desert

7 articles tagged as desert
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Hiking is like life. Sometimes, you take the same walk for the hundredth time, thinking you’ll get the same old path, and find a hillside full of wildflowers instead. After much patience, and way too many emails, walking the same old paths to employment, we finally found a great job beyond the mountains! The big city is calling, so Lola and I were enjoying a few of our last days in the desert before rolling on. Monty and Niko and I hiked high into the hills. It was amazing, not only to see things growing again, but thriving in this desert dust. Everywhere we turned was a new type of flower: asters, poppies, beebalm, cactus, yucca, and …

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Abiquiu, NM

On our last sunny Sunday in the Chama River Valley, Monty and Niko and I hiked to the top of Chimney Rock at Ghost Ranch Presbyterian Retreat. I have a soft spot in my heart for Ghost Ranch, because I spent several summers here growing up. I remember each little nook and cranny, all the paths, all the good rocks to climb, because as a kid I was always exploring. Okay, I’m still exploring, but in this particular place it brings back fond memories. Here is some perspective: Yeah, I know. I can hardly believe I was that high up either. Monty and Niko probably thought that was the top of the world. I had to tie …

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Abiquiu, NM

The Piedra Lumbre Basin (or Valley of the Shining Stone) stretches from Abiquiu to Chama along the Chama River. And it is, probably, the most beautiful place in the world. I’m biased, though, I have many pleasant memories from childhood vacations here. Its icon is Pedernal, a 9000 foot mountain whose cap was produced in the Jemez volcanic field. Georgia O’Keefe lived in the valley below, and she painted it many times. I couldn’t help but take a zillion pictures of it. It’s like a benevolent version of the eye of Mordor, looking over everyone in the basin all the time, rain or shine. The lake is Abiquiu Reservoir, and from atop the dam you can see …

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Monty and Niko and I spent every morning over the last two weeks hiking. There are five less-than-4-mile trails at Ojo, and we hiked every single one. Each has it’s own different geography: one along the river, one down an arroyo, one to an old mica mine, one to an overlook, and one to the ruins of an old indian pueblo. At almost 6,000 feet above sea level, hiking in northern New Mexico is a little more strenuous than at home. There’s a bit less oxygen for the ol’ lungs. It is dry, even in winter, and we had to drink lots of water. But after a few days, it got easier, and felt great. The smell …

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So, guys, this is the primary reason that I haven’t posted for a couple weeks: I was too busy sitting in hot springs. Yeah, I know, tragic. Ojo Caliente (hot eyes) is a tiny, tiny town north of Santa Fe and south of Taos. The Ojo Caliente Mineral Spa is at the foot of some beautiful hills and hiking trails. And there is an RV park at the spa, maybe 200 yards from the springs. Need I say more? Confession time: I have been to the springs before, but never stayed longer than a day or two. The hotel is a little pricey, maybe not for west-coaster’s, but it’s more than 100 bucks a night. The campground …

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As an addendum to my “Amarillo is kind of a nice play to stay a few days, if you’re into weird Texas culture and 72oz steaks” I will add my trip to Palo Duro Canyon, which is 30 miles south from here. This is what Texas looks like, okay? It’s big, extremely flat, brown, with almost no trees and you can see for miles in every direction. You can bet then, that I was surprised to find this: Seriously, you just drive for a long time through the flat-nothingness and then suddenly a gorgeous, desert canyon happens. Monty and Niko and I hiked all day here. Unlike the Oklahoma version, this canyon is the REAL DEAL. They …

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