Day 169 / Mile 20,705
Texas was tite. It was great to see Christie, check out the local watering holes (swimming spots, not bars), and explore a state until now I had never been to.
New Mexico also was a state I had only seen in pictures, and with my research was really excited to make my own photos of.
The next stop on my list is White Sands National Monument, the largest gypsum dunes in the world. Heading out there was a lot of boring road, so my radio was turned to 11 for hours.
Long story short, we got lost out in the middle of the Badlands. While hiking into the wash of the desert searching for the beautiful landscapes I saw in books, a rogue thunderstorm came in and we took shelter near a large rock to avoid lightning. In that area all directions looked the same, and after climbing up to higher grounds I realized we had become completely disorientated. My GPS worked, but was kicking myself in the ass for not tracking the path better and saving the start point... that meant gambling on the direction back to the trailhead- which I lost. We hiked about 45 degrees NE off the correct direction for 2 hours, which lead an hour past sunset into dusk. I had survival gear, first aid kit, flashlights, etc, so we weren't totally screwed, just bummed on the situation since we had cold beers waiting for us back at the van. We hiked in the dark towards a light off on the horizon, which luckily out in the middle of this desert ended up being a house. A family was home, and a young dude was happy to help us out and drove us back to my van. ...we only hiked 7 miles in the wrong direction! He was stoked to just help us out, but the least I could beyond the many thanks was hook him up with a new pair of sunglasses, some cash to order a pizza, and have him stay for a couple beers with us.