Yeah, its become routine and I kinda like it. I especially like waking at sunrise.  Each day it’s been pretty consistent- I think one morning I slept in until eight thirty, yet even that day I had woken promptly.. then kept rolling over and over again to try to stay asleep. Another advantage of the mummy bag, it has a full hood to go over your head that is fully dark.

I finally made it to Walmart today and I was prepared with a good list. I aimed for five days worth of food plus a three day margin of extra can goods. Of course a few thing got added on the fly yet mostly, I stayed to the list. And, I’m glad I delayed the time I did for this trip, each day had new items added to the list.  Had I gone the first day, I already would have needed to go again for the same items I picked up all at once today.

I have a habit of over shopping and also over purchasing, yet that part is secondary. Whenever I need something, I always want to run right out to the store- instant gratification. Back in Jackson, living right in the city, I could commonly go on store runs or errands two or three times a day. More than that, some trips (to go buy a cup of coffee?) were more entertainment or distraction, or even a way that I would work some degree of socialization into my life during the winters.

I’ve decided I need to acclimate a little better as I did not originally pack for desert heat nor did I anticipate exactly this type of solitude. I did hope for this level of solitude and thought, yet I didn’t realize there would be so few other people around in order to get it. (There are a few neighbors now, yet I’ve spoken to none.  In the sunset pictures, you may be able to see a small popup camper near the lake.) On part of the acclimation is to wean myself off shopping, as it can no longer be a daily ritual- no matter how much I like my “Walmart walks”.

What do I like so much? Well all of it- seeing people, the walking, the cart. It is so nice to walk with the cart- a big incognito walker. I never did use a walker for long on my own, I got rid of it as soon as I could. Yet, here I am still taking the advantages of a walker to aid my balance. I am getting used to using my cane again too, with it I can stand and act normal (ha, I think) for short periods of time, yet even the cane doesn’t provide as much support as a cart.

Over the last few days, I thought of how I could simulate the Walmart walk out here. I just need a big cart to push.  Well, that wouldn’t work, over the last few days I settled on picking up a pair of trekking poles, then in addition to the walks I’m doing (two, sometimes three walks a day around the primitive loop, just over half a mile) I can start to add it one long hike each day. Long.  Gone all day kind of long. Pack a lunch kind of long.  Come home past dark kinda long.  Well, I’ll get there.

For now, I was thinking of walking in the heat of the day- as a windy eighty out here is rather nice and a pair of jeans is a bit much. I do have a couple pairs of gym shorts as well, yet they are not sturdy enough for me to carry my firearm. Also, my baseball hat has worked so far, yet before I put serious hours under the sun, I knew I needed a better hat. And, one more thing I’ve missed since I left Michigan, was spending time walking barefoot everyday- hard to do that out here, nothing except rocks, gravel and a little loose dirt and sand.

Slowly, the plan for the trekking poles came into mind, followed by a pair of sturdy cargo shorts, a pair sandals, and a new hat. I could fully blend into a bus full of hiking tourist now. The hat even has the back flap to keep my neck safe from burns too. I was anxious to try on the new garb when I got home. I’m glad I have my good belt (a quality solid quarter inch piece of leather) as my waistline is far from filing up a pair of thirty two inch shorts- I need to add a lot of muscle back still. (Yet sadly, an inch or two higher has all kinds of dad-abs floating around- muffin top I think they call it.)

I haven’t worn a pair of sandals like this (three velcro straps, over the toe and around the front and back of the ankle) since I recall I had a pair on spring break of my freshmen year of high school. I’ve always been a shoes and socks person, especially outside. Yet here, my feet have been warm all week. Warm enough to feel sweaty all day. And being March, the temperature is not going to be getting any cooler.

Food fully stocked, gear fully stocked, now I’m out of water. Tomorrow I’ll fill the jug (seven gallons) whenever I head up to the campground to shower, then I three more days at this spot until I at least have to pack and leave for twenty four hours. Then I could come back to this campground, or relocate if I can find any better spots closer to supplies while maintaining the solitude (an the five G cell coverage.) Also, trees would be nice.  I love all this sky, yet more trees would be nice.

Also, more stakes. Having played with the tent all week, I realized I like bungy cords more than I thought, also that when you put in a stake, you want it to be staked. done.  All the stakes that came with the two tents and the good tarp, were all the seven inch steel type.  Yet in this soil, the top four inches is dry shake.  The stakes were not doing well.  Mostly, I’d have to double or triple up on them to get them to hold at all in some of the bad spots.

Sometime last week, I picked up four each of the heavy duty type of stakes Walmart sells to try them out.  One was lightweight three sided aluminum deal. The other was a twelve inch, quarter inch thick nail. The nails work pretty darn good, and are easy to remove.  I picked up a full set of them. Enough for me to setup everything with them. If I put a stake in at the next camp, I will put a stake in once and be done with it.

Also, these seem sturdy enough (so far at least, we’ll see if the winds pick up) to mount my tripod for the radio mast. So far it has been radio silence in New Mexico, not a single qso in weeks.  Now I’ve got the antenna up, so I’m looking forward to that after my big long walk tomorrow.  Let me set myself up again for tomorrows post: my big long walk tomorrow – I expect an hour or more and several miles.

Ha, we’ll see what happens.

Time to rest.

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