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[CDT-L] Update: Flight of the Spirit Eagle

Well I know I've been remissin my updates these last few weeks.
No excuse. I'm a lousy journalistic. Maybe that's why I only
draw and paint on the trail. Ginny has had some chances to
post lately and I'm glad! There are some things that I have here
that she didn't mention so I'll try and fill in and update all in in one.
When they cut off to the Sawtooth Trail, they found good trail and
marvelous hiking. The weather varied but nothing like they've
had further North. The trail would run flat for 6 miles then jump
up3000 only to drop as suddenly 1500. The last two miles was
nothing but blow downs.
Hunting season has an odd pace out there. I think she said it
was three days one and then two days off. Disconcerting for
a hiker till they figure it out, but the animals seem to have it down pat.
The night before hunting days, found our hikers camped on the
edge of a meadow where elk clustered in the dusk near the stream.
And in the night, the coyotes began their nightly argument. Come
the dawn and the hunters.....all the animals vanish...poof! as if they
know and take a couple days off till it's safe (I wonder if they go hiking?)
When the on hunting days pass, the game returned...go figure.
It's probably a good thing that the animals absent themselves from time
to time, considering the trouble Jim has been having with various bulls
at the water holes. Moose, Elk or Longhorns....it doesn't seem to
matter. As soon as Jim starts to move up to a water source from out of
the woods or over the rise or out of nowhere comes some big snorting
male who is a tad upset and the two foot trespassing by his water. It
often seems to be a cat an mouse game as Jim tries to duck under barbed
wire, snatch a bag of water and duck back through the fence with out
getting gored! Or else it;s a waiting game as a big bull moose simply
stands between Jim and the water for as long as he chooses. Some
times it's just no game because the water is so befouled from stock use
that it's not even approachable. Hiking to water has made for some
really long mile days.
With the exception of a couple bad bushwhack choices which let them
to the edge of canyons with nowhere to go but back,(Ginny had
a phrase for this but I can't remember it now????) and a couple
talus scrambles they have had some good tracks to follow. Some
jeep tracks that are not used as heavily as those in Colorado so they
aren't a maze of ruts and erosion. Just cleared packed clay that's
not bad to hike on as long as it doesn't rain. And the amount of
litter they have seen in NM is by far less than that in C. I may have
forgotten to tell of the rage that grew in Jim as he told of following for
miles and miles some jerk drinking budlight and tossing the cans. How
did Jim know it was the same guy you ask? Well it seems that he had
a unique way of crunching the cans and Jim had seen plenty to
study his method. No offense to any folks from Co out there, but
when Jim gets back, you may hear a few choice words about your state<yikes>.
Not so New Mexico...at least i think he will only have good things to say
about the state so far. They love the combination or real desert mixed with
high country.....even though it does make for some very high elevation change
days. They continue to see herds with as many as sixty elk from as close
as 60yds. Mt Taylor was fabulous but not much more than the circes that
ride there shoulder for a day at a time. They saw mountain goats who seemed
most amazed to run into hikers! While they may have seemed befuddled,
some of the people Jim and Ginny have run into are equally so. Seems like
they don't see many hikers out there. Which makes the kindness they have
experienced all the more endearing. They have nothing but nice things to 
say about
the people they have met. Especially Tom and Donna that live in the valley
near where the trail comes down from the ridge. Jim and ginny knew these two
were CDT angels and planned to stop and say hey, but in the days before,
Ginny had gotten hit badly buy a stomach 'thing'. She barely wobbled behind
Jim. As they came down from the ridge, they both hoped for a chance to
shower and rest before the ten miles into town the next day. Tom and
Donna did take them in and lent them their car to get into the grocery and
the PO. Ginny said she thought she was feeling better until she got into
the seat next to Jim. Now if my impressions are correct, Ginny must be,
in general, fairly content with Jim's driving since it's always he I see 
But Ginny said this first drive in months was a real stomach in the throat,
white knuckle ride. I think it was probably good for them because it has
at least let the idea of the end of the Trail back into their minds. They 
are not
ready to quit. Although they are physically very very weary, mentally, it's as
much or more of a joy as it's been since the beginning. Now Ginny wonders
how she will ever manage to fall asleep without the coyotes in the 
Well....Ginny seems to have been feeling a bit stronger and they planned to
hit the trail or rather in this case, the road walk into town the next day. 
it was not to be. As the day passed Jim began to feel the same thing that
Ginny had just endured. As they headed into town the next day, he started
feeling it and by the time they hit town it hit him hard. Tom and donna 
their hospitality as Jim was waaaay out of commission for two more day
On Thursday he awoke and decreed "We.ve got to get outta here <g>" and
so they did. This last stretch into Pietown has brought wonder and woe.
Trail reports of a generous water offer proved true as they left a friendly
trailer with a gallon of ice water. and when that ran out, they came
upon a dry stock tank, but further investigation showed a breaker switch
which when flipped brought forth more than enough. A rumor of a privy
brought a collision with some kids who invited them for pancakes and
coffee while another pair of locals gifted them with muffins! Ahhhh muffin
magic...it don't get better'n that <grin>. The Owens have fallen in love
with New Mexico for the land AND the people. I think the phrase Ginny used
was wonderfully open!
Not so Pie Town...open that is. They called me yesterday to say they were
hitching to the next town because Pietown was closed...literally. Not even
a coke machine. So detour to another town because I WANT A BURGER
says Jim and they'll be off again. Their next mail drop in in four days at
Reserve and I pray that the three day package I sent today only takes three
days since it contains a replacement camera for them. The one they had
died in a lava field no less....thus the source of woe. But even that it a
two edge sword since it has moved them to plan to come back by car
and hike to take pictures of what went unrecorded these last few days
and to take some angels out to dinner <g>. That's it for now!
About three weeks to go!!!! last chance to send your cards and letters!!!!
Please add the phrase Hold for CDT Hikers Jim and Ginny Owen

Nov. 20 c/o John Kramer
Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
HCR 68 Box 100
Silver City NM 88061
Nov. 23 Deming, NM 88030 +Rest day
Nov. 27 Finish?

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