We knew going into the hike that one of our most difficult hitches would be to the town of Winston, NM. It was a 24 mile trip into a tiny town and the trail did not cross a well traveled road. What we didn’t know was just how interesting the hitch would be. After arriving to our road at 6pm after a 27 mile day, we only had 2 cars pass us in 2 hours of sitting on the side of the road. We were about to give up when a third car slowly passed us, headed away from town. The driver asked us if we needed any help and after telling him we were headed to Winston, he offered us a ride. He and a friend had been driving to look at wildlife. His name was Ken, he had about six pairs of freshly cleaned overalls in the trunk, and out of all his humorous lines, my favorite was when he saw a jack rabbit scurry across the road and said, “Put a saddle on him and you could ride him!”
We arrived into town at dark and Ken was driving to another town 36 miles away, so our best option was to sleep outside the community center. After sitting under the porch, two men rode up on ATVs, saying they saw us walking and wanted to know who we were. I was worried they’d kick us out but they were very nice and fine with us sleeping outside the center. It was a sleepless night for both of us on the concrete floor in a strange, small town.
The next morning we picked up our post office boxes and were delighted to receive three letters from friends and family. Thank you to the Finnigins for the fun joke, to the Mondas for such a personal card and to Laura, my sister, for such a thoughtful card. It lifted our spirits after such a long, unconventional, sleepless night. After eating some canned fruit and veggies from the general store for breakfast, we started on the difficult task of getting a ride back to the trail. It looked really grim for quite a while.
After an hour and a half of waiting on the side of the road, with only about 4 cars passing us, a woman pulled over who was headed to the road just past our trailhead. She was delivering supplies to her husband, who worked in the fire tower, and was leading a tow truck up there to tow his truck down the mountain. Her name was Casey and she was such a refreshing person to talk to, with so much vivacity and zest for life, especially life here in New Mexico. I made our day to meet her and talk with her for the 24 miles back to the trail.
Now it’s on to Quemado, our next town, we’re still battling waterless stretches but are finding our rhythm and finding so much pleasure in the letters from home and in the people we meet along the way. Thanks for all the support.