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"It is the journey which makes up your life."

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Texas (aka - one month living out of a barn)

West Texas was absolutely stunning. Guadalupe Mountains National Park is a steep reef of limestone cliffs and canyons that towers over the northern Chihuahuan desert, to the northeast of El Paso. It is surprisingly lush - green grasses intermixed with chaparral, spiny agaves and cactus. Green even in September! There were many maples and oaks in the canyon bottoms, and a sparse forest of juniper and pine at higher elevations.

My trail crew spent four weeks camped in a meadow at the bottom of Dog Canyon. We had the use of part of a barn, with refrigerators, electricity and running water. I felt like I was swimming in luxury after doing the backcountry crew in Idaho, where we had no fresh food and all our water had to be carried half a mile uphill. The stars out there just overwhelm the sky, and there were dozens of deer that came down to our meadow in the evenings (we tried to get some of the bucks to stop fighting each other and take on Salas, with an improvised rack of antlers made of tools, to no avail). Everyone on the crew was great in their own way. We had a lot of fun together! . Our trail project turned out to be in a wilderness area, so I didn't get to use anything cool like dynamite, but we did have an awesome three mile hike up the canyon and out onto a ridge to get to work every day. Thanks to hiking six miles a day and moving so many boulders to make stone steps I'm in the best shape I've been in in years. That's why I love trail crew!


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