Thursday, August 05, 2010


Hiking is rarely a part of my life, particularly since I gave up geocaching. I've had some lovely treks in the mountains of Arizona, though, and knew a quick trip up the mountains of New Mexico would be cool.

It would clearly be a solo venture. Me, I'm as surefooted as a mountain goat, but Carl finds the rocks in our parking place a footfall challenge. Once I was here in the mountains, company or not, I knew I needed to get to know them more closely.

Oh, barf. That sounds so "I am one with nature" of me. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I have a friend who loudly proclaims she's no nature lover. She is mistaken, I suspect. She has a keen eye for beauty in any form. And what is a lover of nature if not one possessed of that sensibility?

So, whether I'm a nature lover, beauty appreciator, or simply compelled to do something, Tuesday was my hiking (not dancing) day. Perfect weather. The climate in Santa Fe is really nigh unto perfect. 50 and 60s in the am and the pm. Midday, the high is in the low 80s. It was warm, climbing. Bu the steady breeze was lovely.

I took a cab out to the Randall Davey Audubon Center. Figured I like birds, and the paths were described as "easy." Easy at 7500 feet in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains? Perhaps I took that a bit too literally, as a flat lander who sometimes finds the air heady west of Ridgeland.

Heading out on Bear Canyon Trail, it was disconcerting to start my walk to the accompaniment of chain saws and spanglish. Someone building something. Made tracks as fast as I could to escape the noise. Son it was behind me. All I could hear were my footfalls, birds calling and that breeze humming in the pine trees.

Santa Fe is both brown and green, reminding me of a more craggy altitudinous version of Traverse City and environs. Sand and pinon pine and juniper plus lots of boulders.

Can you believe that today was the first time that I had the following realization: Hmm, that must be why they call it "Boulder, Colorado?" Sigh, not usually know for my perspicacity. Thank goodness I know some big words, instead.

Hummingbirds and some kind of tiny lizard were abundant. No bears, though. I am on a mission to see a bear. There were signs in the Center warning visitors to mind their garbage, lest they attract bears.

I am dying to attract bears. (Insert joke here, folks.) I've made my family pull over countless times up north, particularly during our times on the Keweenaw Peninsula, sure I had spotted a bear. The most embarrasing incident was one involving an extremely unlifelike cardboard version of a black bear. Sigh.

With or without bears, Bear Canyon Trail ended all too quickly and I bravely continued to follow the "unmaintained, primitive" trail. I know just enough about hiking unknown trails to know my ignorance needs to be respected. So I continued up the mountain only until the conveniently and picturesquely piled cairns became sparse then turned around. Not at the top, unfortunately. But this was definitely a journey activity rather than a goal-oriented destination trip.

And a lovely journey it was. Odd, being alone for 3 hours and never feeling alone. Why is that so, not feeling alone when I was in the middle of nowhere with no one? In the Middle of Oak Park, I sometimes feel wild with loneliness. But in the wild, my own company is enough.

Though a bear would be a welcomed addition. From a distance.



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