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Thursday, October 27, 2011

summer is over

I’ve watched the sun come up from behind the Manzanos for the last time this year.  I’ve been startled by Bella’s back passing in front of the window like a small pony for the last time this year.  I’ve ridden with the family across the fantastic desert and up into the mountains, wishing all the time I could get out and hike with them when they stopped to look around for the last time.  I’ve listened to my grandkids say, “Look Grandma, what we found” for the last time this year and sorted through this year’s last array of pretty stones, flint shards, pot shards and broken arrowheads for the last time this year. For the last time this year I’ve been awakened from being almost-asleep by a whispery voice saying, “Grammy, you asleep?” when Seth came sneaking in for one last hug that night.  And I’ve –groan—eaten Kerra’s fantastic spicy hot ribs for the last time until next summer! 
We took some fantastic trips this summer:  a wild route up and along and down the San Mateo Mountains, up through the Jemez Mountains to the Caldera down through Los Alamo and Santa Fe, up a canyon into the Manzanos; and around the foothills of the Magdalenas.   My favorite was probably the Jemez, or maybe the San Mateos.  Both were wild and beautiful.  The road through the Jemez was better since it was all or nearly all paved.  The road through the San Mateos was dirt all of the way, very narrow and rough in places. 
Notah’s Big Red Truck is one of the best vehicles I’ve ever ridden in.  Grandpa Bear would love it.  Notah took that truck through some spots where I simply closed my eyes and other places where I was sure we were gonna leave grandma in the truck while Notah and Pat hiked 15 miles to a highway so someone could come and pull us out!  If anybody is shopping for a truck I can’t say enough good things about a Dodge Ram!!

When we went through the Jemez Mountains we saw the devastation of the las Conchas fire that raged for eight days over the Jemez Mountains.  By the time it was controlled the wild fire had consumed 103,000 acres or 161 square miles.  Hudreds of families were evacuated and it was feared that the fire would engulf portions of Los Alamos National Laboratory.   

For quite a while it was thought that the fire had been started by a camper, but ultimately, several weeks after the fire, it was determined that it had been started by a freak tree falling on a power line.  It was the largest fire in New Mexico history and the leading news item in every broadcast for the entire week.

Of course by the time we drove through the mountains the fire was long out and the road re-opened to traffic.  The acres and mountain tops of blackened trees were as awe-inspiring as the towering cliffs and green vistas.

The greatest thing about the Jemez Mountains was that I was able to climb a little bit of a hill from the trail up to the road surface.  I was so thrilled.  I haven’t ‘climbed’ a mountain in probably 35 years!  Notah had gotten me a wheel chair so I could go with them on some of the easier trips. He thought he could take me a ways down the Hot Springs Trail, and he did; but we finally reached a corner where the trail became very narrow and rocky.  There he had to stop.

Since the trail took a switch-back course down the hill when we came to the sharp corner the trail was actually not far at all from the top of the slope.  Notah took a walk up the hill and came back to say that it wasn’t steep at all and he thought I could walk up it if he helped me.  Sure enough, I did!  Of course, by the time I got to the top my walking steps were used up!  Pat brought the wheelchair up and Notah went to get the truck for me! 
Kerra and the kids hiked all the way to the hot spring.  I wish I could have seen it.  When they started off I went to grab my camera so they could bring me pictures.  But my camera was on the floor of Kerra’s car.  I had forgotten to grab it when we transferred from her car to Notah’s truck!  Rats!  
The whole trip was beautiful!—just like all the other trips we took through the countryside.  
My heart will always be in the desert.

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