11 articles tagged as hiking

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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Looking towards LA.

The road is long, but the time it takes to gain employment is even longer! Here we are, still in sunny southern California. It’s spring now, and I’ll be honest, I’d hoped to have more news, or at least be too busy to post. But alas, since posting my op-ed on trailer parks last month, Lola and I haven’t moved an inch. We’ve been staying at a small trailer park in the desert, paying month to month rent, replying to job ads like mad and dashing over the hills for interviews. (Or rather, I’ve been applying to jobs and the dogs have lounged lazily in the trailer, waiting for their daily desert hike.) Los Angeles is supposed …

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I am FINALLY out of the mountains. Hello, Nevada! I knew I was past the hard part when I exited the HUGE Virgin River Gorge outside St. George, Utah to be greeted by the town of Mesquite, which has a desolate and lovely view, yet can still grow palm trees I visited Valley of Fire State Park, which borders Lake Mead. It gets its name from the bright red sandstone rocks that are pitted and shaped by the strong wind. You can see three sets of mountains from the vista (usually) though today snow was happening. For once, I didn’t have to avoid it, and it avoided me. The park gets only 4 inches of precipitation annually. …

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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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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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The Ozarks (from the French ‘aux Arcs’ short for ‘out of Arkansas’) is a hilly plateau that stretches through southern Missouri and into Arkansas. It is known for its rolling forested hills, rocky plateaus, caves and ‘hillbilly’ culture (as depicted in the show The Beverly-Hillbillies, who were supposed to have come from the Ozarks). I am staying in a campground on the Lake of the Ozarks, which is a fingery lake surrounded by hills. Fall is nearly at a close, and the leaves are shades of golden brown. Most of them are oaks. It rained for several days, cold, with large drops hitting the trailer roof over and over, making me nearly insane. After the rain, however, …

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Finally, after traveling all the way through southern Iowa and into Missouri, I have found warmer weather! I’ve not traveled much in the middle of the country. There are probably many things to see, but none of them are obvious. I am trying a few things out to see where they take me.  In this story, I headed for what I thought might be exciting campgrounds. My first was Geode State Park in Iowa. This is a misleading name. There were no geodes (as in the rocks with pretty crystals in them) from what I could tell. I looked. There was a very pretty man-made lake and many long trails, which Monty and Niko and I took …

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