Mogollon rim trail day 14: spiders


Mileage: 19

189 miles hiked

All night the sound of the wind and the rushing water in the creek. Suffusing my dreams with a sense of urgency. And a need to pee.

We wake at dawn to find our tent is full of spiders. We slept with the mesh unzipped and now, for some reason, there are wolf spiders everywhere- skittering out from under our neo airs, over our food bags, across the inside wall of the shelter. I grab them with my pee rag (and Muffy with her hand, because she is less afraid), and toss them out. We count twenty of them. Was it because of the wind? Did they come to us to hide from the wind?

Today the trail countours on hunks of red slickrock that are like melted cheese oozing out the mountain that hardened into stone. To our left the mountain rises up, there’s a stripe of pale rock in the cliffs and above that, the rim. To our right the sky unfurls, green ridges below us, the glittering roofs of small towns. Water trickles in nearly every drainage. It is nice.

The sky curdles around midday and a little cold rain falls. We set up the shelter for lunch and hide inside it, listening to the drum of raindrops and eating peanut butter on gf pretzels. We’re both so hungry, all of a sudden.

I’ve been listening to Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee, and it has been gutting me. It’s one thing to understand intellectually about the genocide of indigenous peoples and land theft on which this country was founded, it’s another thing to hear every battle that was fought in the west between indigenous folks and white settlers described in great detail. Nothing I read will ever approximate the experience of actually being indigenous in this country, but the book helps engender a fraction more understanding. I hope. It makes me think about the old wagon trails we’ve walked on this route, that brought white settlers to the area to push the native people out. The fallen down cabins of white homesteaders. The way things are named after the white settlers. The history on the Mogollon rim, the land of the Hopi, Apache and Hohokam peoples, didn’t happen so long ago. It happened just yesterday.

We camp in the trees next to a river, in a bed of last year’s yellow ferns. There’s a trailhead nearby, and we hear whooping- or is that turkeys calling? The rain starts again and we close the vestibules, eating dinner inside the warm, damp world of our tent. The grey light dims and I zip myself in my sleeping bag, releasing my spine, at last, to the earth.

I’m using these blog posts to help raise money for Francis, an El Salvadoran refugee who is raising funds for an asylum appeal. You can view his fundraiser here.

Francis’ fundraiser is currently at $2,500- day 15 from the MRT will go up on this blog when his fundraiser reaches $2,600 (and when I have service again). Let’s help Francis get the support he needs! Click here to check it out. And thank you! 😀