We sent out a Couchsurfing request to Guil in Marathon, but we actually heard back from Stan, but he was in Florida. Then Guil called us and he was in New York (turn out he’s also a UPS pilot). Then we heard from Jarret. Jarret is 21 and came to Guil’s place for one night. It’s been 3 months and now he’s in charge when Guil’s out. Jarret gave us directions and we set course for La Loma Del Chivo.
We pulled up and immediately met the entire crew at the compound. Cool folks who had a similar story – most have been there a few months and all have their own projects.
It’s essentially a free-form building experiment. They’re creating a hostel made mostly from papercrete (warning – flammable!) and are experimenting with other alternative building techniques and self-sustainability. Anyone who wants to stay long enough to finish a project gets to build anything they want, with Guil picking up the tab. They host a random assortment of travelers, and Couchsurfers stay for free.
It’s a work in progress, but a pretty interesting vision is sprouting up from the desert. It’s completely off-the-grid. Solar powered adobe sleeping pods. Outdoor movie theater. Organic gardens. Hopi kiva. Outdoor communal kitchen. Sweat lodge.
We weren’t going to stay long enough to build anything, so we decided to cook everyone dinner and spend the evening hanging out and staying warm around the big fire pit.
As the night went on and the temperature dropped, the wind picked up and it was a pretty crazy night of trying to sleep in the howling wind. To make things more interesting, everyone out here has some sort of junk pile (several, usually.) Partly because everything has more value out here and is harder to get, and partly because everything is viewed as a potential building material. Anyway, when the wind picks up, pieces from the piles start blowing around and it makes a heck of a racket.