Thursday, July 11, 2013

Craig to Hayden

I'm currently in Winter Park, CO.  I'm at a hotel called the Best Western.  I don't know why but I feel like I'm not getting any blood into these blogs.  There is just so many amazing things and so many amazing people that the amazingness just starts to become common.  It is hard to articulate it, if that makes sense.  It is so crazy when, for lack of better words, when every day miracles happen, you know what I'm saying?  I'm always thankful, but I'm at that point now where I have to plan for the kindness of others.  I only take about a day's worth of food with me, even if it takes 5 days to get to the next spot.  I only take about a liter of water with me.  The reason is because everybody just keeps bringing me food and water, bringing me supplies without me asking.  Like I said, where God guides, he provides.  And I have to plan for his provision.  If I stock up on food and water people will bring me stuff and I either have to turn them down or I have to carry too much food or water, and I never want to make them feel that I am ungrateful.  Anyway, back to Craig.  I came into Craig on Friday and my birthday was on Sunday.  Not a lot went on there in Craig.  I mostly just camped out in the hotel and let my body and LeeRoy rest.  The only thing about the time I spent there is that Shawn and Andrea came out for my birthday.  They brought me birthday cake.  We went to a local spot, played pool and had pizza.  I love those guys to death.  They keep telling me that they are going to be there at the end of this walk, and I hope they are.  I hope everybody is there.  I hope I walk into Times Square 50 strong and we can make a statement.  It is absolutely fantastic.  We took a bunch of pictures and they headed back home to Vernal.  The next day, again, headed back out on the road.  Steamboat, here I come!

I walked 18 miles from Craig to Haydon.  It was daunting, hot, grueling and I was unhappy about it. I planned on camping between Craig and Haydon but I was so close that I decided to keep on walking.  We pulled into town and there was only one restaurant open and they were going to close in about half hour so I posted LeeRoy outside and went in and ordered some food.  I swear to you I had been in that town not even 10 minutes.  This random lady shows up.  She is a very thin lady, long stringy, thin dishwater blond hair.  She is very, very soft spoken.  Very kind of passive aggressive type.  She stars questioning me about what I am doing.  Not about the project necessarily, but about where I got the goat, why I have leather and duct tape on his feet.  She says to me right off the bat "goats are not pack animals" and I said "yes, they are" and (this is the only time she was aggressive with me) she says "no they aren't" and I said "yes, ma'am, they really are"!  I was feeding LeeRoy french fries.  She says "do goats eat that, because that's bad for goats".  I said "it's fine".  She said "you are hurting your goat".  Right then I realized that I'm in some serious trouble.  I immediately pull out my card and had it to her, tell her about the orphanage, tell her about what is going on over there.  LeeRoy tried to pull and strain to get to my French fries, his collar is pulling on his neck.  She reaches for his collar and says "oh my God, you need to loosen his collar". I push him back and show that his collar is actually quite loose.  She is like "have you been cleared by Animal Control"?  I asked her "what do you mean, like to walk through this city"?  She said "to walk a goat across America".  I told her "you don't need permission to walk a goat".  Now, here's the thing, she is not raising her voice, she is acting all innocent like she really doesn't care and is trying to question me like she is a good person, and I'm not saying she is not a good person, but at this point I am starting to get frustrated.  It has been a long day for both of us and I just want to eat and set up camp.  She says "I'm going to call Animal Control".  I say "do it".  She goes inside the restaurant, gets the number and comes back out.  She tells him that the animal is in danger and then I hear her say "call me back after you call him".  I know what that means.  That means Animal Control is going to call the police but she doesn't want me to know it.  I'm not stupid.  She then starts questioning me about Uzima.  My first words were "it's in the slums of Nairobi Kenya.  She interrupts me and she says "I have been there, it is not a slum, they don't call it a slum".  OK, THAT'S IT.  I have crossed that line from being courteous and go into WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO DO RIGHT NOW.  I go into what we are trying to do over there and she immediately tries to discount everything I was trying to say.  I look at her with a very serious face, no hesitation to jump down her throat and I say "what are you trying to do right now".  She looks back at me like she is the victim, like she is my friend and she is all concerned, "oh nothing, I'm just asking questions".  I look back at her with intensity in my eyes and I say "if you have a problem, you can walk away from me right now".  She say "oh, no.  I am just concerned for the animal".  I stand up and I get LeeRoy and I say "do you want to see his hooves, do you want to see if there is something wrong with him"?  I pull out my knife.  I realized in that moment that I might be starting to go too far.  She says "no, no, no.  I'm just concerned".  I can feel just the anger rising inside of me.  She is playing the victim card so well in this scenario that there is no way I can get mad and come out on top so I just sit down. We sit there in silence for a few moments.  You can cut the tension with a knife.  I take a couple sips of my drink and a couple bites of my burger.  I look up at her and I apologize.  I say, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to be so aggressive,  It has just been a long day and I might be a little over-tired".  We sit in silence for a few more moments.  The Animal Control officer arrives, along with a police officer at the same time.  I stand up to greet Animal Control to shake his hand, she is still sitting.  She gets very quiet, doesn't say a thing.  So I speak up for her and say "I think she is concerned that I am abusing my goat, hurting him in some way".  She says "that's not what I said".    I say "I'm sorry, then what's the issue"?  She again doesn't say anything.   I immediately kind of go into defense mode.  "look I'm walking across America.  I put these boots on him for protection and extra comfort.  My goat is not injured".   He says "yeah, that's smart.  I put dog boots on my hunting dog".  He says "what's the problem here" to her.  She just kind of mumbles and puts her hand towards the goat  "is this OK, is this legitimate"?  The control officer is looking at her, leaning on one foot "oh yeah, I used to have a pack goat".  She says "isn't this too much weight"?  He touches the backpack and says "oh no, oh no.  Goats can carry way more than this".   I hand the officer a card and I say "I think she is concerned if this is a real gig or if I'm just stealing this money".  The officer asked for my ID.  He wants to check to see if I have any warrants or anything like that.  During the time we are waiting she says "so how are you going to make it back from New York"?  I said, just trying to keep the conversation civil, "I will probably fly".  She says "oh so you are going to use some of the money".  I swear to you, in that moment, I almost lost it!  On the inside my emotions are red lining on the outside I'm keeping it calm, collected and cool.  The lady said to the officer "how do I know this is legitimate"?  I look at the officer and say "you can go online and Google it, take my tax ID number".  No phone had good enough service right there so they couldn't Google it from their phones.  I was able to pull it up on my phone, show them the website, show them pictures.  During that time the lady says "my business is right around the corner.  Let's go there and use my computer".  She went with the officer to verify that I am not a fraud.  The Animal Control officer donated.  The police officer came back and said we were all straight and free to go.  I finish my meal and just as I'm about to leave she shows up.  She offers me a place to stay at her house and tries to apologize.  It's not like I don't forgive her and I totally accept her apology, but I want nothing to do with her and definitely don't want to stay at her house.  By the time it's all over it was dark and I still needed to find a place to camp.  Across the street was the city park.  It's crazy!  All the kids hang out until 3:00 in the morning in the parking lot of this city park.  I decided I wanted to be as incognito as possible.  I blew up my sleeping pad and just threw out my sleeping bag right behind the park bathroom, no tent, no nothing, just sleeping pad and sleeping bag.  Pretty much like a homeless guy.  The whole time kids kept running around me, talking to me, pet LeeRoy, take pictures.  Then something was wrong.  My air mattress had a HOLE in it!  It would deflate in about 20 minutes.  Man, did that suck!  I'm just thinking about the next time I could get an air mattress and that was a pain because I had to at least use this pad for 4 more nights.  Then, just about when I'm going to fall asleep the sprinklers come on in the park.  I know that sound!  That is the best alarm you can ever have!  The sound of air and water being pushed through the tip of the sprinkler, kind of sputtering.  I'm on full alert, wide awake, DEF CON 5!  First things first, SAVE LEEROY!  I run over to him and grab him, untie him from his tree and run to the front of the bathrooms where there is concrete and no sprinklers.  I tie him to doorknob of the guys' bathroom.  I run back to get all of our gear.  That's when it happened.  A straight head shot by the sprinkler!  I'm barefoot and the grass is just wet enough to where I slip and fall.  I pick up all my gear and head to where LeeRoy is at.  Now I can't decide if I want to sleep inside the Mens' bathroom or just in front of it.  Since the light inside was automatic and LeeRoy would just pace around I just slept outside of it.  WE DIDN'T SLEEP A WINK!  I was up all night long.  Kids racing their cars around the parking lot, sprinklers coming on, LeeRoy stepping all over me and my sleeping bag, my sleeping pad completely flat.  It may have been the worst night of this trip so far.  At about 6:30 the sun rose and all I can think is "I HATE HAYDON"   to be continued......


  1. I'm so sorry, I'm laughing...first an animal rights nut and then the sprinkler and the hole in the air pad.....

  2. Take a deep breath! You are awesome! Sometimes it seem that animal rights people get a little carried away... a lot of domesticated animals prefer to be around people. Have you ever had a dog say no to a car ride? "That's okay, Mom, I don't want to go with you. I'd rather just hang at home here with the neighbor's dogs."

    A lot of your supporters are actual "goat people." We raise goats, we milk our goats, or pack with them, or even raise them for food. But we KNOW goats. Lee Roy is fine. You are doing/have done a good job researching the best way to care for him.... although, French fries are not all that good for him...or you!? :)

    an excellent high carb, low-weight snack for Lee Roy would be plain old fashioned QUaker Oats...

    Keep calm, my friend, and CARRY ON!

  3. Haydon is so far behind you. look at where you are today.

    btw, I've sat and read all of your blog posts to this point. dont mistake ppls silence for you not getting your message through. Sometimes you can read a great article or story and the you're going to leave a comment but somebody says something and someone else RUNS to their keyboard and before you know it everyone is ugly and righteous. so even though I've read your stories back to this point, I havent commented--even though your events.and insights have spoken to my heart. not on a religious level but on a spiritual level that I think many ppl connect with beyond boundaries. so don't get let down if your not getting a lot of responses. I think a lot more peace dwellers just see what you're saying, and say nothing but in the dialogue in their head, they're reviewing what you said...remembering it as days pass and hopefully intergrating that into their self actualization.
    what a horrible day. what a horrible woman. followed with a horrible night. I'm sorry. I pray Haydon never appears again. walk strong, Steve. you made it.