It’s A New Dawn, it’s a New Day….

Warning: Political Post Ahead. If that sort of thing offends you, I understand. Either scroll through and just look at the photos and captions of the amazing Catwalk Recreation Area in New Mexico’s Gila Wilderness, or pass altogether. But this is my personal blog, meant to be a personal account of what I am feeling at any given moment. And today, Inauguration Day, January 20th, 2021, as the song goes, “I’m feelin’ good.”

One of my last stops in my counter-clockwise circuit through New Mexico last fall was Catwalk Recreation Area in Whitewater Canyon, located in the Gila Wilderness.

Whitewater Creek runs through the narrow gorge.

This steel causeway known as “the catwalk” follows two pipelines which supplied water and water power to the old town of Graham where gold and silver were milled in the 1890’s.

This modern-day catwalk winds through a narrow canyon alongside Whitewater Creek in the Gila National Forest where the original catwalk was once suspended.

I’ve been up since 5:00am today, watching history in the making. It feels like such a promise of hope. While waiting on the “virtual parade,” I have been happily cleaning house. The windows are open, and the birds are chirping. Three little birds. Upon my doorstep. I swept out the Winnie, cleaned the bathroom, and burned a little desert sage I saved back from my last visit in the great Southwest. It feels good to have a clean house. A fresh start.

I knew I had a lot of anxiety surrounding this day, but it wasn’t until the final walk to the White House that I realized just how much. I feel worn out. So much relief after observing four years of abuse, lies, xenophobia, and racist behaviors that have caused me to feel shame for what has become of my own country. Tears throughout the day have felt cathartic. I took live screenshots this morning as he left the White House for what I pray is the last time.

I’ve waited, no, make that “longed” for this day since November 8th, 2016 when I sat up all night in the Watchman Campground in Zion National Park watching the votes come in, nervously counting to 270. And then I cried. Not just for Hillary’s loss, but for the win of a man I knew to be a grifter. A gadfly. A garish egomaniac. But it turned out to be even worse than I could have imagined.

About 1889, gold and silver deposits were discovered in the mountains above Whitewater Canyon. Several mines were developed in the area with ore being hauled in wagons to the small town of Graham located at the mouth of the canyon.

Water required to operate the electric generator at the mill, as well as meet the needs of the 200 townspeople was obtained by constructing a 4 inch pipeline.

This pipeline reached about 3 miles up the canyon. In 1897, additional water was required, so a larger 18 inch pipe was constructed.

Maintenance workers called the narrow pipeline supports the Catwalk, because walking on the then wooden planks required cat-like balancing skills.

The mill, built in 1893 had the capacity to produce 75 tons of ore per day. The mill operated until 1913. Work continued in the mines until 1942.

The Catwalk is now a tourist attraction with interpretive placards along the path.

Though the new catwalk now serves a recreational purpose only, timbers, bolts, and cables that supported the pipeline can still be seen hanging from the canyon walls.

Men from the local Civilian Conservation Corps camp transformed the pipeline into a wooden recreation trail back in the 1930’s.

The U.S. Forest Service replaced the wooden trail with metal grating in the 1960’s. Half a mile was made wheelchair accessible in 2003.

I’ve had distain for the Orange Stain since my 10 years of living in New York. My office in the Financial District was on the 12th floor of the historic, 71 story building at 40 Wall Street. We just called it “Forty Wall.” While I often complained about trying to get to meetings navigating through a crowded tourist destination adjacent to the New York Stock Exchange, I loved working on Wall Street. And I loved working in that historical old building. What I didn’t love, however, was it’s official name, “The Trump Building.” Huge, ostentatious gold letters spelling out that name of shame loomed over the doorway where I entered daily.

On September 11th, 2001, after returning on my bicycle from the banks of the Hudson River where I stood watching the World Trade Center towers collapse while coming to grips with the loss of over 2,000 lives, I distinctly remember watching the TV coverage throughout the night. Replaying was the interview of Donald Trump, leaseholder boasting, “40 Wall Street was the second-tallest building in downtown Manhattan before the World Trade Center. And now it’s the tallest.” Since that day, it’s felt personal.

One thing I did have the privilege of experiencing during my years at 40 Wall Street working for the big “blue box,” was what it means to have strong leadership at the helm. Compassion. Inclusiveness. Humility. Honesty. Accountability. And most of all…Integrity. Oh, how I have missed those competencies over the past four years, and oh how good it feels to get a whiff of that once again today.

In 2012, a flood following the Mt Baldy fire destroyed most of the Catwalk. While much of it has been rebuilt, the famous suspension bridge is no longer there, and only about half of the original loop has been restored.

The “swimming hole” is now the end of the trail. Traveling beyond this point means scrambling over room-sized boulders lining the creek.

There are a couple of water crossings along the new trail.

This water crossing must be navigated across wet and slippery logs. One foot stayed dry.

Fall is an excellent time to visit the Catwalk Recreation Area due to the beautiful fall colors of the turning leaves.

An early morning mid-week visit means very light traffic. I saw only half a dozen people along the path.

The bridge along this section was made of fiberglass.

While much of the original loop is under construction, it’s still possible to choose from two different routes. I took the more difficult path out, and the easy trail back.

The Catwalk” is located on the western edge of New Mexico’s Mogollon Mountains

At the trailhead is a lovely picnic area shaded by some magnificent Sycamore trees.

The hashtag, “ETTD” (Everything trump touches dies) seems to hold true. Trump University, Trump Vodka, Trump Steaks, Trump neckties, Trump Airlines/Shuttle, Trump mortgage. Even his Atlantic City casino, Trump Plaza, is scheduled to be blown up on 29th January, auctioned to the highest bidder for the pleasure of pushing the demolition button, with the proceeds going to Boys & Girls Club. I just hope the second impeachment is the final wooden stake through the vampire’s heart before democracy also falls victim.

I am not so naive as to think that seeing trump leave “the people’s house” will solve the nation’s problems any more than I think a cleaning job will last. The stains run deep. But for today, it’s a new day, it’s a new dawn….and I’m feelin’ good. Really, really good.

“Two million a hundred two thousand four hundred minutes.” ~Seasons of Trump, Randy Rainbow

46 thoughts on “It’s A New Dawn, it’s a New Day….

  1. Suzanne, you have such a way with words – you express my thoughts exactly! Thank you!! (…and I’m smiling because this morning I kept singing the only words I remember to how you opened your blog today…”It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life, and I’m feelin’ good!)

  2. Have enjoyed reading your site for quite a while now. This one has reached new levels. My only complaint is you are much too kind to this orange t__d.

  3. Your words echoed my feelings that I could never have expressed so eloquently. I’m relieved and hopeful today as well. I’ve been wearing my purple shirt and pearls all day ! You nailed it ! Thanks I just watched the first press briefing and this lady has her shit together. What a great change.

  4. Suzanne, thanks for another great post – in my view maybe your best! I have faithfully read your blog since shortly after your start – never commented, but this one requires appreciation. We meet at the Mini Winnie get-together in Oregon some year back. Thanks for wonderful pictures, stories and great tips!

  5. Well said. My same thoughts so eloquently put. I am a long time follower, though a rare commenter, and have trailed in your footsteps a time or two throughout the southwest. Your blog is always one of my favorites.

  6. Another reader here who has never commented before. I concur with everything you wrote. I too have a travel blog, but during the last four years I have felt it necessary to veer into politics from time to time and vent my anger over that loathsome creature.

  7. Amen sister. Finally we can exhale! What a glorious day. The poet laureate at 22 years of age was captivating. Her words were eloquent . The two hour special on TV tonight with the raft of entertainers along with Tom Hanks, President Biden, and Kamala Harris was the frosting on the cake. The cherry on top was the three former presidents, Obama, Clinton and Bush commenting in a relaxed and honest way. The whole day was perfection. Onward to do good works and to right all the wrongs of the last four years!

    • I agree Babs, it was refreshing to observe wholesome friendly humanity amongst the leaders, including entertainment leaders, of our country!! And Suzanne, this catwalk post/photos are gorgeous! It’s on my must-visit list.

  8. I think the world probably breathed a sigh of relief that Trump has been replaced by a statesman, diplomat and someone who clearly understands. Great pictures by the way.

  9. He rocks in the tree tops all day long
    Hoppin’ and a-boppin’ and singing his song
    All the little birdies on Jaybird Street
    Love to hear the robin go tweet tweet tweet… “ByeDon”
    I agree with you and all your commenters…it’s a glorious day.

  10. With you all the way sister! I was shedding tears of joy for the future and tears of sadness for what could have been and was lost.

    P.S. The pictures of the park and descriptions were great too – it looks like an interesting place.

  11. Suzanne, I was fascinated by your pictures of the canyon. I had known nothing of it until this morning, too bad so much was destroyed, I hope that more can be rebuilt in the future.
    A future that is so much better today. Deede and my hearts were broken for the last four years while the orange man destroyed as much of what has made our country great in the past 80 years. What we believe about him you pretty well captured with out the profanity I would have injected.
    I did not watch much more than the actual swearing in as I am totally fed up with the talking heads who fill in TV space with words which are usually useless garbage. That said, This morning I found the poem written and recited by Amanda Gorman and was entranced. She is a youth who gets it and can put it into words we all can understand. There is hope, but we must work hard to regain that hope as a nation as democracy is hard to implement and maintain. It is not easy, it is hard and worth the effort. I feel a bit better about the future today, but the work is never finished.

  12. Good afternoon Sussane,
    Hit the road tRump and don’t you come back no more, no more hit the road tRump and don’t you come back no more……the amoral narcissistic cowards rein of darkness is over.
    I join your other readers with praise for your wonderful blog, photos and always informative & entertaining commentary.
    Enjoyed your appropriate “wooden stake in the heart” analogy,
    Thank you for sharing your adventures and thoughts with us.

  13. Beautiful photos and prose. I took my first deep breath in four years yesterday once they were sworn in, and have some hope for our future. It will take time and leadership to move us there, but at least now the cancer is gone. I opened a bottle of champagne and toasted to the future!

  14. Hey Suzanne, like you the feeling here with Allison and I is one of tremendous relief that this four year nightmare is over. That psychopath has done immense damage to this country that will take a long time to repair. But for now there is hope that the healing and repair will begin. Travel safe.

  15. The hill we climb

    If only we dare

    It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit,

    it’s the past we step into

    and how we repair it

    Thank you for you comments.

    Here comes the sun..,,.

  16. OMGoodness thank you for this – how I wish there was a “LIKE” button to like this post and all of the comments that have been posted.

    Beautiful Photos – thank you for sharing.

  17. Big sigh of relief. And seeing a clip today of 3 ex-Presidents talking together on the the DC Mall last night made me realize exactly how hard the past 4 years have been. They each seemed liked full fledged human beings concerned for the country rather than themselves.
    Thanks for the great photos!!

  18. First, the photos of the Catwalk Recreation Area are awesome! Another place I’ve never heard of prior to this read and can’t wait to see. I really hadn’t started my NM research before the pandemic hit. I only had a couple places that I knew I wanted to visit. You are so helping me plan for next fall (fingers crossed things have improved with the virus). We have visited a few popular places in NM as part of my Chaco trip. But it’s time to really tour this state.

    Second, John and I are right there with your feelings. I’ve never heard that quote from Donald in 2001 but it sure doesn’t surprise me. Someone without empathy wouldn’t understand how this would upset people. In his little bubble he is correct…this building is the tallest…what’s the problem!!!! Makes you want to scream. You took the words right out of John’s mouth. He’s been saying that the only way to stop Trump is to put a stake in his heart. Otherwise, he’ll keep coming back.
    The Inauguration was perfect! I went through so many tissues. It’s nice that President Biden didn’t have trouble getting someone to sing!! The music, speech, and that beautiful poet and poem were just what the country needed. A grand day indeed.

  19. Love reading all these comments-I agree with them all, as well as your post, of course! The Catwalk Recreation Area is very cool – another one to put on the ole bucket list.
    Love you cuz!

  20. It was a beautiful day; I enjoyed every moment of pomp and circumstance and…class. A new dawn, a new day, indeed. A fresh start of hope and unity with eyes wide open for the salve of salvation to seep deep and run long.

  21. Suzanne, thank you for making this post about such an important day.

    I’ve seen inaugurations since I was a kid in the 50s but I have never ever viewed one with such a sense of relief and gratitude. I just about lost it when Lady Gaga turned to show the nation and the world that the flag was still there.

  22. I loved both parts of your post, seeing an interesting place to visit after my vaccinations, and your astute and personal perspective on the past devastating presidency. It feels good to write “past.” I hope we will learn from our sad and cruel mistake.

  23. Great post, great photos. Trump is a symptom of an infection that has always been, at best, just below the surface. He gave it form and focus and it’s something that will likely have to be fought long into the future. We can worry about that tomorrow and take comfort in knowing this battle was won this time.


  24. Well said, well said. It’s wonderful to see Joe hard at work repairing our country. I fear that much of the damage will take a very long time to root out before it can be repaired.

  25. Well said! I had many of the same feelings. Also got up at 5:00am, specifically to see that loathsome ass walk out of the White House and fly away. It’s such a relief to have decency back, competency back, empathy back. Of course everything won’t be perfect, it never is. But this is a start, and I feel like we are breathing easier than we have in a long time.

    I miss you! I’ve taken a lot at SKP Park Sierra. Finally slowing down after 8+ years. Still hope to cross paths again though.
    Safe travels.
    Jeanne Bold

  26. I hope you are doing well in these difficult times. I just wanted to let you know how much I have enjoyed your blog over the years-the beautiful pictures and the thoughtful and informative descriptions of places you have visited. You have enlarged my world and I am thankful for such a gift.

  27. I was thinking of you today, missing all your great writing and photos. Came to check on you, and yup….after this last magnificent post you are again quiet. All is better but certainly not yet well. The country is still divided but at least we don’t have to see his face and hear him every single day. I am still exhausted by all of it. Grants Pass, while in Oregon, is a more rural part of Oregon, and according to the cute little app that came up recently on facebook, 71 percent of the 1000 folks surrounding my home voted Republican. I don’t see much change coming unless President Biden just blasts through it all somehow. But anyway….just wanted you to know I was thinking of you and missing you and wondering how you are doing.

    • Hi, Sue. How nice of you to check in! I am honored that you thought of me in such a way.

      To be candid, I have just been feeling a bit shell shocked lately. I seemed to do great in the first of year of the pandemic, but as of late, it’s been a “slow bloom of gloom.” I got tied up in Texas with a series of issues, the most recent of which was a hail storm with 2.5″ hailstones that shattered my skylight, put holes in my rooftop AC cover, and added some “texture” to the Winnie’s hood. Two months in, and I am still waiting for completion of repairs. Between having my wings clipped, then my wheels chocked, it has often times felt a bit surreal. I’ve been “vaxed to the max” since March, but still can’t seem to get traction.

      I have appreciated the relief that has come from the much maligned “boring” administration. But the “Trump 2024” signs popping up everywhere are already starting to concern me. But what can we do? It’s tough not to lose hope amidst the insanity. I think of the Rudyard Kipling quote, “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you.”

      Enjoy the PNW for me. I would so love to get there again one day, though I have to remind myself that my “last pre-COVID haircut” was in Port Townsend, so it really hasn’t been as long as it feels. haha!!

      Thanks so much for saying hello. You brightened my day!

  28. I had been wondering where you were as well Suzanne and feel like you have just been through exactly what I have been through. RV problems that I can’t get fixed, fear of 2024, stuck in one place too long and can’t get the motivation to get up and out. Wish we were closer, you in Texas and me in Virginia, perhaps we could give each other a shove. Definitely needing a like-minded friend here.

    • Hi, Sherry. Nice to hear from you. I have thought about you recently as I contemplate whether or not to chop off my “pandemic ponytail.” On one hand, it’s such a novelty. Not since I cut my long hair for college graduation has it been this long. I keep looking at it thinking “Wow, I grew that!” LOL! On the other hand, I am once again on the move, so water conservation in the Winnie is a consideration. So I think it has to go soon.

      Hopefully you are finding the motivation to move. Whenever I feel stuck, I think of that old Tracy Chapman song, “Fast Car” where she says “Leave tonight, or live and die this way.” That usually gets me to at least planning, if not moving. 😉

      Hope our like-minded paths cross one day,

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