Whew. I needed rest. Being barely able to walk will do that to you. Rest on a long trail is just as important as days you make miles…especially for someone like me who has led a relatively sedentary lifestyle the past few years. Granted Kirk and i get out more on the weekends than a lot of people we know, but this level of activity is a big change for this 37-year-old body of mine, and everything was screaming “REST!”
After breakfast at the Silver Cafe, I headed to Coach Massage next to the Little Toad Brewery for an amazing treatment by Marshall…he assured me I would be right as rain, and as he worked on my back and legs I really did feel better. He gave me a few more stretches to do on the trail, and that hour and a half gave me confidence that I could manage this sciatic pain…and affirmed what I already knew…doing regular yoga on the trail will help keep the pain at bay. YOGA I LOVE YOU.
I’ve had a regular yoga practice before the hike, and let that go the first week on the trail, but it makes sense that I need to continue…even just 20 minutes before hiking each day, and a few minutes at night will be a nice compliment to spending months in the wilderness…yoga is a moving meditation and can only help me connect to the world around me in a deeper way.
After that I ran errands and was picked up by Steve, my dear friend NEMO’s friend’s parents who live in Gila, 40 minutes west of Silver City. They put up friends Dude & Trouble last year on their hike. He and his wife Nena are no strangers to the aches and pains of the thru-hiker and I knew i would be in good hands for a few days.
I figured 2 zero days would give my back and hips a chance to heal, get the inflammation down… and wow, what a little oasis…a few strawbale buildings peppered their 2 acres, and I had my own little guest cottage retreat.
We immediately found common ground, and I felt right at home in their simple and rich life in the desert. Steve set me up with some books and I spent hours in the little cottage reading “A Story Like the Wind.”
We had fascinating conversations about everything under the sun, I helped Nena pick rocks, ate delicious and healthy meals, and most of all had plenty of time to rest up.
I’m excited to enter the Gila River canyon and spend some time soaking in the numerous hot springs along what will be one of my only river experiences in New Mexico. There will be cliff dwellings to visit, dramatic canyon walls to marvel over, and water. There will be water!
I’m so grateful to Steve and Nena for their generosity, and hope to cross paths with them again in the future. Steve even convinced me to take a book, Aldo Leopold’s essays from his time in New Mexico and Arizona. (I’m a sucker for books, and all three of us are big book lovers.)
Ah. Now to head north…