After snow & hail late yesterday afternoon, I awoke to clear skies and lighter winds. I left camp & headed with fellow marchers toward the New Mexico border. Locals refer to this road as the ancient way. It heads to Zuni Pueblo and on to Gallup N.M. As with so many roads in this part of the country it is straight as an arrow with long dips and rises that allow us to see miles in front of us as we walk. It was a beautiful day but as with the previous two days it grew quite windy. At mile four from camp we passed the Witch Well Saloon. It was closed at 9:30am as we passed. The remaining miles to camp passed very quickly and at a bit past 2pm we made our campsite which was around 15 miles from our morning campsite. The site was about a mile from the New Mexico border and 12.5 from Zuni Pueblo. The view on down that Ancient Way into New Mexico drew me to make a shot at Zuni Pueblo and leave the planned camp behind me. I had heard from a local that Zuni Pueblo had no motels but did have a quite nice local B&B that was reasonable so I put the windy campsite at the side of the highway behind me and headed on to Zuni. It was a beautiful walk with Butte’s and mesa’s in front of me. They seemed so far away but as the hours and miles past they closed and at about 6:30 I reached town. I walked another mile through the Pueblo looking for a diner with no luck and then returned the mile to check out the B&B. It was then I realized the time had changed and it was now an hour later. Now I am thinking it is getting late for the B&B … it was. Nobody at the Inn to answer the phone or here my knock at the door. Zuni Pueblo looks interesting with a little daylight but for a man who has used foot power to enter town and will need it to make his exit, darkness can seem a bit unsettling. When there is no place to lay your head after walking nearly 30 miles you ﬁnd yourself in a bit of a conundrum… a tired, hazy, conundrum. Yes, a phone call earlier in the day would have solved this problem but phone service has been spotty to non existent and It didn’t happen. I was very fortunate.(although by 6am I may no longer think so) There is an all night gas & convenience store in the heart of Zuni. The two clerks offered me advice on contacting the B&B owners and broke the bad news that nothing else is available till Gallup which is another 35 miles down the road. There is also no taxi in Zuni and the bus service only runs weekdays… ouch! But after all that bad news they said it was ﬁne for me to stay in the store and take refuge at a table where they serve the hot dogs, drinks and chicken wings. I could call back to camp and get the blister bus to come get me, but it doesn’t seem quite right since I got myself into this situation all on my own. The store clerks check on me from time to time with questions about how far I walk and does my face hurt from being so red … it’s windburn from a long, long day. But it seems funny having Native Americans talking about how red my face is. As the night passes they shift back and forth from English to a native tongue. I am immersed in native culture as I sink in and out of consciousness …. what a day. Have I learned anything? Life is.
The March will catch me tomorrow afternoon right here in Zuni but I’ll be sleeping in that B&B all day. Instead of hearing from me, they’ll hear tales of the lone marcher who kept the all night vigil with the night owls at the Zuni Giant Convenience store.