May 18, 2003. Sunday

Taos Ski Valley, NM

I should've known that after such a great day yesterday that the other shoe would fall and that the entire weekend couldn’t be so wonderful.

Yesterday started slow and non-eventful as we toured the Plaza--cheaper, smaller version of Santa Fe.
     There were some art galleries, but only a handful of bw pics, but more than a fair share of tourist shops.
     We left the plaza, went across the street to the Animal Fair. There were some great looking rescue dogs.
     Across the street was a door shop--but these verged on antique doors, in various styles, made to be more like gates to SW homes' courtyards. I found some good pictures (10) and expensive doors (~$4000). I'm hoping for 1-2 shots to come out. (Dunbar & Dunbar Antiques)

     Meanwhile, Jess and Ryan went further up the street and we finished our separate excursions at the same time. They found a place that sold records and I bought a Simon and Garfunkel LP.

(since my condo's amenities include wood-panel walls, a comfy futon I just awoke from a nap on, and a record player)

Upon Taryn's suggestion, (and some searching) we found the 2 culverts which started into a dry gorge leading to the Rio Grande.

     That, too, started slow and unworthwhile until we explored further down the gorge, rock-hopping and spotting bones.
     We found a small deer's leg, a fox/dog's skull attached to much of the spine, and other ribcages.
     It could not be told whether animal died and was discarded with the rubbish in the gorge, or if a flash-flood had caught the animal off-guard.
     I snagged the lower jaw-bone of the canine and its currently soaking in peroxide. I am contemplating going back and retrieving the upper skull/spine, but morbid value and the intactness of flesh and fur restrain me. It would look kinda cool bleached white and hanging from a wall head down, base-spine up, but definitely morbid. And I'd have to clean that whole thing, a process I know nothing of.
     The internet suggested peroxide vs bleach to improve the integrity of bone.

I climbed down an extinct 10-ft waterfall to further explore the tremendous junk pile. There were:
  • Several cars, rusted out
  • Shot-up newspaper boxes
  • A Big Wheel
  • Assorted appliances

     To get back up was a somewhat technical-start for the short climb, but I returned not empty-handed. I nabbed a great 'Mountain Climbing School' sign and Jess got a 'Rocky Mountain Fudge: Taos' sign.

Starved, we grocery shopped--I spent too much money, but will eat well: pork chops, salmon, pasta.
     and drink well: New Castle 6-pack and a wonderful bottle of Robert Mondavi wine, very similar to (if not identical) to the bottle I had in Denver--nice apple undertone.

Once home, Jess and Ryan set about making pizzas for dinner while I figured out how to work the record player.
     It was a great day--the adventure and finds in the gorge, the record, the wine…the atmosphere couldn't be beat. There was definitely something grand in the air and we all shared the same attitude.

Today, the unthinkable and unheard of occurred: I was bested on a trail. I have never turned back from a destination. I always make it there and back again.
     However, a 4-mile round-trip to William's Lake beat me. It wasn't the altitude (10,000') and definitely note the length. But the snow--I've hiked in snow before--Clingman's Dome, Gem Lake. And I know I'm from FL, but I know deep when I'm in it. At first it was calf-deep, the knee-deep in parts. At thigh depth, I was tiring and wondering. Finally, when I took 2 steps and sunk to my cajones, I decided that no lake was worth the struggle. I had no deep-snow experience and was, per usual, solo and didn't want to end up a human popsicle. On the way down, further reaffirming my decision, I once stepped and a broken branch scraped my shin and I once almost lost a boot in the fork of another branch. Snow trails, even frequented, are unpredictable and it didn't seem worth it after only 1/3 of a mile. I was using too much energy and was sure it would only get deeper, and downhill was no cake-walk either.

     I felt overcome and lost all hiking momentum, esp after checking other local trails here and found them to be very steep (2000-3000' elevation gain in 3miles). Combined with snow, that's not much fun.
     So I came back home, sat around till Jess and Ryan came back, chatted, and took a 30 minute nap.

Pork chops are on the menu tonight, and the rest of the that bottle of wine. Ah, comfort food…

My Hemingway book, Islands in the Stream, is a really good read. As well as being good literature, there's that direct correlation of reading/writing, so I've got 3 starts on that hiking story, 3 being the best so far I think.


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