to come through. I wonder, "Why I have been so reluctant to do this?"

The great Silence in nature holds and contains the human drama. Human lives come and human lives go. The Silence remains, always quietly whispering to us to let go and surrender to our Heart - the guide to our life purpose. Our lives are really not our own. We belong to the Silence from which we came. It wishes to express into this world through each of us in a unique way.

I hear the whisper tonight camped high on a ridge in the Black Range of New Mexico. It is the sweetest sound. I couldn't imagine life without the Presence of this sacred something quietly calling my name on the winds. All it asks is that I surrender to my heart and let that guide my life, no matter what my mind says. It calls to all of us, if only we would listen, our lives would be blessed with an effortless flow. Magic would swirl around us.

I wish I could write a letter to that Doug of 15 years ago and share with him a few things, send him some love.

The quality of the love that we express in our lives is really the only thing that concerns the Soul. It should be the only thing that concerns us. What do we love? Who do we love? The answers to these questions should guide our lives.

It will be with a heavy heart (and sore feet :o) that I leave this place tomorrow to walk to the next resupply town. I love these mountains. I remembered my name here.

Friday, April 22, 2005

First Day on the Trail



It's been a good day. 22 miles on April 22nd. We got "lost" many times today, but it didn't matter. The country is so open that we just broke out the topo map, picked a landmark that we knew was on route, and headed towards it cross-country across the desert. We made our own trail today.

The desert is in full bloom. Mexican Poppy flowers and blooming Barrel, Prickly Pear, Cholla and Ocotillo cactus everywhere. And sweeping vistas across vast flat open spaces dominate the landscape. The beauty here is stark and spacious, punctuated by colorful and delicate flowers. This beauty can only be appreciated with adequate hydration, however. One miscalculation in the location of our next water source, and we experience the harshness that is also part of this land. Out of these desert flats all around us rise steep, isolated mountain ranges - mountain islands in a sea of desert. We are camped at the base of one of these islands tonight - the Florida Mountains. Tomorrow we are headed up and over these steep mountains with no trail. We're gonna get an early start so we can clear the crest of the range in the cool morning and be on the flats to the east of the mountains by the heat of the day.

Today was hot. I drank 7 liters of water. By mile 20, Eric and I were feeling worked and sunburnt with a few blisters starting to form on our feet. As we were nearing a house by a road, a woman out in the yard waved. We introduced ourselves and asked if we could sit under the Pecan trees in her yard for shade as we ate dinner. Glenna invited us under the porch. We sat down on cool stone tiles feeling like we were in heaven. We lingered for a couple hours in this oasis before moving on to our present camp.

It's 16 miles to the next relatively certain water source tomorrow. And the Florida Mountains are between us and this water. Shouldn't be a problem. I'm so looking forward to my first night out under the stars with a full moon. I feel worked but so alive. We saw Jackrabbits, mule deer and a few lizards today. No rattlesnakes yet. Tomorrow promises adventure as we head out into the undiscovered country.

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