It could have been a lonely walk from Heber to SnowFlake. The planned campsite was eleven miles outside Heber and I arrived there at a little past noon. That’s when I made a commitment to walk on to Snowflake. (another twenty miles) I thought it would be nice to spend Easter in a town and attend a local church. I also knew that if I could get a day ahead of the march I could take a day off.
For the most part it was a ﬂat road heading straight as an arrow across high desert or prairie as many locals call it. The asphalt seemed to ﬂoat across this landscape filled with buffalo grass, sage brush, and scruffy Juniper’s. No one traveled the last 20 miles with me. I passed almost no human habitation. If it weren’t for the company of a few crows I would have been totally on my own and would only have heard the occasional vehicle drive past. I noticed the shadows of the crows flying overhead as my eyes watched the pavement in front of me. Occasionally they would land atop a juniper. Other times they might find the ground a more gleeful spot to caw as I walked past at my usual 3 miles per hour. This agitating dance continued for miles. The weather shifted from spotty rain to a cold consistent drizzle. My core began to chill and I had to stop and put on a second ﬂeece layer. The crows didn’t seem to mind. I occasionally tried in vain to mimic their caws. It would draw their attention but they weren’t interested in responding to my communicative attempts. When I got in sight of Snowflake the crows disappeared as did my sense of being alone.
I spent a moment along the route at a monument dedicated to Eliza Snow Rogers, mother of 15, who died in 1926 along this same road in a snowstorm. “Navajo County’s Most Harrowing Death” reads the inscription. This is an opportunity to mention all the old rugged crosses along my journey. The roadways are filled with markers. Death shadows highways like those crows that were brieﬂy mine. I can’t keep a count of all the monuments to loved ones lost along the roads we have walked, and you can’t imagine the number of creatures of all types lost to the roads. At three miles per hour it adds up.
Crow country. It reminded me of the Carlos Castenada book, The Teaching of Don Juan. Can you listen to books on tape as you walk? On second thought it might be too influential! Interestingly, NPR interviewed the junior Senator Flake, from Snowflake, yesterday. Pretty funny for a Republican who mostly told jokes/puns tortures about his name. His ancestor, Flake, was the first founder. Later, came a Mr. Snow and that is how the town became Snowflake. So your monument on the road was a decendant of the Snow founder.