The Kindness Of A Postman In Los Alamos

We had it all planned out – 4 weeks in Santa Fe National Forest. A month of mountain biking, climbing, and hiking. Boondocking spots that we could move between when the 14-day limit came up were picked out. We had packages mailed to town and plans for Jerud to fly out of one of the nearby airports.

Then we pulled up to our first boondocking spot. The entrance was totally caution-taped off. Red signs with “STOP / NO ENTRY / FIRE HAZARD / FOREST ACCESS PROHIBITED” and a big X through every outdoor activity stood in the middle. There was also a notice warning there would be a $5,000 fine to anyone even going on national forest land.

Turned out the entire Santa Fe National Forest was closed because of high fire hazard from June 1 – December 31 (we arrived on June 1). Specifically because over 120 abandoned campfires were found by forest and fire officials and over 84 were over Memorial Day weekend alone. This is while there was a fire ban forest-wide. Seriously people?

And just like that, the plans we made for the next month became useless.

Figuring out alternative logistics for Jerud’s flight was going to be a pain. But the bigger problem at that moment was our packages that were being delivered to the Los Alamos post office. Tracking said a couple were already at the post office, but the rest were still a week out.

Finding an RV park or paid campground was an option, as it always is. But that cost adds up quickly at ~$20 - $40/night. One of the main ways we make this lifestyle affordable is that we boondock almost exclusively.

We headed to the post office to pick up the packages that were waiting for us. While there, we stood in a corner and lamented about our situation as we tried to figure out what to do about the packages still on enroute. The two guys working at the counter asked us what was up. We started chatting and the next thing Jerud and I knew, one of them offered us parking on his empty property, for free. Just like that.

Random acts of kindness like this don’t happen often. But when they do, it’s phenomenal.

Ted the postman grabbed a piece of scrap paper and drew us a map of where his place is. He gave us just the name of the exit, a “big tree” and the color of the house to look for. Armed with that minimal information we headed down the mesa.

We laughed at the sweet absurdity of the situation as we drove into the neighborhood asking each other if that was the large tree Ted was referring to. Eventually we came across a driveway with a chain across it, as Ted had mentioned. Leaving the Toaster parked at the entrance, we walked onto the property to scout it out.

Aside from having barely any cell signal, the next week of moochdocking worked out well. We were able to still visit Bandelier National Monument as planned, and spent some time in Los Alamos, which I surprisingly really, really liked. Ted became our personal postman and would text us when our packages arrived!

We believe in repaying people’s kindness, like Ted’s, in some way. We don’t have a lot of money, but we do have able bodies. It turned out Ted had been meaning to trim the large tree we were parked next to. So that’s what we did and it felt good to be able to do more than saying “thank you”.

Jerud trimming Ted the postman's tree.



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