Continental Divide: Mile 1600

Only the sun seems to change, moving along its arching path as I walked. Over every desert hill lay another and another after that. My two-track dirt road ran across them in a long, straight line, turning only when it seemed the road tired of a single direction. It felt like I’d brought a large picture of desert grass to the gym, hung it up in front of a treadmill, and started walking.

Other roads crossed my path every few miles. At each, I’d stare in both directions and wonder where anyone could have come from and where they would go. Once you are in the middle of nowhere, why move?

But I guess that’s the only way out, to move, and so I did. I walked hour after hour, from one water source to the next, drinking their bitter water, but drinking it anyway because the sun beat the sweat out of me. My legs caked in dust, my lips chapped, and I felt like walked nowhere until finally, as the sun dropped low in the western sky, I saw them.

They rose like ghosts in the distance, gray like clouds, but jagged and raw. They cut into the sky like teeth. The Winds. I’d never seen them before, but I knew them. They were plucked from my imagination and placed on the horizon like a beacon of hope in a sea of grass.

The Red Desert is not endless after all.