Sunday, February 1, 2015

Arkansas: Bathrooms for Tall People

The Tall-Woman Restroom

On my way to South Louisiana for Year Two, I dropped straight down through Arkansas.  I stopped at a rest area that was remarkable for three reasons:

1. Look. You men who hang stuff on walls: When you hang a mirror in a ladies' room, do NOT hang it at the appropriate height for YOU. "You" being your 6-foot, 3-inch self. I could see the top part of my head in these mirrors. Had to reach up to get soap, and then there's gonna be a cranky group of womenfolk battling to wash hands AND dry them on that piece of equipment between the two sinks. ... And while I'm on the subject, do none of you have children? They are shorter even than I. ... Then there are women in wheelchairs.

2. The cool thing about this rest area is that it actually has campsites.

3. Another notable thing is that it's the Salado Creek Rest Area. .... Which reminds me of another Salado place - November 2012, Salado Canyon, in New Mexico, where I encountered ...

Cloudcroft, NM: Salado Canyon Trail, and a Whistle Killer

Salado Canyon, near Cloudcroft, New Mexico

AKA: New Mexico: Fall Colors, Part 2

Recently, New Mexico's rails-to-trails organization opened a new trail route to Bridal Veil Falls, which is in the Salado Canyon, near Cloudcroft. Truthfully, it's closer to High Rolls, so you can go with that, if you prefer. 

I didn't go there.

But I did take a short walk on the related Salado Canyon trail, to the trestle bridge.

Before that, though, I did a due diligence search for some fall foliage, and I found a little here, at the creek crossing on the road that I have not yet followed to its end.

Salado Canyon, near Cloudcroft, New Mexico

I turned around at the creek and went back to one of the trailhead markers. Got out and almost as soon as I set foot on the trail, proceeded to slip and slide on the loose gravel.  What the heck? So I placed my feet a little more carefully, and all was fine. As I walked, I could just feel myself become lighter, airier, freer. Disney bluebirds were about to flutter into my bucolic bubble. Just as I puckered my lips in preparation for whistling a happy tune, I saw a flash of something unnaturally white in my peripheral vision, to the right.

Salado Canyon Trail, near Cloudcroft, New Mexico

I walked over to investigate.

Bones. A trail of them. Leading to an empty hide, dried and contracted from days of exposure to the sun. A dark brown pelt. Largish.

Mountain lion? Mountain lion?

Trail of bones, Salado Canyon Trail, near Cloudcroft, New Mexico

Carcass that used to cover said bones, Salado Canyon Trail, near Cloudcroft, New Mexico

The Disney bluebirds evaporated in a pouf, as did my whistle of a happy tune. My inner wuss had returned.

My rational mind told me not to be stupid. There wasn't even a sign at the trail head saying to watch out for mountain lions. But my wuss side tried to do numbers on my head.

This didn't keep me from continuing my walk to the trestle bridge, however. The train that used to chug its way through here was the Alamogordo and Sacramento Railway, primarily used to transport lumber from the mountains to the basin below. I'd learned from a museum docent a couple of weeks ago that once trucks were pressed into the lumber-transporting service hereabouts, it was discovered they were more economical than trains, especially since they were able to carry longer logs than the trains. So the train business petered out.  

View from trestle bridge. Salado Canyon Trail, near Cloudcroft, New Mexico

There were quite a lot of large droppings on the trail. Probably horses. I didn't take a picture of the droppings.

It was nice to stand on the trestle and listen to the creek below.

Later, once at home, and having successfully rebuffed all non-existent mountain lion attacks, I thought I'd exercise some cognitive therapy and find out how many mountain lion attacks actually occur in New Mexico. I estimated virtually none.

I didn't want to see this headline right off the bat: New Mexico Man Torn Apart by Mountain Lion.

I found a less salacious source of information here: Mountain Lion Attacks from .... . The author has compiled reports of confirmed (and unconfirmed) attacks for North America, formatted per decade. This link happens to take you to the 2001-2010 page.

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