Monday, August 31, 2009

From a picnic table by a mountain creek

OK, I'm on battery power, so will be as informative and laconic as possible. The road trip is going great. First off was a nice visit with some of my extended family in western KS. I then drove on to Clayton Lake State Park in NM and saw some dinosaur tracks in the stone layer of the spillway. Very cool place, and oh-so tranquil. I just slept on my picnic table instead of using my tent.

The next day I drove over to Capulin Volcano Nat. Monument, and drove up its slopes and hiked around the crater. The cone stands roughly 2,000 feet above the surrounding high plains, just to give the following picture some perspective. You can see the road wrapping up the side of the volcano.

I then carried on over some great mountain roads to Taos and met a very good friend I made during my previous stint at Pole. He rode in on a motorcycle that had an engine that handily out-displaced my Civic's 1.6-liter monster in line-4. Anyhow, we went out to Wild Rivers Recreational Area, and practically had the whole park to ourselves. We hiked down to the confluence of the Red and Rio Grande rivers (shown below), and the canyons were just absolutely lovely.

The next day I left Taos early, and went to Antonito, CO and rode the Toltec & Chama Scenic Railroad. I was definitely way younger than the average age of the riders in general, but it was gorgeous scenery and a first for me to ride on a train pulled by a coal-powered steam engine. The cinders got a little old after a while, but otherwise it was great, as was the all-you-can-eat lunch. I had some older lady ask how a "little guy" like me could put away so much food. Oh ye of little faith!

Back in Antonito, after the train ride, I geeked out over the house used as Indiana Jones' boyhood home in "The Last Crusade". You can rent it out, and it's even up for sale. Now, it might not be as cool as seeing the building in Petra, Jordan used as the temple housing the Holy Grail, but it still was cool to see another place from the movies.

I will say, that up until I tried to take the photo of my fedora on the mailbox, my fedora was pretty much pristine. Well, maybe it was the spirit of the movies or just an errant gust of wind, but my hat took a tumble and found its first bit of dirt and dust as it tumbled across the front lawn. I'll consider it an auspicious sign of adventures to come.

I'm in Nathrop, CO camping tonight, and will leave not too long after midnight to start the 15-mile hike up and down Mt. Antero tomorrow. The trail head is within about 15 miles of my tent, so it shouldn't take too long to get there. I'll post more as I can, and access to AC power avails. This trip is proving exactly the right balm to prepare me for this next chapter on the Ice.

If you have given up your heart for the Tower, Roland, you have already lost. A heartless creature is a loveless creature, and a loveless creature is a beast. To be a beast is perhaps bearable, although the man who has become one will surely pay hell’s own price in the end, but if you should gain your object? What if you should, heartless, storm the Dark Tower and win it? What could you do except degenerate from beast to monster? To gain one’s object as a beast would only be bitterly comic, like giving a magnifying glass to an elephaunt. But to gain one’s object as a monster…To pay hell is one thing. But do you want to own it?
~The Drawing of the Three, Stephen King

1 comment:

Rachel B said...

Yay, Capulin Volcano rocks my world!!! Road trips are the best, and I love that you can now get wifi while camping! Have fun, Ethan!