One should proceed slowly when emerging from a fourteen hour near coma. When I finally did return to life I went next door to the Paonia library and caught up on the blog, which for those of you without access to my personal hand-written journal was ten days behind.
Being a glacial-paced typist this process took a great deal of the remaining day, especially since the library did not open until ten. I did notice that one of the last local coal companies had made a very recent donation of five thousand dollars to upgrade the facility. Whether this payout is part of a sincere attempt to foster community growth or a brazen bit of bribery I leave to you the reader to decide.
Believe it or not I eventually did put feet to pavement again. The body responded well to the rest and the reduced burden of the lightened pack. The country I venture in is changing as I gradually depart higher altitudes. The mountains grow farther apart and flatter on top. Mesa, or table in Spanish, is the word used to describe these high plateaus.
I am also beginning to see snakes again, or at least their carcasses. The return to highway walking has meant a resurgence of roadkill. Deer are still the most common victims, their fur and skeletons a frequently visible reminder that they do indeed cross here. The only live sighting today was of another fox, a species I have seen on three occasions now in Colorado.
In the realm of humanity, some of the earliest Europeans to set foot in the west tramped across this region. While the Declaration of Independence was in the process of being signed by our Founding Fathers a couple of other padres were trying to find a better route from Santa Fe to California. These territories were Spanish at the time so the foundering dynasty sent a couple of their religious warriors, Father Dominguez and Father Escalante to do the job. Unlike Coronado, an earlier Spanish wanderer who searched for a make believe city of gold, the padres' goal was tangible, but their failure was just as complete.
I certainly can't judge these men too harshly. What they attempted is amazing, entering this vast and difficult terrain with only the help of a couple of Indian guides. I have maps, a compass, a phone, and civilization never too far away and still I am daunted by desert ahead.
Indeed, I may not find California either, but today's shorter jaunt was a success. I reached the Mountain Valley Meadows RV Park in Hotchkiss, where I made myself a home for the night. I would have liked to get farther towards Delta, but there weren't a lot of other choices for places to camp further down the road. Sometimes I'm a "Frogger," patiently waiting for the next safe log to appear.
7 miles/2834 total miles