Harpes for lunch at a very small, fenced in park with a water pump in one corner and a stone table inanother. Perhaps in a former time this bustled with neighborhood kids or families in the day and withyoung lovers at night.A woman whose horse trailer broke down joined us while waiting for help to arrive. Like us, shewas benefiting from the kindness of the Harpes. Norma did most of the talking, as John was hard of hearing. Both presented an aura of jovial resignation while talking to us like old friends. They were bothsatisfied enough with their lives, while welcoming the “interruption” of the very occasional stranger, yetcould remember a time when neighbors outnumbered strangers.As we enjoyed lunch together, I reflected on the irony of two Shosones being the holdoutresidents of a Nevada mining town. A boom and bust culture meets a boom and bust industry. At leastmining towns bust from their own doing, you can extract something for only so long. As the journey progressed this reality impressed upon me. Many things naturally “die,” and attempts to keep somethings “alive” is like rescuing corpses from the grave.Yet the Shosones did not bust from their own doing. The encroachment of private property andsmallpox laden blankets were the two biggest banes to Native American culture. With an end to their own sustainable lifestyle many Native Americans are caught in unsustainable pursuits such as boom and bust extraction; irony stemming from tragedy. Even as I learned from the journey that many communitiesmust accept boom and bust as consequences of some economic choices, and to not feel too much remorseabout this, I lament the failure of many communities to make the wise choices that would grant themsustainable autonomy.As we resumed hiking that afternoon I felt my lips going numb. I did not know what that meant,until I later discovered the hardened red tissue on my lips. Cindy often gets chapped lips, but I'veavoided them through thousands of miles of exposure. My lips could withstand snow fields at highelevations and bright sun, but not the desiccation of hiking directly into high winds and sun over thedesert.