Five days of hiking was necessary to walk from Santa Fe to Alberquerque. I pushed my body hard walking approximately 91 miles. The post holing through deep snow at the top of Sandia Crest at over 10,000 feet was hard since I was just at sea level.
The picture above shows the wildernesses boundary sign as I leave the wildernesses and approach Alberquerque for a day of rest. Two hours prior I was in four feet of snow, and now I am surrounded by cactus.
The route went as expected, except the deep snow because I thought there would only be about a foot on the crest. I also expected people I encountered along the way to be nice, and this is true. I was offered a beer over a barb wire fence, and Delphine & Camellia chatted with me how the Fallon plate subduction and continental rifting created the Sandia Mountains. I laughed because this strangely made me think of Maria. (I know Maria is laughing now, during COVID we watched a college geology lecture series that talked about this, now two people on trail are telling me about the New Mexico rift.)
I am enjoying my day of rest with Marsha and Larry parents of my friend Patrick. I was just greeted by their corgi as it hopped into the bed, but who’s legs were too short to hop off. This made me laugh.
I am looking forward to what is to come because the start has been very enjoyable.
I just desended 1900 feet down that Luz trail on the west side of Sandia crest. It was pretty amazing I’m very glad I had one prior set of foot prints showing me the way, with the route stomped in front of me I still had to be careful because there were some drop off‘s but generally it went pretty easy.
Tonight I will be in Alberquerque visiting Patrick’s parents, and I need more food. I somehow already consumed most of what I started with.
to sum up my adventure so far knowing I am only on day five - splendid.
The pre-hike relaxation time with Maria in Santa Fe is warming our hearts with laughter. Slowing down, walking with Maria, appreciating the omnipresent art, strolling from gallery, to park, to an adjacent adobe wall, this will allow me to conjure up my memory with a smile. It will give me strength, and smiles when needed on my journey through the spring, summertime, and fall.
I love you Maria, we will miss each other, our love and happiness will be sprinkled about like the soft snow that is floating down upon Santa Fe. Both of us will share our love, all summer long with everyone we meet.
Tomorrow the Four Corners Loop walk starts, I am relaxed and ready for the adventure I love.
Santa Fe is adorned with Saint Francis the patron of Animals, which is quite fitting, and gives me comfort.
FCL you are about to be visited by The Animal.
Thanks for reading
Kevin Koski - The Animal
My neighbor asked me how I was planning to honor the indigenous land that I will be crossing in my trip. Immediately I replied “I planned the route to not cross any reservations so I need less permits.” I also though in the time of Covid tribes do not want people on their reservations.
I quickly realized I did not fully understand the questions and the answer gave showed my ignorance. She was talking about all land, because the land I walk across was cared for by a vast number of Native American tribes for centuries.
I have spent some time thinking about my first quick response and realize it came from my lack of education and a lack of respect. I live in the Pacific Northwest, the land of the Salish people. I am minimally aware of the history of indigenous people in my area, and with my limits of knowledge I have always felt that indigenous people got robbed of their land. For example, is the Yakama Nation’s reservation located where they traditionally lived most the year? The answer is an unsurprising no. They live off the abundant Columbia River salmon runs, but their “reservation” lands are not along the Columbia because they were robbed of their land along the river. It continues to this day, the Colville tribe were recently robbed of their entire livelihood when the Grand Coulee Dam was developed cutting off the flow of salmon. The absence of salmon above the dam continues to have negatively effects for the Colville people.
Can I say I am educated on the indigenous people of the Salish sea, because I have typed a few sentences here. A few sentences that are based on some reading, but probably mostly opinion. An opinion which lacks basic knowledge of their struggles caused by the forced changes of the white man in search of resources.
If I neglect to honor the indigenous lands of the Salish Sea, do I have the knowledge or capacity to truly honor the indigenous lands I will travel through while hiking the Four Corners Loop. At this time my answer to the question is no. I don’t know enough. I have not lived on and not cared for the lands for over 10,000 years like Native Americans have. They know the land and I am only beginning to enjoy it as they have done for centuries.
I appreciate my local radio station KEXP 90.3 because they frequently make public service announcements acknowledging the fact they are broadcasting from the land of the Salish and Duwamish people. Acknowledging native peoples and their land they cared for is a start and I look forward to learning more as I travel.
It has always been my plan to learn about the land, and the people on the land as I walk for six months. I do look forward to learning about the indigenous people of the Southwest. I tried to honor the region with the creation of the Four Corners Loop Logo the sunset and the juniper tree, but now it is time to honor the indigenous tribes who’s land I will be traveling through.
I would like to thank and honor the following tribes for who’s land I will enjoy and you will enjoy by following me. I will respect the land for its beauty and honor it as you have for a long time.
Havasu Baaja (Havasupai)
Nuwuvi (South Pairte)
Shoshone - Bannock
White Mountain Apache
I know I will be awed by the views, sounds, silence. I look forward to learning more as I walk which will enable me to respect the land and take care of it as you have done for a very long time.