Sunday, May 20, 2007

Day Eight

I got up at 5:15 and me and my roommate Mary, went to meet Ron Lautenbach for an early morning hike.

We went toward the mountains and met our group at the head of a trail that led into an old ghost town.

We saw some elk up on the mountain ridges, which was pretty cool. But the ghost town was fabulous! This was the real deal!

And the nature was great, too!

We hiked longer than we initially intended, but how often do you get to hike with a famous mountaineer? So Mary and I decided to just enjoy the morning and eat breakfast in the cabin. We got to class just in time!

My class today was Tracking and Sign Cutting with Charlie Pirtle, a former Border Control agent who has caught over 12,000 aliens using tracking techniques. He still teaches tracking techniques to law enforcement and border control agents as part of the State Department’s Anti-Terrorism Program. He was a great teacher, and the class ended with him leading us outside to follow a track he had made earlier that morning. We followed Charlie’s boot prints on dirt roads, through grass, mud and gravel, into and out of arroyos, and we even noticed where he had sat down for awhile and rested the but of his rifle in the dust. We finally found our goal—a note of congratulations tied to a juniper. Yay, we won!

It was now nearly noon—time for lunch and time for Dan to pick me up. I was anxious, since our phones didn’t work in the area and we hadn’t been able to contact each other and confirm any of our plans. But Dan showed up right on time, as promised. My bags were all packed and we got my gear loaded. Back at the cafeteria, I had some soup and they allowed Dan to have a lunch—sloppy joes and potato salad. We had a nice time talking with a couple from Albuquerque, and we got on the road at 1:00.

It was nice to be on the road again, even though storms continued to swirl all around.

We got to Santa Fe around 4:00 and met my father at the New Mexico State School for the Deaf. It was my first time to see his office. We made dinner plans, then got checked into our hotel and washed up. We had a nice Mexican dinner, and then my father and I went for an evening walk.

Tonight I’m exhausted. We’re heading south tomorrow to my Dad’s house in Bosque, near Belen. Once there, we’ll figure out what we want to do for the rest of this trip. We have lots of options, and all of them are good.

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