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[cdt-l] Along New Mexico's CDT book

 I just finished reading the book "Along New Mexico's Continental Divide =
Trail", with text written by David Patterson.   Through the =
well-composed description and excellent,  colorful photographs, the =
reader can get an idea what the land along the CDT is like, and what =
it's like to hike it.  Initially, I was captivated because I have never =
hiked in New Mexico.  In fact, I haven't even been to the state since =
1974!  I just wanted to get a glimpse of the region and the trail.  As =
it turns out, the book was so enjoyable that I have decided to hike a =
portion of the New Mexico CDT this spring! =20

Although not a detailed guidebook, David's description of his hike, the =
people he met and the never-ending challenges of hiking in such =
unforgiving terrain were more than enough to help me understand the New =
Mexico CDT.  Having thru-hiked the PCT, I know what hiking in a desert =
state is like.  With its unique culture, topography and ambiguous CDT =
route, themes that David deals in, hiking in New Mexico is a whole new =
ball game!  I could not have imagined hiking it without first reading =
the book.  Early on David writes, "Except for the rusty barbed wire =
fence that marks the border between Mexico and the United States, this =
land knows no boundaries, natural or artificial, as far as I can see."  =
Hiking in an environment that not long ago was home to indigenous =
cultures, he adds, "It's amazing how the tools, clothing and weapons of =
these previous cultures are merely modifications of the natural =
environment: rock, wood, and bone."  Well said!
 Each region of David's route is written in much the same way I mentally =
categorize and remember my 1996 PCT hike.  For example, the Gila =
National Forest is described as a place where mining camps little the =
landscape, high desert plants such as prickly pear thrive, but there's =
some shade provided by the pines and junipers.  "Bushwhacking isn't =
necessarily my favorite pastime, but it's what we have to do to get =
beyond Diamond Peak."  This section of David's route through the Gila =
had a big fire some years ago and it presents this challenge: "It's =
almost as if a bulldozer piled all the trees on top of each other, but =
then again Mother Nature's power is awesome.  When the wind howls the =
few standing dead snags sway, and I can hear their eerie voices =
shrieking from the flames that licked them not long ago."  Classic!

 In the end he pays homage to this wonderful area of the CDT.  =
"Weathered ranchers, forest rangers, mountain men, and friendly =
strangers- it's natures own character, silently revealing herself to me =
in the canyons, deserts, and mountains of New Mexico, that has made my =
journey through the Land of Enchantment an everlasting experience."  =
Additionally, the photographs by Tom Till and William Stone provide a =
great background to David Patterson's description of the New Mexico CDT. =

 Get the book!  It's available from the CDT Alliance, =
http://www.cdtrail.org/, and Amazon.com: =

 Roger Carpenter




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