Tag Archives: Tolerance

Northbound Again

Like the Dire Straits song but reverse the direction.

Leaving tomorrow or Friday for a week in the North country, mainly the headwaters of the Costilla River (right on the Colorado border) and the Blanca Peak wilderness area.  I’ve looked at Blanca Peak in awe, studied all the maps, and decided the best place to camp is accessible from the NE side (adding another 3 hours of driving).

My good friends, Debbie and Debi, will be joining us for the last few days of the adventure.  My best friend and sometimes nurse, Lysa, will be riding shotgun for the whole trip.

So how does a guy like me survive two nights in a freakin’ tent with three good-lookin’ women?  I’m thinkin’ the best way is to go to bed earlier than all my wild girlfriends, get settled, and make grunting noises when they bring all that girlpower into the space.  If that doesn’t work, then I go sleep in the car with the doors locked!

I’ve made two bamboo bobber rigs, and I’ve been practicing with my fly rod since April, so I’m gonna go terrorize those wild trout in the Northern Sangres!  All the fish I’ve seen up on the Costilla are really too small to eat; but the little monsters will be fun to catch & release!

Gotta stop in to see friends, too, in Taos and Arroyo Hondo; then the best AA meeting in New Mexico at Questa.  We’re going to hit the little club at San Luis, too.

Yayyy!  Finally going to the high country where it’s cool and we can experience a high-mountain thunderstorm!!!

Sadly I became such a worthless and arrogant prick, before I moved back South from Taos, most of my friends in the Taos area don’t even want to speak to me.

I no longer have the luxury of thinking I might never drink again; but two things give me much hope:  (a) I’ve never submerged myself to this degree in the honesty and humility of working our steps; and (b) I don’t have a lot of time left.  I don’t need to worry about staying sober for years.  Just today.  Just enough.

I want to die sober and surrounded by my loving, caring and TRUE family.  I can attain that.  Not so much to aspire to, based on the condition of my heart; but I’m 77 days sober and totally on fire with my own quirky step-driven spirituality.

Constant and persistent prayers for those of my past whom I have hurt or caused harm.  You are the most important people in my life, the ones to whom I owe the greatest debt of gratitude.

Que se vaya la paz contigo.

 

 

 

RCCLA rocks!

We have camped much of the Summer on land in far northern New Mexico that is managed by Rio Costilla Cooperative Livestock Association (RCCLA).  From what I’ve seen over the Summer, this organization does the best job in New Mexico of managing and maintaining the vital habitat and wildlife of the Sierra Sangre De Cristo.

It’s pretty cool to see that a for-profit organization (private ranchers) are doing a better job than ANY of our national forests of preserving ancient grasses, protecting one of our country’s most delicate wild trout habitats, and operating a truly magnificent campground facility; all within the context of an obviously well-run ranching enterprise.

It’s increasingly difficult to find a pristine, clear, mountain river full of multiple species of wild trout – without going to Alaska or off the continent – let alone such a place with domestic cattle and elk being co-managed so well by a local cooperative enterprise.

Seriously.  If you want to camp, fish, hunt in the most beautiful wilderness in New Mexico or Colorado, and you want to see what old-world private ranchers can do when put in charge of precious natural resources, the you owe it to yourself to go stay a few days.  It’s easily the best outdoor experience you will have in New Mexico.

Unfortunately, I don’t do well above 8,500 ft. elevation – and much of this wilderness area is above 9,000 ft.   The highest and best scenario for me is to go up to that altitude with an understanding that I won’t be able to do much more than a 1/4-mile slow walk, and to come back down within 24-36 hours.

I love the serenity, though, and the extraordinary alpine meadows with their creeks and mountain seeps running through spruce, pine and aspen.  Stewart Edward White and Teddy Roosevelt both wrote of hunting expeditions into this region (private ranches then) just before the 20th century.

Important BTW::   I love Mia!  She’s the most awesome girl I’ve ever known.  I’ve never even MET anyone with values like hers.  She’s taught me more than I ever bargained to learn… and she’s really really cute!  I don’t really know if I can survive a winter where she lives but – I think – we’re to a point in our partnership where we are both wanting to move South in Winter and back to Taos in Summer (with ample commuting as necessary).

It’s a little strange, I think, that so many people think of the Sierra Sangre De Cristo as if it’s a New Mexico area/culture.  If you’ve not been to San Luis CO (the oldest settlement in the state of Colorado) and looked back into the Sangres from the Northwest, or you’ve not driven South from San Pablo CO to Amalia NM and realized THAT is the original land grant from Spain which defines this region’s cultural and natural heritage, then find a way to come visit!

Just remember to leave it better than you found it, and to be respectful of an ancient ranching culture that is the nation’s best example of entrepreneurship without greed – and without compromise of natural and human values.

God acted with Grace when He gave us each other and this planet.  So our only logical response can be gratitude; but gratitude is meaningless without the actions of love, tolerance, forgiveness, generosity, and service.

 

 

Alive in Chamisaville!

It’s like a dream come true to be able to say, “I live in Taos.”

But now I do!

Taos is one of 3-4 places in the US where I’ve traditionally driven out of town wondering, “Why am I leaving?”  So it’s soooo awesome to finally live here!

I actually live in a small community outside Taos on the Rio Hondo. It’s not far, though.  Everyone works and shops in Taos.

Based on the characters I’ve seen or met so far, this little community is a dead ringer for Chamisaville in John Nichols’ New Mexico Trilogy!  Very cool!

While Taos is a beautiful and historic place, it’s really the Taoseño culture that’s drawn me to live here. It’s almost an underground culture, in that visitors see mainly a tourism-driven community of shops, inns and restaurants; but behind the scenes, there’s a wonderful community of people who live by the same drop-out starchild values that I do.  And unlike the rest of the state, the spanish-speaking people here answer me in spanish!

A few other things I’ve noticed:  lots of genuine artists living close to the edge on solely the proceeds from their art; there are magpies all over the place and they really ARE drawn to investigate shiny objects; Cid’s market is way better than Sprouts or TJ’s; there are more charitable organizations per capita than anywhere I’ve ever lived, and if you want to keep your house warm you better know how to operate an axe!  Oh, and the pecan sticky buns at Michael’s Bakery are to die for!…

The most significant reasons for choosing to live in Taos, though, are spiritual reasons.  There is a strong sense of love, tolerance and generosity in the community – and a remarkable feeling that Taoseños share my values.  The same types of young people I find at raves down in Albuquerque – starkids who’ve abandoned mainstream culture and run for the hills.  Plenty of people who don’t vote, could care less about politics or government, and who feel real change occurs at a grassroots local/personal level.  A strong sense of “we” being far more important than “me”.  I have to admit, too, that I feel a pronounced sense of spiritual retreat when I’m home on the Rio Hondo.

And when you live in Taos you quickly learn to avoid that damn stoplight east of the plaza!  In fact you learn to stay off the main thoroughfare through town entirely!  Traffic at that main stoplight is how we know there are lots of foreigners in town!

But I’m duly impressed by the demarcation between the Taos which tourists see and the actual community of Taos.  Peace.  We either live by our values or we don’t.  I’ve found that, home on the Rio Hondo, we live by our values.

Here are some pictures….