Past Milligan Gulch, approaching the Magdalena Mountains – 3/26
Ten miles of forest road between two fire towers made navigation simple. Food. I put away my maps and walked, sometimes over gravel, sometimes dirt, sometimes snow. Food. There are no cars this time of year. Food. The gates are still closed from winter. Food. The fire towers are locked and empty. Food. The entire mountain is mine.
I can see the next range in the distance as I walk. Food. The Magdalena Mountains sitting there on the horizon with a silver observatory glinting from the top. Food. Popping in and out of view as the road snakes along the mountain’s crest. Food. An expanse of low desert stretches between us like an ocean between two islands.
All I think of is food. My pack is light. I feel it in the shoulders and hip. The straps aren’t biting into my skin. There’s space inside, air where there should be food. I think of that empty road from two days ago and wish I’d held out my thumb a littler longer. Maybe a car would have come. Maybe.
I have enough. I know I have enough. I stare in my bag and count the calories, subtract the miles, come out ahead. But barely.
I reach the second fire tower and stare off at the horizon. Food. Yesterday’s Blue Mountain. Food. The Black Range. Food. Tomorrows Magdalena’s. Food. The flash of the steel observatory on top.