I had to do this one. I had done a really long walk across the state of New York for homeless dogs and cancer. Although I was currently not in any shape to do another long walk, and I had 5 rescue dogs with me, I suppose, given the shelter situation, the correct thing to do would have been to do a cat walk. So, after visiting the observatory, I did a little one…
I traveled through Apache territory down to the Catwalk. As I passed through Apache land in the middle of the night, I saw 2 beautiful huge elk grazing on the side of the road. That night, as I entered the park, the access road was flooded. I opportunistically gathered water from the creek at this point for the dogs, and realized that it was not that deep and so I passed through. The next morning, the wells are turned off, and I gather water from the creek for breakfast.
We are alone at the park, and so I took all 5 of the dogs with me on the trail. It was a magnificent walk through the canyon – the scenery of the rocks perhaps unequaled even by the Grand Canyon. The first half of the walk is wheel chair accessible, but transitions into a grated walkway. When I got to it, the dogs stopped, all 5 of them refusing to move forward along this walkway. I left them there, and continued on. When I arrived at the second more challenging part of the trail, I started to turn around to go back to the dogs, when lo and behold, I see Petey coming toward me, with Tammy and Scottie not far behind. They had overcome their fear of the grating to follow me for the last ¼ of a mile.
So, I pushed on for some more spectacular waterfalls and shots, descending the stairs to the largest pool while the dogs watched from above.
At the end of the trail, we even negotiated a swinging bridge together. Scottie, especially, was quite uneasy on the bridges. Anytime he could find a way around one, he took it. Sometimes, though, there was no other way. With Scottie, I felt like Jesus asking Peter to walk on water…
We returned to find Spin and Chandler waiting happily at the truck. There was an interesting mining ghost town “just around the corner”, well actually quite a steep climb on a 1 lane road up a mountain. I decided to visit, not really realizing the steepness of the incline to Mogollon ghost town.
The truck was not in great shape. There was engine damage from the overheating. The oil pressure gauge would spontaneously drop to 0 during the climb at difficult points, and also when accelerating from a full stop. The engine was coughing (misfiring) pretty badly on the trip down from Albuquerque to Water Canyon. It had sounded pretty awful down to the observatory, but was sounding a little better (perhaps the warmer temperature, or the lower speed, or a different oxygen concentration in the mountains). I had put a bottle of octane booster in the last tank. I definitely needed oil and a working thermostat.
Arriving at the ghost town, everything was shut down, but I observed some old cars that never made it back down the mountain, and hoped that the pickup wouldn’t join the exhibit. The price of gas on the tank read 20 cents.
A saw a little cabin that had been painstakingly reconstructed from the period… and wistfully reflected on the cabin that I had wanted to build.
We ended the day with a visit to honor Aldo Leopold.