Monday was a day of firsts: it was the first time one of us would walk alone, and the first time that no cars would pass for an entire day.
Rebecca had decided it was best to rest her foot for a few days while Tim would walk across the Salt Flats. Since there are no good places to stealth camp along the barren salt flats, she would assist Tim by picking him up at the end of the day, and dropping him off at the same spot the next morning. Early Monday she and Tim went to the car rental place and drove to the beginning of the Salt Flats.
After The Rockies and the desert of US-50 (Nevada), the Salt Flats were the biggest challenge of the walk. The high temperatures, the blinding light from all around you, the isolation, and even navigating a path across were major obstacles.
Tim and Rebecca agreed to meet near the end of the frontage road, around 6:30 or 7pm that day. Tim didn’t want to spend more than twelve hours alone on his first long distance solo walk. You could still see the Interstate, to the north, from the frontage road, but you couldn’t hear it. There was a single train track running parallel immediately to the south, but only one train went by the entire day!
Looking down the road, Tim noticed a am unusual site. We don’t carry binoculars, but our digital camera has a 40x Optical Zoom, so to see detail from really far away we zoom in, Tage a photo, then inspect the image. We can even zoom on the digital photo for even more clarity!
It was the strongest wind Tim had felt on the walk so far. Sand from all around had blown clear across fences and onto the road. The road turned into a beach for a mile or two. Most cars would of had a problem getting over some of these sand dunes. It reminded Tim of summers going to the beach and the dunes along the southern shore of Lake Michigan.
After battling against the gusts, it was time for another snack break. This was the highlight of the day. Tim planned on taking a rest and reflecting upon a sculpture in the middle of the desert.
It was so peaceful to be alone with this statue (minus the few cars every couple of minutes driving on the highway). The Tree of Life gave Tim the chance to reflect on the journey so far, having already walked across two states, and just starting the third. It also gave Tim time to eat peanut butter and jelly on tortilla.
Near 6:30pm, Tim texted Rebecca his location so she could pick him up in the car and drive to a buffet in the casinos at the state border with Nevada! Tim spotted her using the binoculars/camera as soon as he saw a shiny dot on the sandy road on the horizon.
Day one went on without a hitch…. we’ll without a snake, which is more important than going without a hitch. It’s one of the only important things. Day two did not go off without a hitch.
Day two alone was going fine, you could say it was going on without a hitch, until a seemingly innocent stroll along the side path of the interstate. Tim didn’t listen to Google Maps for this tiny part. We’ve learned the Google Maps is great, but it isn’t always the best. It often has missing gas stations it restaurants, and sometimes lists campgrounds or grocery stores that aren’t there. This time it said to go about a mile out of the way along a dirt road, but instead Tim chose a more direct route, one only a small tractor could fit on.
This landscape gently turned into a plain. Tim was minding his own business until he came upon a startling site:
It was a live snake! It blended in with the rocks so Tim nearly stepped on it. He jumped back and by instinct grabbed the camera to risk his life for the blog readers! (Anything for views!)
After the snake episode was done (Tim slyly creeped around the snake as it was looking the other way), Tim continued on his way. After a few more lonely miles (only 7 semi-trucks over 8 miles), he spotted rock art in the middle of nowhere. It was at least 10 miles to the nearest highway exit or building, and sat there unknowingly on the side of the road. It almost seemed as if it was made for me.
In the final stretch of the second day alone, Tim thought his snake-steppin’ days were through. They were just beginning. Always look a few steps ahead of yourself, unless you want to confront this:
We have no idea what this snake was up to. It didn’t move, but Tim didn’t stay around to take detailed notes either. It appeared as if the snake had attacked itself. It’s fangs were out, and it’s mouth was a little bloody. It really looked staged.
Tim texted Rebecca so she knew when to meet him at the gas station in the middle of the dessert (and drive to a snake-free campsite). As he spotted the gas station from about 6 miles out, he felt an extremely strong gust of wind, which nearly blew him over. Off in the distance he noticed the largest dust cloud he’d ever seen. The clear view of the gas station was completely covered in a matter seconds!
Tim had enough snakes for the day (and hopefully for the whole trip).
Today(s) Tim walked through:
Rebecca: N/A steps
Tim: 47,964 steps and 62,616 steps
732 miles finished