Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Barbecue for Days

On her way up to ancient cliff dwellings, Whistle encountered a group of wild horses standing across the road. The largest mare shook her head and without warning, false-charged at Whistle. Whistle put her hands up, the universal hand gesture for I'm definitely not planning on killing you and cried out "Whoa!" The mare snorted and stomped at the ground, the universal hoof gesture for I may or may not decide to kill you. Whistle tried to go off trail to go around the horses, but one of the mare's disciples darted to the side to cut her off. "Yikes, guys," Whistle said calmly, "Be cool, man, be cool."

In all of this hubbub, the tiny filly decided that he thought Whistle didn't look so bad after all, and ambled up to her in a friendly way to say hello. Before he could reach her however, the large mare used her nose to give the filly a good hard admonishing whack on the patootie, which sent the filly scampering off down the trail away from Whistle. The other horses followed, but not before casting Whistle a series of dirty looks as they trotted past. It's possible this was simple anthropomorphism, but Whistle was quite sure that the horses were, without a doubt, totally frontin'. 

After reaching the cliff dwellings, Whistle meandered down to the visitor's center and used an honest-to-goodness payphone to call her parents collect. Her parents were rather glad to learn that she had successfully escaped the river valley of death, and that she was standing at a visitor center thinking about lunch rather than her imminent demise. Whistle then ambled over to spend time in some hot springs, and met two lovely young women from Tuscon who let her use their fixin's to make a sandwich and gave her a dragonfruit. Afterward, Whistle went to a place called Doc Campbell's and met her first legitimate fellow CDT hiker after weeks on the trail. His name was "Out of Order" and he was a triple crowner, reprising a section of CDT to do a trail called the Granite Champman trail. They spoke for five hours, and Whistle was overcome with gratitude to be able to speak to a real live hiker again.

In the morning, Whistle met a man on a bicycle, who offered to take Whistle to his Tiny House and make her breakfast. Whistle was fed eggs benedict from scratch, hash browns and bacon, and learned about how this man built his own home, has lived in this tiny town for 20 years, and spends most of his time building things and riding his motorcycle. He told Whistle all about how the river has flooded numerous times and can be quite dangerous. Whistle nodded in hearty agreement.

On a morning some time later, Whistle woke up to discover that some industrious critter had chewed straight through one of the load-straps on her backpack, causing it to list aimlessly to one side if not held firmly in place as she hiked. With her pack this way she did a 10 mile day that included climbing 4,000 feet up and over a mountain. On the other side was a town, and Whistle sat alone eating a king's feast of barbecue. It was so delicious that she shed a couple of tears, and she cared not a whit about how she must look, filthy and covered in barbecue sauce, quietly weeping tears of joy into her rack of ribs. 

After this, she had to walk 1 mile through the town to get to her campsite, but she was in dire need of using the bathroom the entire way. However, it was the evening and nothing was open for her to use their restroom, and as she was in civilization, she could not simply do her business on the sidewalk. Question: How many miles does 1 mile feel like when one has to pee desperately by has to hold it? Answer: It feels approximately like 3 miles.

The next day Whistle made her way to Albuquerque where she was going to be meeting her parents and hanging out with them for a couple of days. She arrived in town very early in the morning, clutching her cardboard container of leftover ribs and mayonnaise soaked bread. She wanted to sit down and eat her medieval breakfast, but the only outdoor seating was in front of a Starbucks being flocked by early-morning business commuters in their suits and smart dresses. With no shame at all, Whistle crossed her American Flag legs up on a nearby seat, and ate her leftover barbecue in plain sight of the world at 7am on a weekday. 

It was mightily delicious.   

These are ladies that Whistle met at the hot springs who were having a reunion
to celebrate their journey last year, when they completed the
Great March for Climate Action. It was an 8-month trip from Los Angeles
to Washington D.C. that involved stopping numerous times along the way
to do presentations about climate change and oil drilling.


  1. Hooray! This awesome little post makes us so happy. Love the pics of the cave dwellers. It's nice to have a quiet routine couple of weeks. Just stay away from angry horse mamas and urban commuters! :-) Love, Liz and John

  2. Thanks for doing all these posts for Whistle, and double thanks for your own list of great trail moments. Great blog !