Traveling

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La Veta

Higway of Legends (Highway 12 portion) past Cuchara and winding to Trinidad is one splendid sight after another. Clear lakes swimming with fish and ringed with people eager to catch them. Dikes of the geological and monolithic variety punctuate the landscape and emphasize our small human stature. Old churches dot the highway, marking the old gathering places of dying and dead town squares. Then there are the scars of industry, long cold coke ovens and miles of their spent matter lining the landscape of aptly named Cokedale.

And to Trinidad, where we hoped for a quiet lunch at a recommended Italian spot but got a parade of highly imaginative vehicles instead. Juniper did NOT like the ruckus surrounding them, so we headed for tamer pastures.

Gray Jay

Cordova Pass bisects the Highway of Legends; it is entirely unpaved and definitely not for the faint of heart nor low clearance vehicle. It gave more marvelous candy for the eye, but oh, the bumps!!

 

The Apishapa (ah-pish-ah-paw) Arch bisects one of the hundreds of dikes that radiate from the Spanish Peaks. I was super keen on visiting, and taking a photo of its namesake river and valley to honor another set of Great Grandparents, Guadalupe and his wife Donaciana, who lived here at the time of the 1870 census. How I found myself in awe of the beautiful places my ancestors lived.

Quite the contrast in architecture, eh? Bubbles are a bold choice!

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Highway of Legends

Hola! This first photo is the view my Great-Grandma times four Esquipula Maes enjoyed from her property in Southern Colorado. How giddy I was, heart pitter-patter with excitement when I found the deed, dating from 1862. That was nothing compared to the feeling of my feet firmly planted and eyes taking in the beauty. And, oh, the wonderful scent of it, too. How wild the bonds of ancestry!

Jesusita Williams is my Great Grandmother times three and the source of my Comanche ancestry. She shares a headstone with my Great Grandpa Aaron, and is near her children Louis and Carmelita. I like to think these marvelous cliffs keep vigil over their graves.

I am holding a copy of the above photo, taken in almost the same location, with over a century between, my Great Uncle times four Jose de los Reyes is the bearded man with a baby on his lap. My ancestors ranched and farmed here and within a twenty or so mile radius, and Jesusita and Aaron are buried just down the road. I spent hours scouring Google maps to find this spot. More heart pumping excitement, I tell you!!

Hitchhiker

And now for the Highway of Legends portion of our journey.  A scenic byway by name, it is a spectacular unspooling of highway around the Spanish Peaks, with picturesque views for days and history aplenty. It was one of those “about time” adventures, having driven past La Veta and over its namesake pass countless times since we were children. The town is a wisp of a thing, with 800 residents at the last census, but enough to loudly cheer at a Friday night football game and support a fine grocery, bakery, booze stops, lovely galleries and tourist shops. I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you about Desert Expressions, where I laid claim to a finely crafted necklace and bracelet, very much of their place, sterling silver with turquoise and hand stamping. The owner was kindly and funny and let Juniper browse along with us. Our girl took the job seriously and was very well behaved.

Our guest house was wonderful and surrounded by well loved gardens, tended daily by their owner and keeper, Ernest, several cats (that’s Oscar above) and dogs. Juniper is pictured with an especially sweet playmate named Emma.

The ever patient hubster waits for me to “take my snaps.”

Do you see the faces of my ancestors?

More to come on Friday!

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New sage growth filled the air with its intoxicating scent and had the hubster and I swooning.

Our wonderfully cozy digs (and sweetest dog, ever). Greg and I have never been so enamored with a rental, envisioning, were it to come on the market, how we would make it our own.

The Taos Museum of Art at Fechin House. Every bit of the woodwork hand carved by Nicolai Fechin (feshin) in the first half of the last century. My photos pale in comparison to the in-person beauty. The artwork was pretty stunning, too, featuring Marjorie Eaton and Juan Mirabal (student and teacher to one another).

Well worth walking to their our of the way location on Kit Carson, tea.o.graphy serves and sells a stellar selection of tea. I also bought a fantastic mug with an old school pick-up on it, handmade in Taos, of course. If I can’t drive the truck of my dreams, I’m gonna drink from its likeness.

The above two photos are from the Mabel Dodge Luhan house, which was also owned by Dennis Hopper. It has quite the history!

San Francisco de Asis Mission Church

One of the most photographed buildings in the world gets its annual spruce up. How lucky we were to see it in progress. Sad to miss the interior, however. Next time!!

Year round hollyhock beauty! Now that is a thought. We have a massive volunteer in the back yard and a few in the front that I am hoping will bloom this year.

The Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial in the Moreno Valley is a deeply humbling and moving space created out of a father’s deep and abiding love. Doc Westphall began the memorial after his son David was killed in an ambush in 1968. It was the first Vietnam memorial, dedicated in 1971.

When we were there, the Angel Fire Garden Club was busily and quite cheerfully creating beautiful garden beds on the grounds. I was touched to see such an out of the way place so filled with love for those who gave everything in Vietnam. There is so much good in the world, peeps.

More dazzling green! Our nephew Tyler came for a visit last week, and we chuckled that some poor person might move to Colorado or New Mexico believing this is what spring looks like on the regular.

Red River reminds us of Colorado mountain towns of our childhood.

La Veta Pass greening up after last year’s massive fire. Hope springs eternal…

A final glimpse from the road, with gratitude for the best way I can conjure to celebrate the start of my 48th year!

 

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Mt. Maestas

Blanca Peak & Mt. Lindsey

When Greg and I were first together, a woman we knew had a rather curious comic taped on her refrigerator, front and center. It read: “It’s not a vacation if your husband goes with you.” I imagine her snickering while carefully clipping it from the paper. Then, with precision, taping around its border, ensuring it would rest for ages and ages on the freezer door, in the direct gaze of her husband of more than twenty years. How funny it must have been to her. How cruel it always seemed to me.

Our trip to Taos was initially one Juniper and I would take without Greg. His schedule at the time of planning was fluid, unknown. It would be fine, of course. I am an excellent traveler, with or without him, and Juniper is so easy going. But I didn’t really like it. Not because I feel completed by him or “need” him. No, I am my own person, solidly so. Perfectly complemented by him, yes. Two synergistic beings in rotation round the sun. I didn’t like it because I love his company. His wit and wisdom. His kindness. His gentleness and strength. His ability to make me laugh and feel comforted. And, boy howdy, that handsome face. So easy on the eyes.

So when his schedule definitively opened, we jumped on the chance to travel together. And what a marvelous time we had!

The Plaza at Costilla, New Mexico, which lies just over the border from Colorado. My Great-Grandparents (times three), Maria de Jesus (called Jesusita and the source of my Native ancestry) and Aaron Williams, lived here at the time of the 1860 Census. She kept house, and he was a Wagon Driver (note his horse shoe tie pin!). The Plaza is much as it looked when they lived there, the building dating to the 1850s. I continue to feel awed at each layer of history as revealed to me, that they lived and died more than a century ago, yet I feel incredibly close to them. They are in my dreams and on the air, a pulse in my very veins. A marvel, truly.

Oh gosh, how I wish you could see the vivid emerald flush as it appeared to our eyes. We were treated like never before to green on this trip!

This little guy or gal, a cicada, I think? Long since dead, but still clinging to it’s final resting place. Nature really is a wonder.

The Claret Cup Cactus and Opuntias put on quite a show for us.

ponderosa

We hiked to the bottom of the Rio Grande Gorge (a rift zone, actually), 680 feet, and thankfully not straight down!

Good Juniper. Not so great Colleen.

Not so great Juniper. Good Colleen.

We are none of us models!

Greg hides behind a most delicious post-hike burger at Taos Diner. It was well earned!

Manzanita Market – where I, of course, bought another wonderful selection of Dryland Wilds products. The cottonwood bud hand balm is the scent of my childhood springs (!) and super moisturizing.

Chokola never fails.

My people!

Back with more tomorrow…

 

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Hopped on the bus for a trip to the J.C. Raulston Arboretum

Greg’s new favorite tree – a crepe myrtle

Made friends with a bench named JUDY

God bless the jasmine – intoxicating our senses for the whole of our stay.

ternstroemia

evergreen dogwood

symphytum x uplandicum

This maple, whose name I fail to recall, leafs out in red!

echinacea pallida

another crepe myrtle and some Oregon grape!

amorphophallus kiusianis

sinningia sellovii

My peonies are only just beginning to bud, while those in Raleigh are in full bloom!

Walked from the arboretum to the North Carolina Museum of Art .

They have a pretty special outdoor sculpture park (the Ann & Jim Goodnight). This first bit of whirligig fun Wind Machine is by Vollis Simpson.

Bees!!

No Fuss

Mark di Sivero

Ernest and Ruth

Hank Willis Thomas

Gyre

Thomas Sayre

Collapse I

Ledelle Moe

hi!

I’m inside:

Sculpt C

Jamie Hayon

 

We A L L do…

Miss Everything

(Unsuppressed Deliverance)

 Amy Sherald

Semi-Reclining Dress Impression with Drapery

Karen LaMonte

Tar Baby vs. St. Saint Sebastian

Michael Richards

(No not that one)

Persephone

George Warren Rickey

The shadows!

Askew

Roxy Paine

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