Lotta Road, Little Trail Through a Dusty Land

This past stretch from Pie Town to Grants consisted of a lot of road walks.  “Road walk” is a broad term as there are a few different kinds of roads we walk on: asphalt, gravel, dirt, Forest Service, paved, unpaved, open, narrow. Each has its pros and cons but there is something special about walking on a road designed for fast cars and large trucks.

That’s a real straight road.

The crunchy cadence of gravel beneath my feet keeps a rhythm to the trot and provides a constant beat to remind me that my legs are still moving, without having to look at the ground the whole time.  Although there is no blacktop, the heat is still visibly rising from the road.  When the wind whistles, dirt blows across the flatland, occasionally creating dust devils. The bushes blow reassuringly. 

Yesterday, we spent the latter half of the afternoon and the rest of the evening strolling through Bonita Canyon on a dirt road.  Muy bonita, indeed!  Although the freezing temps at night had me running around camp before dawn in an attempt to get warm after vacating my quilt at 5:45 a.m.  After stuffing everything into my pack with cold fingers, I started walking around 6:20 without stopping to shed layers until the sun hit my person over an hour later. 

Altar Superior footprint on a sandy stretch of road.

After exiting Bonita Canyon, I turned onto Zuni Canyon Road to continue toward the town of Grants.  The canyon was narrow and the buzz of car engines could be heard from miles away, echoing against the rock walls, slowly getting louder and closer.

You notice a lot more walking on a road at two to three miles per hour while the metal machines fly by at 55 to 60 miles an hour.  Birds chirp and fly close to the trees.  A rooster calls in the early-morning shadows of the canyon walls.  Every little detail in the landscape gets more attention.  Meanwhile, vehicles pass by and the dust blows over all the roadside trees as I walk through, pulling my buff up over my face.

Flowers not covered in dust.

“I wonder why progress looks so much like destruction.”  John Steinbeck


Thanks for reading!


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Comments 5

  • Steve : May 21st

    Nice writing!

  • Douglas Gebhart : May 21st

    I didn’t know that you wrote so well, though in hindsight it makes sense that you would be a good writer. Trek on, I’ll be following from here on out.

    • Brian Cornell : May 26th

      Haha thanks Douglas!

  • Jack Lam : May 21st

    Good stuff…will be following your adventure…+vibes your way

    • Brian Cornell : May 26th

      Thanks Jack! I can feel the vibes from here


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