West: Taos & Fort Worth

Shoulder Angel 1: This trip was 2 years ago, September 2016, so why are you just now writing about it?
Shoulder Angel 2: A, It’s been nagging me that I didn’t document it in a timely fashion. I suppose I could let it go, yet I feel unsettled when I don’t finish something I start. It’s a bottleneck I have created for myself, a silly ‘rule’ which says, ‘You cannot share anything else here until finish this in sequential order.’
B, I get to relive the vacation. This part was around September 18th.

FOR THE LOVE OF ADOBE

Two days prior to leaving Colorado, we decided on Taos, New Mexico, as our next interim stop, I learned about Mabel Dodge Luhan House, a historic inn and conference center for the arts. Some of the greatest minds of the 20th century were inspired here. Lucky for us 1 room, Tony’s Room, was available on such short notice. The inn had a rustic, restful vibe, and an amazing breakfast. We spent quite a bit of time on the porch of our 2nd story room.

I recommend a walk through the super cool kitchen, out its back door to watch the light change over the sagebrush at sunset. Also, there is a cool labyrinth on the grounds outside of the conference center.

From the inn, it is an easy stroll to downtown Taos Plaza. We stopped into Taos Outfitters for day hike suggestions. We traded hiking trail stories with the owner and left with not only trail suggestions, but also restaurant suggestions and job offers in the store should we ever decide to move out there. 🙂

SERENE, VULNERABLE, SHINY BUTTS

We set out early a.m. for a hike in Carson National Forest to Williams Lake, the most popular trail in the ski valley. We loved taking in the serene lake and exploring interesting invertebrates on the rocks in its shallow depths.
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On a whim, we took a detour hike on Wheeler’s Peak Trail to experience alpine and in hopes of spotting Big Horn Rams which fellow hikers at Williams Lake had pointed out us through binoculars. See their butts shining?, they said, referring to the ram’s white hind quarters slightly standing out against the grey/brown backdrop above us. We were cognizant that we hadn’t packed enough snacks or water to make it all the way to the summit, so we estimated we would hike for about an hour and then turn around. Along the way we encountered hikers blasting music on their phones. We found this odd. Perhaps this was their way of warding off any animals.
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Exposed & vulnerable. That’s how I felt once we were above the trees. I tried to focus on the spectacular view & interesting plants. I kept thinking how if a storm came up, there was nowhere for shelter. – sort of a flashback to our ‘this is scary’ Minnesota Boundary Waters canoe trip lightning storm. I kept think how if we were to encounter a ram at an unsafe distance there was nothing but a small boulder within sprinting distance for protection from their 300+ pounds of force. Hunter was about 40 yards in front of me slightly uphill. He turned around to check on me and froze with his jaw dropped. Then he pointed to my left and behind me. There were 2 magnificent Big Horn rams grazing. I recalled the Grand Canyon park ranger advice to hold up your thumb between you and the animal to measure distance. If your thumb obstructs the outline of the animal, you are good, you are ‘safe’ distance. My thumb barely covered them. Hunter slowly walked back closer to me while videoing them on his phone. Both of our hearts & lungs were racing. In my peripheral vision at the top of the ridge I saw a flash of what looked to be the undulation of a large marmot tail. Then I started thinking about predators of the ram and marmot, mountain lions. I was happy that I got what I wanted – to see big horn sheep – with a healthy dose of respect for wildlife. It was time to head back down the mountain. My concave thoughts might have been related to me starting to fall under the weather.

EARTHSHIPS, GRUB, AND THINGS TO RELISH

Have a fancy, yet casual romantic dinner: Love Apple
Enjoy the outdoor dining: Orlando’s, The Gorge Bar and Grill
Snacks & friendly folks on your way to tour Earthship Biotecture Community Homes: Flowerdust fruit market on Highway 64W northside Taos
Take a pretty drive to meet local artists and educators at Enchanted Circle Pottery in Taos Canyon
Load your cooler with 6 pounds of fresh green chilies on your way out of town so that you can roast and freeze them when you get home: SaveMart
Soak in hot springs. I fell ill for 18 hours just after our alpine hike, so wasn’t up to enjoy these.

FORT WORTH

We spent a couple of days crashing at our hard-working youngest’s place in Fort Worth. He’s in college and also works full-time as a color guard and winter guard instructor. It was good to catch up with him, explore the town, take in a high school football game and see his student’s half-time performance. Here we are at the town’s oldest diner, the Old Neighborhood Grill.
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Thanks, road, for being good to us. Goin’ places that I’ve never been…We’re the best of friends…I can’t wait to get on the road again.
– Willie Nelson


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