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Epic Road Trip #11: Jimez Mountains

For full disclosure I have left the Jimez and moved on to Chaco Canyon, one of the coolest places I’ve ever been. I’m on a back country hike and I’ve settled in some shade under an overhang/shallow cave and I am going to wait out some of the heat.

At the end of my last post I was camping in the Santa Fe National Forest trying to hike this elusive Civil War Trail. I ultimately found it and it was closed on a Saturday. I have never known a trail to keep banker’s hours or worked so hard to do something I wasn’t that excited about. Google maps took me to another trail which was not open for the public and I drove to the Jimez a day easier then I’d planned.

You have to pass through Los Alamos which was weird having a military checkpoint but I ended up spending enough time in the area it just became life. They have great dispersed camping in the greater Bandelier National Monument.

I spent a day at Bandelier proper which is very cool. Long house ruins and cliff dwellings. Lots of tourists but I’ve been isolated enough to find them all charming.

I took a long drive to the second site. It had a nice unimproved trail and there were cliff dwellings and some petroglyphs. It was an interesting climb up the Mesa and didn’t see too many people.

I did enjoy the prairie dogs and saw some elk. There is a stand of old growth Ponderosa pine but it’s a manicured stand and didn’t feel like a forest. I climbed one of the hills and there were a lot of wildflowers especially wild irises which I’ve seen a lot of on this trip.

I went back to camp and the next morning I went to Valles Caldera at my friend Rodger’s suggestion. It’s a beautiful valley surrounded by the hills of the long extinct volcano that formed it. It’s a fairly new National Park (2015) and feels more like a cattle ranch (which it still is by statute, when there’s not a drought) then a National Park.

I hiked a short nature trail and drove down to Los Alamos for a vegetable rice bowl which was cheap and excellent (Tiger Bowl). I did the Los Alamos walking tour and learned about life during the making of the first Atomic bomb. There are a few original buildings, some settler stuff and some ancestral Pueblo ruins; all right downtown.

I meditated at the Unitarian church and grabbed a Gatorade out of their Gaia Box. It was raining so I went to Starbucks and enjoyed a coffee and some WiFi and it was well worth three dollars and a poor nights sleep.

It was still raining a bit and their was a nice rainbow which I took as God’s promise he wouldn’t destroy us with atomic bombs. I picked up a quart of oil and made the clerk go look at the rainbow. She was glad she did.

After another night at my usual spot I drove down through Santa Fe and south to La Cinguella Petroglyphs. It’s on BLM land and it’s pre-columbian and a huge collection. I scrambled over the rocks awestruck for 5 hours before I was done in and didn’t see them all.

I got some great Guatemalan food down the road. A steak with a chili sauce and all the fixings. Then I went to REI and got a new pair of Chacos. My old pair were hanging together by a thread as I’d had them for more then a decade of hard wear. Coincidentally I broke the new pair in at Chaco Canyon. Having some tread is amazing.

Speaking of those Chacos. I’ve forgotten how unpleasant the afternoon heat is and I’m getting stuff setting here so I will get back to the adventure and catch you up later. I’ll have to climb a bluff to get a signal tomorrow so maybe I’ll have time to catch the narrative up to the present before then.

I got hot and tired at Chaco and got a hotel room. Going to Aztek today and camping in Bizi badlands tonight.

Epic Road Trip #9: to the BLM

I lingered for several days in the Sacramento Mountains/Almagordo area. The lunar eclipse was incredible and the BLM land was a nice spot to view it. There is a state park right by it and I checked out some ruins of an early settler and a pretty impressive native plant garden the next morning.

I didn’t want to pay the $5.00 day use fee so I skipped the hike and drove back into the mountains. I hiked a nice overlook trail and then back to the dispersed camping I’d been staying at but a nicer site. Did a lot of hikes over the next few days with Bridal Veil Falls being the best.

I spent Thursday night at a Motel 6 in Alamogordo. My first hotel at 6 weeks in. It was $43 bucks out the door and my long anticipated WiFi was a bust but what do you expect for $35. I didn’t even complain.

I needed wifi for a zoom presentation Friday morning and I found a coffee shop and it worked out fine, a bit better then that actually. A young Latinx couple introduced themselves afterwards as I had been talking about racism in my presentation and they were new to the area and looking to make activist connections. We were both sorry I wasn’t local.

I realized I’d been loud and when I apologized to the other dude on the patio we also struck up a conversation. In an answer to his question I told him I was on my last day of doing the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola. He and his wife do Ignatian retreats and he was in transition himself and we had a great conversation on spiritual practice and the change process.

He encouraged me to be transparent about what I’m doing when I mentioned the blog morphing into a travelogue of late with some of my Spiritual posts being used against me politically. It was a sweet capstone to 31 days of prayer, meditation and reflection.

After some barbecue I was going to hike Bridal Veil Falls and met Ray there. Another fellow in transition and we hung out and hiked together and I payed my free expert consult forward on helping Ray with his plans to homestead the family plot. After not really talking to anyone for weeks it was amazing to get into 2 deep spiritual conversations in one day.

I checked out a new part of the forest and hiked some more later. Met a civil engineer reading Travels with Charlie which got us talking about our various epic Road trips. He mentioned some sites in the Gila National Forest I plan to check out when I head down that way.

I hiked again this morning on the Ridge Top trail which had a section recently logged. I haven’t seen any clear-cuts on the trip and some thinning didn’t seem out of line. Saw my first coyote of the trip stalking through the woods.

I went into Cloudcroft for an art show and alleged farmers market but it was only pecans. I did get a pair of New Balance for a dollar as my hiking shoes are falling apart. I also got an excellent bowl of pasole.

I was going to keep hanging out as their were more trails in the rails to trails system I wanted to hike. I’ve done a lot of those but never one in the mountains. The sidecut trail was pretty cool but I got turned around and was tired of being lost in the same spot so I left the area.

I drove north to a BLM area Fort Stanton National Recreation Area. There is a trail to some petroglyphs I am going to hike tomorrow. It’s not that long of a trail but I’m going to walk the 2 1/2 miles of jeep road to get there and I’ve already done 11+ miles of hiking today. A storm is threatening but so far only wind and a few sprinkles. They need the rain bad here.

It’s a nice area with some elevation so it’s not too hot. I might check out Fort Stanton tomorrow as well. See what it costs and has to offer. Thanks for hanging with me faithful reader and I’ll post again when I’ve done some more stuff.

step one part two

January 12, 2012 Leave a comment

Living alone has forced me to really think about food. Its really inconvenient to live by yourself if you like home cooking. Been making tasty soups I can eat for days and days and realizing I need two thing, because I can’t eat lunch and dinner. The minestrone soup has been good. For lunch on my late day I made hamburger gravy over mashed potatoes so I added some peas, corn, and brie and am baking it for shepherd’s pie.

I have as long as it takes to get done to post. I am going to go back to my paraphrase of the NA Steps in clear, concrete, simple language with all references to hearing removed. Original text is also beautiful, spare and powerful,¬† from Cyber Recovery. I read the first part to get into the flow and it sounds really good I think. Maybe I’ll strip down all my writing, its kind of powerful and adds to clarity of thought.

In recovery what we call success changes. When we were using drugs we were planning to get high or getting over being sick from being high. Success was staying out of trouble. In recovery success can be staying sober and going to meetings. Some people just do that for a long time. Staying clean is success. Working the steps can be success too but really its about knowing God. That way we can get clean physically, mentally, and spiritually. If we know God we learn how to live. We are honest, help other people, and learn how to love. We love people who don’t even love themselves. Going back to school or getting a job can be success too. Some people think money is success. Recovery does not depend on what we have or what we know. Recovery is being free and not thinking about drugs or wanting to do drugs.

Being sad over not doing something we said we would do teaches us about failure. Being curious about what we can do helps us grow. If we can let ourselves fail we can try to do stuff. When we are clean we have to be brave and try new things. Thinking things are better then they are or worse then they are is like when we were using drugs.

Wondering what other people feel and think, especially about us looks¬† like a problem. This helps us think things over and get advice. It helps us learn about God. Learning more about what is good and what is bad helps us know God. We don’t believe old lies we heard or be afraid of things we don’t understand. Learning about God is important in NA.

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getting tired, looks like there will be a step 3. Thanks for checking this out and sharing it if you do. Its cool stuff and I am blessed to have been asked to get to know it more deeply. Your comments are requested and appreciated.