View from the Flight Deck

Despite the fact that I have two avid “birders” in my family, I have never been able to drum up much interest in birds beyond marveling at nature’s creative palette pertaining to their feathers. I have long joked that my bird “life list” includes black birds, brown birds, white birds, red birds, yellow birds, etc. I would travel out of my way to see a bird Continue reading

ABQ: How Low Can You Go?

After 7 glorious days of near-perfect weather, I left the Bisti Badlands sooner than I would have liked. There was a cold front on the way, and temps were predicted to drop below freezing. The Winnie was not winterized, and since this appeared to be a fast moving front with temps returning to the 70’s on the back end, I didn’t want to go to the trouble and inconvenience of emptying the tanks and blowing out the lines for just a Continue reading

Aliens in the Ah-shi-sle-pah Wilderness

As I mentioned in my previous post, the only time I ran into another person at the “Egg Hatchery” was when I encountered a photographer in the area at sunset. I had recorded the most direct route as a track on my Gaia GPS app to be certain I could retrace my steps. And I had timed the two mile journey on more than one occasion to maximize my “golden hour” time at the eggs, while still having plenty of time to return to the parking lot with enough light to see the terrain. In addition, I loaded my backpack with all sorts of Continue reading

Bisti Badlands Bewilderness

I’ve never been one to ask the question, “What can possibly go wrong next??” as I often find that as soon as I ask the question, I am shown the answer. The year 2020 has turned out to be one of the worst of my lifetime, second only to 2015 when I lost both my youngest brother and my Dad within 3 months of each other. Still overall, I am reminded its been a good life.

But when thinking about bad news, which comes first, the chicken or the egg? Does bad stuff keep happening because I have written off this entire year to suck? Or is it a bad year because bad stuff keeps happening? In other words, can a “year” have a self-fulfilling prophecy? Continue reading

Facing Ghosts at Ghost Ranch

When I visited northern New Mexico last summer, I was in a hurry. I had tickets to the Santa Fe Opera in mid August, and reservations in Port Townsend for the end of August. That’s was a lot of miles to cover in a little over two weeks. So I just hit the highlights, covering all the “must visit” stops.

Still feeling enamored after the opera tribute to Georgia O’Keeffe, “Letters from Georgia,” I wanted to visit her home and studio in Abiquiu, hike in some of the areas such as Plaza Blanca where she found inspiration for her paintings, and take a tour of Continue reading

There’s Gold in Them Thar Hills!

I stayed way past my limit in Cloudcroft. Even with confirmation from the Ranger that the Forest Service was taking a bit of a “who’s counting?” approach during COVID, coupled with the fact that I did move around a bit, I didn’t want to wear out my welcome.

I had hoped I could stay long enough to see the large stand of aspens at the top of the hill in my favorite meadow turn gold. It was my favorite hiking destination, as it was behind a hiker’s gate restricting vehicular traffic, and with the exception of Labor Day when they opened the gate, I rarely saw anyone up there. The wild horses from the Continue reading

Rail Trails, Rim Trails, and Animal Tales

I’ve now been moving about the Cloudcroft area for going on two months. One of the reasons it’s been so hard to leave here is because the hiking is to my liking. Not only are trails abundant, but access to the trailheads is easy. Many can be hiked on foot right from boondocking spots without having to drive to the trailhead, particularly the animal trails which proved invaluable during my 14 day quarantine. Others can be accessed from town, or via spacious pullouts along the “Sunspot Highway.”

Continue reading

Cloudcroft, Clouds, and Silver Linings

I reached the breaking point with the Central Texas summer heat. Literally. Every breaker was breaking. My rooftop AC went out, and the portable AC my cousin loaned me was too much for my power supply, having to make the long 30amp journey from its hijacked junction in the equipment shed. I couldn’t sleep at night in spite of the mosquito net I hung like a shroud around my bed. My internal breaker was tripping. Continue reading

Letters from Georgia

Before I delve in to the New Mexico recap, I just wanted to thank those who commented on my “This Old House” post. I loved reading about your respective memories of that first place we each called “home.” I found the comments not only moving, but also rewarding that writing a post on a personal blog could net me so many wonderful “mini vignettes” in return. Thank you all for the gifts.

Last year when I attended the Santa Fe Opera, the program distributed at the beginning of the performance contained a preview of the upcoming 2019 season. One performance particularly piqued my interest enough to make me want to return for the second year in a row. Renée Fleming, in her Santa Fe Opera debut, would be Continue reading