Fierce strong winds have been unbearable to walk against the past few days, let alone to breathe in.
Yesterday, a new threat raised itself to taking away my breathe. I simply could not breathe. At night I could not breathe. Climbing challenging hills I could not breath. Walking flat lands I could not breathe.
This morning I reported to EMERGENCY at the SPRINGSVILLE Hospital.
As my story unfolded, the ER Nurse clued me in. During high season - when thousands of Snow Birds descend each winter, ER beds fill up with "lowlanders" with trouble breathing. At 7,000 + foot elevation, the air is thinner than nearer the surface of the ocean. Not familiar to the thin mountain air, these folks experience the same symptoms of shortness of breath as I have.
The nurse, when I filled her in about my heart condition, told me to get completely off this mountain. Reduced oxygen content is particularly hazardous to athletes in high stress situations.
I took her advice by driving approximately 120 miles at 7,000 to 7,600 foot elevations down to the city of SOCORRO, situated on Interstate 25 some 100 miles South of ALBUQERQUE, New Mexico.
From SOCORRO, I plan to continue walking US 60 to the town of TUCUMCARI, New Mexico, where I will switch to US Highway 54. My detail route on US 54 and beyond will take me once again to Sister Carol, living in a Nursing Home in DeKALB, ILLINOIS...about 90 miles West of CHICAGO.
Yes, Little Sister, should arrive in early June 2014.
Scenery between SPRINGVILLE and SOCORRO is not much changed from the mountain tops walked the past week.
Some images of interest along the way:
This one store, PIE-O-MEER, put PIE TOWN on the map. For me, they were closed.
VLA Radio Telescopes dotted one entire valley. Very Large Array places the latest in technology to search deep space.
Railroad tracks circle the entire valley, on which the telescopes are repositioned, making this facility versatile to search different parts of the universe.
One town was of a reasonable size. MAGDALENA, New Mexico, was in the late 1800s, a major Silver Mining town, as well as being supported by expansive cattle ranches...so much so that the SantaFe Railroad extended their tracks to serve the fortunes to come to MAGDALENA.
Today, the silver is mined out. Today, the cattle are gone...as is the Santa Fe Railroad.
I still found much to see while trying out my depleted legs. Still at a rather high elevation, breathing was difficult.
Items in this true antique shop are for sale.
I once engaged in hand to "horn" combat with a deer much as the above mounted head. Injured with bird shot by a careless Bird hunter, I, at the request of the Game Warden, I found him among the trees and fired my 20 Ga., putting the deer down with a broken spine. I approached him...he lowered his head to gore me...I dropped my gun, bulldogged the injured deer down by hand to horn grapple. Leaping onto his back, lay my head between his horns, I whispered softly to him... his tear-filled eyes gazed into mine.
He died in my embrace.
He - the deer - was the final animal I hunted. I still have some of the weapons I once used.
* * * * * * * * * * *
SOCORRO sits at an elevation close to 5,000 feet...the elevation of the sea of grass East of DENVER, Colorado.
I may take one more day free from serious walking.
Am reasonably certain I have sustained no further injury.
We shall see.