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 The Trek: The Journals

•
Team: South
Lorie McGraw
Sunday, August 11
Mountain Lake and a Visitor
Hi, Everybody
As I write this I am sitting by a mountain meadow. It is early morning in SE New Mexico, looking at a mountain lake with a raven croaking in the distance. Last night I heard an owl call right near my tent, being answered by another across the ridge. I am at Snow Lake Campground, in the Gila National Forest about 40 miles from Reserve NM.

The trekkers will be coming in this afternoon from their 4 day horse packing trip across the Aldo Leopold Wilderness area. From the vistas that we have seen, they must be awestruck to be traveling them firsthand. I just hope they are not too saddle sore.

While the trekkers get to see stuff up-close, and have the experience of hiking, backpacking, and trail riding, we on the support team have been keeping busy, too. We have not been sitting around eating Bon-Bons, that is for sure.

Our maps here on the Southern Trek are perpetually frustrating. We have a checkerboard of private and public lands and the trekkers are learning the hard way about proven/vetted trails, and ones that are just shown on a Forest Service map or that are taken from GPS coordinates. Those ravines and scree slopes do not show up well on maps. Mapping software, services, etc. continue to snarl us. Bob, the technical guys that come and volunteer their time with us, and Weatherbee, the Earth Analytic fellow doing our map work, have all been working for hours on end making sure that the trekkers 1) stay on public land for the whole trek and 2) try to get routes that are passable and do-able for the trekkers. Not an easy task and it takes a whole lot of time. They have all been working very hard on it.

Southern Team Support has other logistical problems, too. Not to complain, but the Northern support team has camped in a campground with showers and amenities for 10+ days. We, on the other hand, have spent each day in a dry camp or a semi-improved campground, seldom even pit toilets, and no showers in 90-100 degree heat. Plus we uproot camp nearly every day and re-establish new camps further down more Forest Service Roads. It has not been easy, but it has been fun most of the time. Thank goodness for the motor home. It is small, but it has been a god-send at times. And, to be fair, we did have 2 days in a motel with Lovely Showers last week. It just seems like it has been longer than that.

Cars and drivers are a never-ending problem. Friday we went into Deming from Mimbres (2 hours) to put new tires on all of the vehicles. Hurry up and wait was the word for that day. Vipul, our dear medic, had to head back home to Chapel Hill, but he hopes to rejoin us later in the trek. We will miss him. And we are now 6 drivers for 6 cars on the support team. Heaven help us if one of us gets sick while the trekkers are off trekking.. Shuttling cars and drivers is an on-going challenge.

Then driving from Deming back through Silver City to Glenwood (~3 hours) to camp overnight there. It was so late that I just sacked in the Honda Pilot. A little stuffy, but roomy for short folks like me.

But on Sat. morning we woke up, eggs and bacon for breakfast, and we hiked up Whitewater Canyon to see the "Catwalk", a narrow ironwork walkway in a slot canyon that used to supply water for mines and ffolks downstream. A very beautiful place. Like a cathedral. And the first time that we have been next to running water since the trip began. It is very uncommon here in the desert and I sat by the stream and listened to the canyon wrens and watchhed a lizard chase his lunch. Bliss. If I only had a hot (or COLD!) shower...... Some of the team hiked up to the little swimming hole at the top of the canyon and swam. They all had a great time, I think.

Then we drove over winding roads over hills and mountains to get up to this spot. High meadows so green, lake in the background, birds everywhere, very beautiful.
Ahh

We had a visitor in our camp while we had the tents set up. Ray Wier from Silver City and his dog Rosie stopped by, attracted by our new Pop-up canopies that say National Geographic/American Frontiers/PLIA on them. He is camping here at Snow Lake. If any of you are nearby when we come through, please stop by and say hello. We would love to see you! And we would love to hear what you have to say about using our public lands.

So, what is it like to try to keep food on hand for this crew? Well, these folks love to snack and eat. At this moment in my stores I have 3 boxes of raisins, 4 types of nuts (salted, dry-roasted, unsalted and honey roasted), 4 types of dried fruit, 6 boxes of "granola/cereal bars", 3 bags of pretzels, 2 bags of tortilla chips, ~5 lbs of apples and $20 worth of powdered gatorade. And I will most likely get suggestions for more snacks since I never seem to have everybody's favorites. It will all be gone by Tuesday when the trekkers leave for an ATV ride. For dinner I make 2 large Dutch Ovens of food when all are in camp. There is seldom any left. The open air really sparks some heavy appetites. Keeping fresh food on hand for 10-15 and 2-3 days at a time is a challenge. I try to add enough portions for 15 when cooking for 10, but I have not had any leftovers yet, except for the night I made spaghetti. I made too much pasta, something I frequently do at home, too. But no one has walked away hungry, I think.

Did you know that Richard and Jan have climbed peaks all over the world? Sitting in the car listening to them compare climbs is fascinating. Very neat folks.

Weather has been passable. Afternoon gullywashers and flash-floods, but no disasters yet. We can shelter in the vehicles most times, then dry out the tents and set them up. We have 2 big trailers that keep stuff dry and we also have the techie trailer with the satellite (how you are getting this) and computers.

Have to go start Beef Stew for the trekkers, they should be in about 6, it is now 3 in the afternoon. I am sure that they will be hungry and tired when they return.

Stay tuned.
Cheers
Lorie
for Sunday, August 11
North South Both




Biographical
•
Team: South
Lorie McGraw
Lorie McGraw

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List of All Journal Entries
•
Saturday, September 21
Lorie McGraw
The Call of the Wild
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Monday, September 16
Lorie McGraw
Rugged Beauty
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Sunday, September 15
Lorie McGraw
Calf Creek and Grand Staircase
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Sunday, September 8
Lorie McGraw
Lake Powell and Rainbow Bridge
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Saturday, September 7
Lorie McGraw
Rain in the Desert
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Friday, September 6
Lorie McGraw
A River and a Rainbow
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Wednesday, September 4
Lorie McGraw
Condors and Rock Art
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Tuesday, September 3
Lorie McGraw
Trekkers Return and an Old Cabin
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Sunday, September 1
Lorie McGraw
Hopi, Navajo, and The North Rim
   >> more...

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Saturday, August 31
Lorie McGraw
A hike, a bike, and web frustrations
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Friday, August 30
Lorie McGraw
The Big Ditch
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Wednesday, August 28
Lorie McGraw
A New Job
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Tuesday, August 27
Lorie McGraw
Halfway Point
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Monday, August 26
Lorie McGraw
Doing a job, or not?
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Sunday, August 25
Lorie McGraw
Red Rock
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Sunday, August 25
Lorie McGraw
Sunset Crater and CO Bar Ranch
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Thursday, August 22
Lorie McGraw
Flagstaff and showers!
   >> more...

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Wednesday, August 21
Lorie McGraw
Skunks and a practical joke
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Sunday, August 11
Lorie McGraw
Mountain Lake and a Visitor
   >> more...

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Tuesday, August 6
Lorie McGraw
Silver City, Here We Come!
   >> more...

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Monday, August 5
Lorie McGraw
Vanilla Trees at Iron Creek Camp, Gila National Forest
   >> more...

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Sunday, August 4
Lorie McGraw
On to the Gila Forest
   >> more...

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Friday, August 2
Lorie McGraw
Out of the (electronic) Darkness
   >> more...

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Friday, August 2
Lorie McGraw
The South Team is hosted at a Ghost Town in NM
   >> more...

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Wednesday, July 31
Lorie McGraw
First Day Highlight
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