Catron County, New Mexico has about 400 miles of paved road, and we're planning to walk every mile of it ... eventually ...

Friday, July 06, 2007


My very lovely friend Ethel mentioned that rattlesnakes are numerous around Quemado these days, and suggested that we keep an eye out for them. When we didn't see any west of town, though, we sort of stopped being vigilant.

So we were just strolling along the road headed east out of Quemado, taking in the balmy morning, when we heard the *buzz* of a rattle and realized that we had just walked past one. Naturally, our first instinct was to run out into traffic - fortunately there weren't any cars on the road - and by the time we had turned around to look, it had slithered off into the weeds. My daughter got a good look at its wedge-shaped head, but I didn't see much of it. I think it was fairly small.

Normally when I walk with my kids I walk on the side closest to traffic, because if any of us is going to get picked off I'd rather it be me. Then again, I don't want one of my kids to get bitten by a rattlesnake either, so we changed places so that I was closest to the grassy edge, and walked on. A mile or so later I had forgotten, of course, to be on the look-out, and walked past another rattlesnake. This one was a bit feistier than the other. It was louder, for one thing, and kept the rattle going while it coiled and reared up - its head was about knee-height - and stayed there vibrating with hostility.

The first one didn't spook me too much, but this one really got the adrenalin going - for another two miles we were very jumpy, and startled at every little sound. I must have passed within a foot or so of it, and never noticed it until it rattled. After that, we walked slowly and carefully, jumping out onto the road every time a cricket chirped or a lizard ran by. Good thing there weren't too many cars.

GPS batteries were low, and the silly thing kept turning itself off, so walking stats for today are approximate: ~5.75 fresh miles covered in about two hours, with a few long rests on the long steep hill between mile marker 39 and mile marker 40. I forgot the camera in the car, but I took a few pictures after the walk, before we drove home.

Old farm machinery.

Sign below the silhouettes says "LAST CHANCE PIZZA".

The lettering on the fin says "The AEROMOTOR Co, CHICAGO"

Windmill on wooden tower.


Post a Comment

<< Home