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Friday, May 29, 2009

to walk a desert trail

Keva got up early today to go with her Sunday School class to Santa Fe. They took the train from Belen at 6:30 am. It goes straight through to Santa Fe and was established for people who had to commute between Albuquerque and there. Of course it has some stops inbetween, but basically it just goes straight through.
They are touring the historical sites and museums in Santa Fe and eating there. I don't know what time they will be home. Probably in time for supper. It was just a day for fun and learning a little about New Mexico.
This part of the state is a rich historical area. The main arteries of trade came up from Mexico through Albuquerque to Santa Fe, the early native Americas were active all around and of course we had cattle and early trappers moving through all the time. If you want to find out about the southwest in a painless and entertaining way try some of the books written by Louis L'Amour.
L'Amour made it a point to travel by foot and horseback all through the southwest and his characters and stories are placed against an authentic background. He said once, "If I write about a spring or a mountain range or a settlement, you can be sure the place is actually there and I walked over it."
My husband was the one who got me started reading L'Amour's books. I had heard about him before, but I always lumped his writings in the same category as Zane Grey, which I abhored. I always found his novels peopled by misplaced Kentucky and West Virginia descriptions and people. Okay, I know everybody raves about Zane Grey but I don't like him. I almost guarantee if you are a Zane Grey fan you don't have a real picture of the southwest. I found his descriptions not to be true to the land I know.
Louie ( my husband, not L'Amour) used to go to the Gallup library with me even before we were married and he was the one who sought out the L'Amour section. I turned my very well educated nose up at such low class novels, but when I'd finished reading everything else I got, I started reading the westerns. Surprise. I liked them. I liked the content and related to the land and characters.
Those times and people are gone forever now, but it you leave the roads and hike through the desert you can hear the echoes and see the phantom people riding across the land.
Start off with Hondo, or Mojave Crossing or The Sky-liners or any of the Sackett Sagas. Once you're hooked you'll find L'Amour novels that stretch from Europe to the streets of San Francisco. And all of them are true to the land they cross. If you don't want novels there are several non fiction books. My favorite is Frontier, descriptions, stories and beautiful photos of places in the southwest and Rockies. I also like A Trail of Memories, quotations of L'Amour interspersed with photos.
Now when I can no longer physically hike the land or even drive for long on the back roads anymore, I can read a Louis L'Amour book and be transported back instantly.

1 comment:

  1. I read one Louie L'Amour book one day because I had nothing else handy to read. (I think it was at someone else's house.) After I read it, I rounded up every other book he had written by that time and read every one of them. I bought a lot of them at used bookstores. I still have a large stash of those books. Some day I'll read them all again.