Section 6: Columbus to El Paso

 

Day 68

19 miles

 

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Our camp had the perfect view of our trip’s halfway point. El Paso here we come!! We were on a highpoint and the valley stretching into the city looked totally doable in the morning light. Tenny was still feeling sick but managed to keep putting one foot in front of the other, knowing that being sick in town beats being sick on trail.

 

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We hit a cow trail first. Vehicles on the highway flew by as we meandered on our dusty little track. Time to dodge cow patties. We weren’t following any real route and we kept zigzagging to avoid brush and fence line. It kept us off the road but it made progress slower than usual. After a couple hours of this, Claire had the brilliant idea to look at a map and we crossed the highway to find a perfectly straight and maintained road on the other side. Feeling sharp today!

 

Specks of red littered the road. It took us awhile to realize that bits and pieces of chili peppers were spread all over. At times the smell of heat was so pungent it was irritating. Above us a helicopter moved, then another and another. Three already today. It’s not particularly hot but the sun is intense and it’s easy to fall into a dull monotony of unremarkable thought.

 

Still far from the outskirts of civilization we passed an abandoned house. Cattle grazed in the yard, traipsing through dirt and an odd red pigment.

More chili, maybe chili powder?

Further we found the stuff pouring out of a bag until it mixed into the scene and made it all look a little bloody. Yuck.  

 

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As we neared town GoogleMaps tried to route us way way down and around a railroad track running across our path. Of course being the cross country loving hikers that we are we decided to try and hop the tracks rather than go so far out of our way. Oof. Not exactly the easiest route as we discovered. We made quite a spectacle of ourselves next to a large industrial office park with plenty of witnesses leaving work for the day. We can’t imagine what they were thinking, seeing two girls with heavy packs emerge out of nowhere.

 

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A fancy vehicle halted next to us and a guy rolled down the window. He looked amused by our appearance and asked, “you just got off the trains, didn’t you?” We tried to convince him that we weren’t hopping trains, just backpacking the border. It didn't work, he was convinced we were lying and told us he didn’t believe us. He worked for the train systems, a supervisor of security or something. We were too exhausted to argue our case so gave up and said goodbye.

He went to pull away, but stopped again and repeated his question, “you really use the trains, don’t you?” It was so hard for him to believe!

 

We have finally made it to the outskirts of El Paso and so roughly it’s a huge relief. Time to Lyft to a hotel and grab a beer. We will get back to you in the morning.

 

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