Waking up, our minds go through a couple of steps before getting situated in the present. First, where are we? Are we at home in Nashville a couple of hours before having to be at work?
Nope, we are in somewhere, New Mexico in our tent.
Second, can we move our bodies? Are our feet still there? How will it feel when we stand up?
Sure, everything seems stiff but with a couple of miles under our belts for the morning we should get warmed up.
Then we go through our normal routine of putting our hiking clothes on without getting out of the warmth of our sleeping bags. Next, the dreaded deflating of the sleeping pad, signaling the official "get out of bed" stage. We fold up our pads, stuff our sleeping bags in our pack, grab our snacks for the day and stick them in our waist belt pockets, and the rest you have already heard. This is our morning routine.
However, this morning a third question raced through our heads before we made our first move: Is everything frozen?
Yes, yes, frozen, indeed.
As the night had become colder we both had burrowed even farther into our sleeping bags, down jackets still on, completely covered up, yet there was still a bite to the air. Mummified in our bags, we looked around at the inside of the tent, everything was frozen, and worse yet, the sun was just now hitting the tops of the trees. So what do you do when your tent is frozen, there is ice on your sleeping bag, and the air seems like it's just tiny daggers of cold? You stay in your damn tent inside your damn sleeping bag and wait, damnit. We did just that, and we waited for the sun to hit the tent, which did not happen until about 8:30am. A 9:00am start is a late start for the miles that we needed to do, but cold is cold and we were frozen. Ironically and hysterically, as soon as the sun hit, everything started to melt. We started getting pelted with large drops of water, and like that, time seemed to speed up and we were rushing to get ready and out of the tent.
The rest of the day was cold. After walking through one more canyon, we climbed out onto a Jeep trail weaving through open meadows where we met our newest challenge, wind, constant wind. The wind blowing through the meadow made the dried grass look like an amber ocean. We kept our eyes on the tree line in front of us, and we walked with an undeterrable aim.
Aside from wanting to get out of the wind, how nice it would have been to sit there and look out as far as the eye could see at all the beauty that surrounded us and maybe even hope to see a herd of Elk or a pack of Mexican Wolves.
After the meadow we hit a road, and the rest of the day was a road walk on gravel forest service roads. The most memorable section cut through vast cattle fields that seemed to stretch as far as the horizon. We had a hundred large black eyes watching us as we passed. Each cow stopped grazing, some even mid chew, as we walked by them.
The road became framed with pine trees, as we neared our stopping point for the day. In the road, there was a large animal, about the size of a German Shepherd, so too large to be a coyote. The animal's tail was too bushy to be a mountain lion. It walked halfway across the road and sat down in the very center of the road. That is when we realized that we were staring at a Mexican White Wolf, and it was staring curiously right back at us. We stood there for what seemed a couple of minutes, before the lone wolf stood up and disappeared into the trees.
That night we camped near a herd of cows. The cold set back in, and we bundled back up.
Cheers to the today,
Garbelly & Critter