The other day, I was hiking, and suddenly, the sky opened up and it started to hail. I looked up and smiled. The hail was a welcome relief from the constant sun and heat. I quickly pulled out my umbrella and kept walking without missing a beat.
I eventually caught up to my friend sitting under a tree. He was talking to an older gentleman– maybe mid 60s, who was dressed in a clean khaki outfit. The older man introduced himself to me as “Doug the Hermit” and told me that he had a cabin tucked away close by.
What?? A hermit? Really?? I had never met a hermit before, but somehow I envisioned black robes, and a long white beard. Maybe someone who looked like Gandalf or Santa Claus? Apparently, I was totally wrong!
Hanging out with Doug the Hermit
Doug told us that he was a Roman Catholic hermit and he had been living here, alone, for 18 years. He had friends in “the real world” and leaves his cabin once a year to get supplies. I kept asking him if he ever got lonely, and he would laugh and shake his head. He made it sound like he had plenty to occupy his time.. making meals, gardening, hiking, and praying. We kept asking him questions about his life… and then I asked him if his cabin had wifi and he laughed at me. Whoops, guess not. 🙂
My hiker friend and I had more miles to make, so we had to leave Doug. That night, I camped at the Gila River with 4 other hikers. And I kept thinking about Doug. And the more I thought about him, the more impressed I was with his religious hermitage. I have spent many nights camping, but what makes this whole adventure worth it is that I’ve shared these experiences with other people. And I admit, for me, sharing these moments and trails with other hikers makes it so much easier too. At times, my hiking experience is like a smelly slumber party with my best friends.
We have hiked across beautiful parts of New Mexico lately, and I can’t wait to see what Northern New Mexico has in store for us! Enjoy the photos!