I walked about ten miles along River Road yesterday. Cars were going fast and were abundant for the first several miles. The sights were amazing nonetheless.
The sign below talks about Juan Bautista de Anna coming to that site back in the 1700s on his way to the San Francisco Bay Area, for the purpose of colonization.
Yet another unresistable use for plastic, below. I’m appreciating my plastic zip lock bags on this trip, I must admit! I’m not sure what I would do without them.
After about ten miles, I started to look for a place to “rough camp,” meaning without a real campground. It occurred to me that the river bed might make a good spot. It’s not private land, and the sandy river bottom would make a good foundation for my tent. About the same time I noticed that my right foot or ankle was hurting. Fortunately I found access to the river quickly; its not easy to find.
Sure enough, the river bed provided privacy and a nice flat, relatively soft camp site. I heard coyotes howling in the distance (familiar to me from my years living in Pebble Beach as a teenager) and I could hear the dull roar of Highway 101 most of the night. I reflected on how much the Camino Real, or DeAnza Trail, has changed since those early days of colonization.
Next morning I soon realized that my foot, or ankle, was not getting any better. I hobbled around getting my breakfast, and water from the river. I had a water filter with me, fortunately. The water in the Salinas River must be polluted by agricultural run-off and who knows what else; I trusted my filter out of necessity. I was out of the water I had brought from Michelle’s. A friend of mine who back packs often instructs me to determine where my next water source is before making any days itinerary. I understand that now more than ever.
Setting out this morning, I walked very slowly to avoid further injury to my ankle. I couldn’t believe this was happening! On my fifth day only, how could I be stymied so soon? Right about then I got a call from my friend Gloria Kalisher, an M. D. who lives in Soledad and works at the Soledad State Prison. I told her about my ankle and she wanted to come get me right away and give me a ride. Earth pilgrims don’t accept rides, I told her. The Earth can take care of itself, she said. And you need to take care of yourself! Gloria is a teacher of The Work of Byron Katie, and she made a good argument for her point of view. I told her I would call my friends in Gonzales, which was closer than Soledad, or that I would hitch hike. Hitch hiking seemed best, as people passing by are already going in my direction. Sure enough, a nice couple from Santa Barbara picked me up and took me to the home of the Gurlartes. I was indeed relieved to not have to walk the 8 miles on my sore ankle. I was grateful for my friend Gloria, and for the Gularte’s who have welcomed me warmly and into their busy family life.
The blessings continue!