Deserted, diverse, beautiful, barren, hot, dramatic, oasis, cold, breath-taking, amazing … you get the picture. The sky is sooo blue during the day and the night sky is so dark, filled with stars; different then what we’ve experienced before from such a common element of our lives.
We entered New Mexico via the desert from Midland, Texas via a route suggested by a friend (Thank you David!) This route provided us with a true feel for the desert, its landscape, its drama and thankfully an oasis at Bottomless Lakes State Park near Roswell, NM. Hot during the day and cold at night in true desert fashion, we found beautiful artesian springs and water-filled sinkholes created by an alluvial limestone aquifer and the Pecos River on the northeast edge of the Chihuahua Desert. The mineral water in these sinkholes provides for refreshing swimming and a moisture treatment for ones’ skin. Also, very dry desert air provides a great environment to wash/scrub and clean the rugs in the RV. When we leave this oasis, we have breakfast in Roswell (known for UFO sightings) at the Cowboy Café where we sit next to a young couple from New Hampshire on a month-long road trip. We do a bit of shopping before leaving Roswell. We stock up with provisions and I’m on the hunt for white chaps. We head through the desert to Lake Sumner State park in central New Mexico.
We arrive at Lake Sumner State Park and find we have a beautiful campsite on a walkable cliff. While not the oasis that we left, there is a reservoir they call a lake. Interestingly, on day 2 the clouds move in and we have rain or misty rain, not a common occurrence in the desert. We decide to take a walk to what looks like a small community across the way from where we are on the lake. When we get there, we are soon met by two very aggressive, rather large dogs. I’m feeling afraid and glad Sean is being the alpha-male, so they leave us alone. While we see no people and most “homes” look dilapidated and abandoned up close, we decide that if you wanted to not be found, this would be a great place. But it is raining in the desert and the animals are out playing. We see and hear countless birds chirping and lining up on a wire. Just as I’m taking a pic of the birds, Sean calls out to me to see the real pic, a small herd of dear crossing our path, WOW. No people, just us and the animals out enjoying the rainy day in the desert.
The weather is changing to cold and with an eye on the forecast we discuss whether we should go to our next destination that is in the mountains and snow is forecast. We decide that we must, as our RV is more then capable of giving us adequate shelter in those conditions – it was made for it! So, we stock up with provisions, plenty of food AND drink and off we go to Coyote Creek State Park. We arrive and no one is there, except a small herd of cows led by a big, well-proportioned bull parading through our campsite. Here there are LOTS of birds, on their way north as we see scores of robins and a new kind of jay called a Steller Jay. Also, this Coyote Creek has so many trout! (Most stocked trout stream in New Mexico, we find out later). Wish we had a fishing pole and a fishing license. We see them swimming everywhere in the creek. It snows 6 inches and it is absolutely gorgeous. We hike a trail to the top of the mountain, the border to this valley we are in and witness the dramatic landscape from valley to mountaintop. We are in the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. The beauty, power and magnificence of nature always has a way of putting things into perspective.
One week in New Mexico is like a month any where else. We started with sunbathing in an oasis in the desert and now we are in hiking in the snow in the mountains. We head north to Colorado to visit friends in the Denver area. Little did we know that to get to Denver we would have to pass through the Sangre de Cristo mountain pass, via a very narrow, windy road; I am so grateful that we met no on-coming traffic during the 5-mile stretch of highest elevation, no shoulders to the road and only wide enough for one vehicle. We see antelope and elk and beauty all around.
The RV is crushing it. We had talked about not going through mountains as we doubted this 20-year-old RV’s fortitude, and here we were, driving through a mountain pass with ease and grace on a Sunday morning. Hmmmm we are living.
In reflection, we have experienced so many differences of people and places; so glad that both of us grew up in a time without social media and soooo much information other than what we read or may hear via radio or TV. It is easier to stay present without so many comparisons or information or interpretations OR opinions that influence our thinking and how we experience life. Also, with high elevations come a bit shortness of breath; nature reminding us to just breath and be . . . something we’re still working on, just being present in the moment, without the bias of past or future shadowing our thoughts.
On to Colorado to see friends until we’re back to New Mexico to continue our trek West. Good food, good friends, the love of family and some much needed personal care like a haircut and a mani-pedi AND sleeping in a real bed make for a comfortable, much-needed hiatus before we continue west. Thank you to Jon & Cynthia Kruger AND Kim & Jeff Castor and kids for so much fun, love and fellowship!!!
Here’s to us each being present to the situation and/or people in our lives at this very moment.
Sean & Kelly