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  • Hannah Grabenstein

Days 16-18, Silver City and Santa Fe

So I have reached both the metaphorical and somewhat literal end of the line, in that I’m not going any further west. In fact, I’m starting to head back east.


This is largely because I have done what I have accomplished to do which is kill some time and hang out and enjoy myself and see the country while waiting to hear back about a job. And now I’ve heard back so I’m Little Rock-bound.


I was supposed to leave Silver City Wednesday morning, and I’d booked a camper outside of Joshua Tree for Wednesday night (it would have been a long haul but totally possible). Then the next day would have been another long haul up the inside of California and then I would have been in San Francisco, bopping among friends I have there.


But I woke up Wednesday morning incredibly anxious about that plan. I’m not in financial straits now by any stretch, but I also don’t want to put myself in a financially imprudent decision, and the farther west I went, the farther east I’d have to travel. Gas was only going to get more expensive. And I was fooling myself if I thought I’d be fiscally responsible in San Francisco.


The more I considered it, the more I realized I could just as easily decide not to go. I’d booked the Airbnb, for sure, but that was a sunk cost, and that’s the one logical fallacy I understand. So I canceled it, asked my aunt and uncle if I’d be imposing by staying another day with them and they graciously said of course not. I breathed a sigh of relief, and I realized I made the right, if slightly more boring, decision.


And I’m glad I did because now I’ve heard that I’ve got a reason to go back east and boy, that sure would be a bummer to spend a day or two in San Francisco only to have to turn around and haul ass back to Little Rock. Now I can meander from Santa Fe, where I am now.


Anyway now that I’ve gotten ahead of myself: Silver City was great. It was a lot of spending time with family and learning about my roots (interspersed with learning about other people’s families and roots, as my aunt and uncle are big fans of PBS’s Finding Your Roots). My great aunt had tons of photos and stories and newspaper clippings and mementos, and it was really great to hear about that side of the family.


Beyond that, we largely enjoyed the benefits of living in such a beautiful geographic area. My aunt and I went on two hikes, one to see dragonfly petroglyphs at a river. That trail was also used by people on horses and mountain bikes, and at the end we ran into a man who works for New Mexico Conservancy (I think?). He had these two beautiful golden retrievers with him who ran through the tall grass. I got some really lovely photos of them.


The other hike was to the Catwalk National Recreation Area and that was just awesome. The catwalk was used by old miners to get the ore down the mountain to a mill and has been rebuilt by the feds countless times after floods. At the end of the official catwalk, we hiked a little further along a path that they’re reconstructing, and then I went even a little further, crossing the river on some logs and rocks and forgetting how hard it is to hike at a really high elevation. I sound like a broken record but it was so dang beautiful.


Please know I’m writing this during the commercials for the new Broad City. I made a commitment to myself that I would keep this travel blog but I also made an even greater commitment to myself that I wouldn’t miss Broad City tonight so you know, priorities.


We also went to trivia and I want it to be known: I helped my team win an ultimately meaningless victory (because our team was too large) by knowing that Galentine’s Day was created by Parks and Recreation.


This morning I bade farewell to Silver City for Santa Fe where I’m currently staying in the kitchiest but also really wonderfulest motel called the Silver Saddle. It’s all western-themed, with old comic book covers of The Lone Ranger and black and white photos of horses and a whip on the wall (and kind of poor wifi…). On the way up I stopped at this burger restaurant in Hatch, which is the green chile capital apparently, and a national wildlife refuge. I meant to go on a hike but as I was driving I missed the trailhead, plus it was raining, so I shrugged and gave up. Instead I pulled over a little later and watched what I think are some sandhill cranes forage around and some ducks paddle in a little marsh. Good enough.


And then I did exactly what I wanted to do and I saw a dang movie at one of the two Regals across the street from each other a couple of miles away. This is something I cannot explain. They are apparently both Regal movie theaters? One has 14 screens and the other has 6? They’re LITERALLY across the street from each other? Anyway I saw “Isn’t It Romantic” and I feel great.


I think I’ve only got one or two more entries left in me. Santa Fe, Albuquerque-ish, OKC(?), then Little Rock. Hopefully a little more nature and hiking and savoring the end of this trip.

Playlist: 1. The Town and The City, Los Lobos

2. All my old podcasts (Reply All, This American Life, The Good Place Podcast, The Daily)