Day 109 – Fuzzy Balls and Prickly Bushes

Day 109 – Sunday, October 13, 2013

Fuzzy Balls and Prickly Bushes. We are talking desert. Julie notes “But I bet we have your attention now.” Today we hiked from our campground site in Oliver Lee Memorial State Park into the Lincoln National Forest. The trail climbs more than 1,500′ and is 2.9 miles long to reach an old line cabin in the Dog Canyon. Beyond the old stone line cabin the trail becomes quite technical, and steep, with boulder jumping required. That is where we turned around. Julie notes “Nothing to do with the fact that I couldn’t lift my legs or feel my feet by this point. We just decided we’d seen enough beautiful scenery for one day and would leave the boulder jumping to others. Plus I hadn’t replenished the Band-Aids after the javelina incident yesterday. And I’m pretty sure we would be using them if I tried boulder jumping.” It was a hike of about 10 kilometres, round trip, of steep, rocky terrain. A good workout for these 2 old curmudgeons. We were both tired and sore by the time we got back to the camper and Advil, beer, and wine were our friends. We were also starving. We had water with us and a pack but no food. The hike took us about 5 hours round trip. Julie notes “I know! What are we a couple of greenhorns on our first hike? I was hoping Brad had remembered from yesterday’s Living Desert tour, which parts of all these fuzzy balls and prickly bushes were edible.” We grilled up some smokies. Julie made a delicious salad and we stuffed our faces. We then headed to the showers where we both had a nice long hot shower. Ahhh. A good feeling for sore aching muscles. Julie notes “The campground being in the foot hills of these mountains means that even the shower building is up hill on the way there ‘oh my aching tired muscles’ and downhill on the way back ‘oh my miserable sore joints and feet’ but the bathrooms are beautiful and clean. We both danced around in our respective washrooms though trying to figure out the motion sensor light fixtures. And both ended up showering by sky light only. The light sensors are a mystery to solve another day.”

Fuzzy balls.

Prickly bushes.

Our camper is in the lower centre of the picture, near the blue trailer on the left side of the campground.

We are looking pretty spry at this point in the hike. Not so later on. Julie notes “Yes just when he thought I couldn’t get any sexier I found my ski socks, hiking boots and one of my Kayaking Goddess hats. Oh Ya! You can tell by the placement of his hand and his expression how much he liked my latest look.”

Leaving the State Park and entering the Lincoln National Forest. Julie notes “Yikes we forgot a snack AND breadcrumbs as well to leave a trail with. Someone had spilled a clump of Goldfish Cheese crackers though. We barely glanced at them on the way up but they were looking pretty tempting on our way back down. We could actually see the tiny speck of our camper at that point so left the crackers there for some other hungry man or beast.”

The muleskinner showing his best side. Julie notes “Well it is better than the back end of an old motorhome!”

We spotted tarantulas in 2 different locations and one unidentified snake on the trail. We named the snake Norm.

The sidekick pointing out the tarantula with her hiking pole. Julie notes “He mentions that so you could tell which hairy legs belonged to whom. No tarantulas were harmed in the making of this blog.”

Dog Canyon Trail Number 106. All the roads and trails here are numbered and mapped which makes it really easy to find out where you are and where you are going. Julie notes “It doesn’t make the trails any easier to climb though. They should be numbered easiest to hardest. Maybe some kind of blister and sweat scale could be included too. Just an idea. This is a National Forest and as you know the governing parties who run these are closed otherwise I would send in this suggestion.”

If you look closely, you can see the trail winding its way up the canyon. Julie notes “Looking at this view you’d probably be tempted to high five and chest bump and say ‘Hey we must almost be there! Right on man! That is totally righteous dude!’ But if you look at the trail marker at this point you will be actually saying ‘WTF? (What’s That Friend?) We’re only half way there? You are freaking kidding me!’ The best part of the day though was passing people heading up the trail all red faced and sweaty as we were heading down. Brad would give them encouragement and tell them what to expect up the way. I would stagger past them and ask ‘What day is it anyway? Is Bush still president?'”

Mile 2.5 of a 2.9 mile trail. Julie notes “This is where a fitter person whose lungs and feet weren’t on fire would jump with glee. I bent over and tried to catch my breath and wished Brad’s backpack contained gel insoles.”

Where did that boulder come from? Julie notes “Don’t look at me. I didn’t put it there. If you look closely there is a prickly pear cactus clinging on to the top right edge. Crazy how green everything seemed despite the rock and desert clime.”

A view back down to the valley from the high point of the trail. Julie notes “Any chance on getting a piggy back ride back down? I understand now why they call it Dog Canyon because your dogs are barking by the time you’re done hiking it.”

We made it! Julie notes “And Brad made it back into the frame, first attempt, after hitting the timer. He only had one dash left in him after that hike.”

Julie thought there was supposed to be a B&B here? Well, it probably was a B&B 100 years ago. Julie notes “Well there is a rusted bed frame already there. Just have to add a few feminine touches and maybe a roof and an easier way to get here and we’d be in business. We could call it the B&J-B&B. If you can believe it, they drove cattle from canyon and ridge top spring and summer grazing areas through here, down to the ranch below, which the campground is located on. This is the remains of the Fairchild Line Cabin used during the drives.”

…over and out, the muleskinner and his sidekick

Julie notes “Here’s hoping I can walk tomorrow after all the exertion. The tarantulas and snake were exciting to see but the most dangerous beasts we saw on the trail were a young couple each with a holstered weapon. His a glock and her’s a revolver of some sort. Really? Were they worried about being robbed by hill bandits, or maybe would have to shoot a snake scurrying off the path, or perhaps hunt their supper? I’m just glad I didn’t trip and fall or they may have just put me down. Oh well, different mindset than me for sure. On a different note we watched the most incredible sunset tonight. The colours in the New Mexico brochures, postcards, etc. are not exaggerating the beauty of these in the least. Kept us enthralled for about an hour. Ok feet, one more task today, take me to bed and you can have the rest of the night off.”

2 thoughts on “Day 109 – Fuzzy Balls and Prickly Bushes

  1. Quentin

    Oh come on… Boulder jumping. But what comes first… Boulder jumping or the big balls in Wipe Out? One gets you ready for the other I bet…
    Hmmm fuzzy balls an prickles bushes reminds me of the beach in Dominican.
    Love the tarantulas..
    Kelly and I did a hike kind of like that… Oh actually it was a rollerblading path…. Up out of the big valley we were in….l WTF (why they fast) people zipping by you happy as can be as we could not figure why we could not get going.. Till we hit the end and turned around…. Hey look how far we came up. Then we got to wizz on people on the way back…


  2. Heather

    I actually contemplate the reasons why you called this specific post, “Day 109
    – Fuzzy Balls and Prickly Bushes | muleskinner.
    ca”. In any event I personally loved the article!

    Thanks for your effort,Jeffry

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