Yippee-i-oh, coyote on my tail.
Two miles running over hill and dale.
His chilling laugh echoes off a canyon wall,
makes me push the limit 'till I almost fall.
Faster, faster, I have to lose him,
everything is starting to go a little dim.
A look behind me, to my left and right,
I keep on running with all my might.
Now it’s calm, I start to slow,
no sound of his howl, yippee-i-oh!
Running in the desert of West Texas is always like a dream. I’ve heard many coyotes and even seen a few, but never had one follow me for miles. What did he want? A piece of me or my littlest doggy? I made it six miles down the rolling dusty track with my four legged friends tagging along, but now I must head back.
Last week I went on another wintery hike with a friend. This time up to N. Franklin Peak (7192 ft) near the Paso del Norte. The mountains were transformed from a craggy rugged landscape to one that was beautified by a blanket of snow. Yucca, shin dagger and sotol were reaching for the sun through the frozen powder. An icicle had formed in a most unusual way; like a twisted “T” growing out of the ground.
The Indian Hot Springs Rd that I run today is near the lower route of the Butterfield Overland Stagecoach. I recently read that in 1881, the last Texas indian battle was fought near here after a stagecoach was attacked by Apaches in Quitman Canyon. In 900 Miles on the Butterfield Trail, A.C. Greene writes, “And though we do not recommend spending the night there..., Sierra Blanca proved to be the gateway to what we consider the wildest, most picturesque miles on the entire Butterfield stage line through Texas: Quitman Canyon entered by Quitman Pass.” I often run the Quitman Pass Rd and have seen indian drawings on the rocks in an arroyo there. (Read Post)
Speaking of rock art, I recently visited the Three Rivers Petroglyph site with my family. This mysterious set of boulders, near Tularosa, NM and the Sacramento Mts, has 21,000 indian drawings of all sorts. The land is owned by the BLM and a campground is located further east towards Sierra Blanca Peak. From there, a 12 mile trail leads into the Lincoln National Forest, so I’ve added that to my “runs-to-do-before-I-die” list.
On the same trip, we also visited White Sands National Monument, which is the world’s largest deposit of gypsum. In other words, the sand dunes create the largest sandbox on the planet. Maddie had a great time running down the hills while Mom or Dad caught her before she face planted into the sand. The park is located adjacent to the White Sands Missile Range where I will run the Bataan Memorial Death March (26.2 miles) in a few months. Any race with death in the title sounds intriguing to me, but I’ll write more about that later.
Today I continue my 12 miler in preparation for the El Paso Half Marathon. As I head back towards Ft. Quitman, I try to keep my pace up even while ascending the steep rolling hills. I’m feeling winded and am not sure if I can hold on to it. A blister has developed on the inside of my right foot; an indication that I’ve become a tenderfoot. I’m working hard though, to get my mileage back up and my body in shape.
|Three Rivers Petroglyph Site|
Soon I’m at my 10th mile and discover that I’m running 10 minutes per mile. There’s no sign of the wily coyote that was trailing me earlier; just the sound of 24 canine feet (do the math) keeping me company. Only two more miles to go, Yippee-i-oh!
See you on the trail.