small world, coyotes, running of the bulls, IZ,
salmon run, an empty park, fresh cup,
and George Washington and the axe

Sometimes when I’m camped in a nice secluded spot miles back in from the asphalt, the world seems to grow smaller. At such times ‘the world’ is easily defined and it’s boundaries clear. I can feel this when Nature is coming on strong. Maybe I’m running down a trail trying to get back to camp as the clouds are darkening and there’s the sound of thunder off in the distance. Or I’m in my camper as the wind is screaming like a banshee or it’s pouring buckets. The same feeling exists at more gentle times. I might be sitting around a small fire, taking a mug-walk, a bowl-walk, out walking with M&M, sitting under the awning during a warm summer drizzle, or sitting inside watching the snow. Sometimes it’s more sensory. It could be the fragrance of the sage I threw on the fire or the feel of an early morning fog lifting off a glass-smooth pond, the call of an owl or coyote. I can open up to the rhythms and tempo of the natural world—sunrises and sunsets, moonrise, the sound of the wind in the trees, and the flowing water of a mountain stream. It all seems to gradually seep in as awareness expands. It’s like a re-connecting with the simplicity of life. I’m thankful that I can live like this for most of the year. Hopefully, I’ll come up with a way in which I can experience it for even more of the year. As of now however, winters, are pretty much a write-off, but there are other aspects that make the time somewhat pleasurable.
Many don’t understand why campgrounds, the grandiose, and the ‘sights to see’ don’t do much for me. Different strokes. I’m basically content with how I live. Maybe I have a low threshold of satisfaction.

Often I hear a coyote’s call from out in the desert. A sound I enjoy listening to. Other times I hear a pack of coyotes yipping wildly in unrestrained excitement. This sound I don’t care for so much. The pack is celebrating the death of some unfortunate creature. It is not exactly the semi-romantic howl of the wild people most often associate with the animals. It is a frenzied, hysterical cacophony of voices that precedes prey being ripped apart and devoured by the pack. I don’t know, maybe there is too much time to reflect on what I see and hear in this lifestyle.

Well, it’s almost time for ‘the running of the bulls.’ Nay, you say—that’s in July. I say, Ever go shopping between thanksgiving and christmas?

If you have not listened to Israel Kamakawiwo'ole singing, ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World,’ check out this link.
Did you catch the two transitions?

Whenever I’m in the Chama area I spend time at Paul’s place down in Tierra Amarilla, the 3 Raven’s Coffee House (pictures and story in my December 2009 entry). Right from the get-go it was a fabulous place (well, after ten years of work) but somehow he manages to improve upon it every year. The 3 Ravens got written up in this year’s October issue of Fresh Cup, the magazine for Specialty Coffee and Tea Professionals ( Way to go Paul. Can’t see how he can top this but he probably will. Also, remember that Paul is a drum maker. If you are interested in a custom wooden drum, Paul is the person to get one from. His wood shop takes up a good portion of his building.

I saw Siscily when I was passing through Chama. Remember she used to be a ranger at Heron Lake state park. She still runs a kayak rental business in the summer. I was invited over to her place one night for dinner. A few of her friends and Paul were there and we sat around a fire and drank cabernet sauvignon, ate, talked, and told a few joke. A good time. I might enjoy stuff like this more than most since I don’t get a chance to do it all that often. Siscily also stopped by my site a couple times and brought me home grown tomatoes and some wild apples. There is an apple tree next to the visitor center in town.
One morning I had a nice talk with Anthony, the superintendent of Heron and El Vado. A good guy who is very knowledgeable about the area. He grew up in Chama, went off to college, came back, and worked his way up through the park system. He initially stopped by my site to tell me about the closing of Willow Creek for Halloween. They set up quite a popular event in the campground and have been doing it for the past three years or so. Willow Creek reopens afterwards but then its almost snagging season. Not a time to be staying in Heron.

Whenever I stop at Heron Lake as I head south, most mornings I run the trail. I thought I covered all of it, from the visitor center down to El Vado. The other day, Siscily told me the park had a 3-mile trail from the visitor center to the east meadow. Yep, I had to go check it out. Not bad, but my favorite section is still the Salmon Run Trail section. It’s even better now. They blocked off some sections of the old cart path and routed runners/hikers/mountain bikers onto some nice single tracks.

I met a great couple one morning while I was out on the trail. They’re from TorC and were staying in the Brushy Point cg. They had a small, older 5th wheel but, like me, they also have the camper mindset. I rarely come across people like this. Just about all of them are into RVing. We had a good talk. Things like this can make my day.

I never stopped at El Vado as I meandered south so this year I pulled in to see what it was like. When I got there, there was not a single rig in the park. My kind of place. I stayed there for a week and a half and for most of my stay, I was the only camper. Way cool. It was nice having an electric hookup but it was back to the sun shower bag. Every other morning I ran or hiked the Rio Chama trail and most afternoons took M&M for a walk. Jack, a camper with a Fleetwood/Coleman Evolution E1tent trailer pulled in one day. I was really surprised how much room there was in his rig. The box was only 10’ but the inside seemed twice as big as my casita. We had a good time one evening sitting around his campfire exchanging stories. Not bad.

I was planning to leave one Wednesday but noticed in my pocket at-a-glance that it was ‘Day of the Dead.’ Sounded like it was not a good day for being out on the roads so I waited one more day. As always when heading south from Chama, I stop at the 3 Ravens Coffee House for a mug of Paul’s high octane. One mug and I’m good for the whole day! Also, as always, I stocked up with supplies at the La Montanita Food Co-op in Santa Fe. It’s easy to get to and there’s plenty of bulk bins and a good selection of sandwiches at the deli counter.

October’s sixty minutes sixty years: nailed another month with 2115 minutes.

Exercise is hard. It’s sweaty. But it’s also a chance for me to get out of my comfort zone and see if I can do more than I think I can. I look at others who always stay in their comfort zone and I just don‘t want to look like them or live these last years as they do. I sure as hell don’t think or act like them. Different strokes—never developed the herd instinct. Exercise is not about getting in a workout on a Tuesday. It’s about adding 20 years to one’s life—active, useable years that one can truly live. For most, this seems to be a very hard concept to grasp, let alone hold any meaning. But I like to get out of my comfort zone from time to time. It adds a little spice to life (not that I’m going to take up bungee jumping).
“You may delay, but time will not.” Benjamin Franklin

November humor—George Washington and the Ax
Teacher: George Washington not only chopped down his father’s cherry tree but also admitted it. Now, Joey, do you know why his father didn’t punish him?
Joey: Because George still had the ax in his hand?

bonus humor
This misprint is from a Michigan publication, InTune: “Parents are encouraged to stay throughout the concert and not to heave at the end of their child’s performance.” Oops!

The first wealth is health. Ralph Waldo Emerson

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’


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