May 5, 2015 Mountainair
Sorry I’ve left you hanging! I haven’t had a day off since I went to the CDT kick-off beginning of April. Right now I’m 100 miles from Albuquerque, the end of this route. There’s a lot to say and it’s not all going to happen now in this post.
First, I want to say that just because I was sexually harassed along the route doesn’t mean you should not hike the GET alone. There are always inherent risks while hiking alone, sexual harassment is one of them. I’ve been sexually harassed on the Pacific Crest Trail too. Women are sexually harassed everywhere, it’s something we live with -day to day for some. But this doesn’t mean we can’t do something about it, so Brett is looking into changing the route away from the farm.
Ladies, don’t be afraid to hike alone! Carry pepper spray if it makes you feel better. But most likely you’ll never use it because most people are good. Ranchers, ATVers, hunters, cowboys, store owners, miners, and weekend warriors have taken care of me.
Ray Tavizon, deputy sheriff of Grant County invited me to his fire when it was snowing. Jeanette from the Winston general store gave me pepper spray, a miner paid for my meal, a truck driver gave me half of his sandwich, some folks in Monticello Box Canyon gave me apples and hard boiled eggs!
I have a lot to pay forward after this hike!
For the most part people will be intrigued and inspired by you, and they will open their hearts. Over time you’ll be able to pick out the opportunists. The more I travel alone, the better my “street smarts.”
On that note, hiking solo is a rich experience. While I enjoy reflecting with others, hiking and talking at the same time stresses me out. I need to be focused on my surroundings to get the full effect of walking in the wilderness. That’s why we’re out here yeah?
Especially on a route like this; a route with obscure junctions, no trail or overgrown trail, no GET blazes… I constantly scan the landscape for route indicators-drainages, washes, saddles, clearings through trees, canyons, stock paths, footprints, cairns, saw cut tree blazes, animal poop (indicating water), and sometimes blue flagging tape Brett has tied to something. (When I’m exhausted, I hallucinate blue flagging tape)
I often walk with my maps and compass in hand and refer to them compulsively. I’ve been using that logical part of my brain, Hey! still got it baby!
This hike has given me perspective, that there is way more to long distance hiking than following a well-defined path.