I Made it Through the Wilderness

Sep 26, 2010 Leave a Comment

Literally.  I bet Madonna can't say that.  Anyway, so, yeah, the wilderness...  not as scary as I thought it would be.  I seriously thought I would die during the first day of walking 9 miles just to get to our campsite.  Surprisingly, that was far from the truth.  It wasn't difficult at all.  In fact, I might even say it was easy.  This is due in part to the fact that there was hardly any elevation change (about a couple hundred feet or so) and also because I didn't carry much at all.  My coworkers all decided that they would bring their backpacking packs and carry about 45 lbs. each.  Why, I do not know, considering we had these guys to carry in our stuff for us.

My backpack weighed around 23 lbs.  And let me tell you, it makes a huge difference.  I never regretted my decision to pack light, but everyone else was saying stuff like, "Oh I shouldn't have carried all my clothes in my backpack."  Ummm.... ya think?   

There were several opportunities to take pictures on the way up, but the first thing I took a picture of was something I thought Matt might be interested in.  It's the remnants of a downed plane.  The plane was being used for drug trafficking so it's not like there were any heroic feats going on, but it's interesting nonetheless.

This is your plane on drugs (I thought of that about 2 minutes after taking this picture)

For the most part, all the scenery while coming up was just trees trees trees, and it was hard to see much else.  But there were a few rare times that we were able to see some stuff like this.

There were two main things that we were uncertain about at our chosen destination.  We knew that there would be a cabin, but we had no idea what the state of it would be.  Would it be a livable place to keep dry in a rainstorm or would it be a dilapidated, run-down shack?  We also knew based on the topo map that there wasn't a lot of room to pitch 5 tents around the cabin, so that was going to be tricky.  The other thing we weren't sure about was the state of the springs surrounding the cabin.  There were several on the map but in New Mexico that doesn't mean very much.  The spring could be flowing marvelously or it could be completely dried up.  We didn't know.

When the packers passed us on the trail as they were going back down, they said the spring looked good.  Actually, I think their words were "Not good enough for horses, but good enough for you," in terms of the amount that would be available to us.

It wasn't much longer before we reached the cabin and the spring, but when I saw the spring, I'm pretty sure I said, "wait, that's it?"

Upon seeing it, my boss was also a little concerned about our water supply.  Luckily, it looked like it would recharge itself if we pumped it.  Then, one of my other coworkers continued down the trail a little way and found a second spring that seemed to be a little bigger.  The only problem was, it was dirtier.

Mosquito larvae infested mud water.  Yummy!

We used a variety of different pumps and filters to get our drinking water from the puddles to our water bottles.   There were two PUR filters and then another one from MSR.  They all clogged within minutes after we started pumping.  It was a good thing we had a lot of replacement filters.  The MSR one was the weirdest because it let you know it was clogged by squirting water out of a little hole in the front.  At one point I got sprayed in the face because the pump was clogged and the spout was facing the wrong way.  That was fun.  Anyway, so if you want to know anything more about water filters and pumps, I know a little bit more about them now than I did two weeks ago, which totally makes me an expert.

That's basically how I spent my first day in the wilderness, and how we dealt with the water situation.  I'll have to write more about the living situation later because somehow my long weekend is already over and I have to get ready to go back to the field tomorrow.  It's a never ending cycle.


  • Chloe said:  

    "Mosquito larvae infested mud water. Yummy!" hahaha so funny!
    I would have never drunk from that water. Never. I'd prefer to die.

    You're brave.

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