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July 20, 2019: Transition Day

Here I am, sitting at a campground picnic table – it is old, weather beaten, the seat is low to the ground, the table surface chest high. It which was once Forest Service brown, but it is now grey. Looking at the surface is like looking at a topographic map of the landscape – my elbow rests on a series of close lines, a mountain top of sorts.

So many campers have sat here and told one another stories. Maybe, like me, those more solitary, sat and looked downhill, first at the dusty dirt road, then at the distance stand of live/dead trees, then at the brick red rocky outcroppings on the distant mountains, the tree line barely discernable. The deadfall, might they also have thought that scattered trees resemble the stubble on a woman’s legs?

Pete and his pancakes
Pete and his pancakes

Pete is now hitchhiking back to the trailer. It’s Saturday, so the ATV crowd is out in force. One just stopped, its helmeted rider, about a quarter of a mile away, looked up at me. Yes, I am a strange sight, a woman sitting at a picnic table, writing in her journal. The dog is now going ballistic – “move on, move on,” I say softly, but with a tone of ire in my voice.

I did have an ideas day this morning. I went around the campsite and picked up camper detritus. I then lay what I found on the picnic table and wrote a note, which read “Pack it in, Pack it out!” We humans are such slobs. It’s a shame. It takes so little effort to take your baling twine elsewhere.

Pete went and stood by the road at 10 a.m. He is not there now. He must have gotten picked up when I was down by the creek washing the morning dishes and pots and pans. We had pancakes and powdered eggs for breakfast. It could be hours, days, or weeks before he returns – the traffic at this end of the world is minimal.

The dog is bored, the horses, highlined, are also bored. I am bored. Boredom is a cloak, like overcast skies, tossed on the top of us all. It is a different sort of day, for sure. Before Pete left we hobbled and grazed the mares. They’re now in the shade. I’m in the shade. The dog is in the shade. Venture out into the sunny areas, and it’s hot. I’d estimate there is at least a 10 degree temperature change. Pete told me that the altitude is high; this is why we feel the heat of the sun. Huh? I don’t get it. Sun is sun and shade is shade and the twain shall never meet.

I have not kept a single list since the onset of this trip. This is indeed, because life then became very simple. There are now a set of limited things that need doing because there are a limited number of physical objects to deal with. The axiom is, the less you have on hand, the less you have to deal with.

Like horse booties. Shoes might be better because they’re nailed in place. Boots must be put on and taken off feet. And at the end of the day, they must be cleaned of mud and debris. And, more so than horse shoes, they are easily lost. Fiddlesticks, I say.

The flies have found us all and are now zoning in. We were told by an ATVer this morning (as Pete was waiting for a ride) that the flies get really bad starting in mid-July. And additionally, the herders start moving their sheep into the BLM and Forest Service Campgrounds. As I told him, it is time to move on.

Next: 199. 7/21/19: Campground wait

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