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2006/11/08

Tall Bear in Tent City

The trail is under-used, except by some joggers who have been complaining about being harassed by the intoxicated people living in a little tent town. If a person watches the side of the road as they head east on I-40 through Gallup they can probably spot the little cluster of tents, mattresses and people.

I was told that the reporter would be writing a story about it, and that he wanted to meet at 2 pm and head over there together. I waited for a little while at the office before deciding to head out on foot alone. It probably was not a smart thing, going into an untraveled area with $5k worth of cameras and stepping into a group of homeless people that are often drunk all alone. But I did, and I was able to get the few less than comfortable people there to relax enough to leave me alone and wander out of camera range. I spotted the black hawk and had the photo of it, and shared the photo using the camera's LCD screen and that broke the ice and got people to relax a lot.

A short while later the reporter arrived and every body's guard went right back up. Two of the men there were clowning around and even asking to be photographed and put in the newspaper. This gentleman was likely intoxicated, but he was very comfortable having an audience to talk to. When I asked his name he told me simply, "Tall Bear".

After we finished and were heading back to the office the reporter stated that he wasn't sure how to handle the story - he wanted people to know about this place, but did not want to draw so much attention that the authorities started causing problems for these people, who have enough difficulties to face already.
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