Thursday, July 10, 2014

7/20/24: 1208.4 to 1218.4 Stealth camping

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I tried cooking my oatmeal on medium heat today instead of slow cooking it on low. It predictably started to boil over, but I quickly turned the heat down and took the lid off for a minute. The oatmeal turned out lumpy instead of creamy as I like it. There must be something about the maximum temperature during cooking that determines the consistency of the oatmeal.

It was 59 degrees when I started walking about a half hour before sunrise. Last time I was too warm when I wore the fleece at this temperature, so I didn't wear it. It was a bit cool, but it felt good. Especially when compared to the hot sun during the day. The morning hours are certainly the time to get in the miles. 

As I wandered up the slight grade of the four-lane, I started thinking about places to stealth camp. For those that don't know, stealth camping is done in marginally legal areas. Make camp after dark and break camp before sunrise. Leave no trace of being at the campsite. I say marginally legal, because camping on the side of state roads is technically legal in Colorado. Still, it's better to avoid law enforcement and undesirables. From the books I've read about roadwalking, there is always someplace to stealth camp. The night reveals the hidden areas.

I found this little spot along the side of the road. The flash makes it look bright, and you can see at the top of the picture it's getting light outside. The bushes out of the picture to the right would make the spot completely hidden in the shadows to people in cars. The problem with this area is the drainage ditch. It could fill with water during a storm. Residual moisture might attract bugs. We don't have many bugs here, so they aren't a problem. The other problem with most areas is finding a level spot to sleep. Many of the level spots are also areas that collect water during rainstorms. We don't have that many night-time rainstorms here, so that may not be a problem. 

There are often good places to stealth camp on the "other side of the fence." Sometimes the fence divides the road from a secondary road on the other side. It makes me wonder who the miles of fences along roads are for. Are they to keep people traveling contained on their ribbon of asphalt? Are they to keep outsiders off the road? Or are they for animals? I understand when fences are along private property, but why do they put them where it's obviously not private property.

In the perverse way of society's thinking, people walking along a road are either a threat or odd. They would rather not see either of those types. Anyone who has broken down alongside a road understands how things change. The traffic moves faster than a person imagines inside the car. Sometimes the birds are singing. The climate controlled cocoon of the car is gone and they have to deal with the weather as it exists. The person may wonder if they will ever be rescued. What if a person who stops to help is a serial killer?

Today, while listening to "Life on Foot" by Nate Damm, I realized road walking is simply a different set of equations than backpacking in the wilderness. Each has its own set of fears and difficulties. Usually the fears are unfounded. The difficulties disappear as one learns to deal with them. After some time, things that appear to be hardships are a part of life and are no longer hard. I also realize everything is different while doing it than it appears to the person watching. Little pleasures become big pleasures and big hardships become little hardships. Yes, sometimes things happen that do cause concern, but it happens while living in a city, too. 

I was going to show a picture of Pueblo from a distance showing how small it appeared in comparison to the surrounding desert. But one of my cats stepped on the keyboard and somehow erased it from the camera. Not long after she stuck her head in the old pickle jar I was drinking out of. Her head got stuck and when she raised it up, she dumped the water all over herself. Fortunately, the water didn't hurt my keyboard. Poor cat. 

The Virtual Route finally turned north on this leg. There will be a short western leg later to touch California, and then I'm done with west until somewhere in the southeast corner of the United States. 

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