Upon realizing that the journey WAS indeed the joy of life’s adventures, we fully understood that it was also the portal to happiness and the foundation for harmony. No plans. No reservations. No one. No place. No time.
Due to the TRADITION of the holiday, we found ourselves in a fairly despot situation in terms of food and things to do. Therefore, we decided to “get lost” and see where the universe led us. First stop was Bottomless Lake, which was more like a still mirror set deep into the dessert, reflecting the images of the moment and creating a grandness unlike any man-made or commercial site could accomplish.
From the vantage point of the jagged cliffs of quartz that appeared more like broken glass under the spell of the sun, both the Viking and the Apache were able to deeply ground and draw clarity and appreciation for all we could see. It was also from here we saw our NEXT destination: Sierra Blanca Mountains.
Our day-long drive revealed some of the most spectacular displays of polarity expressed by our divine Gaia herself. Sharp ridges and hills transformed into flowing dessert mountains dotted with green balls of life and then suddenly, gave rise to golden-leaf giants shedding their summer clothing to make way for the coming chill. The further we drove, the greener it became, with tall pine forested mountains shutting out the once burning dessert sun.
After a much deserved buffet for Thanksgiving, and some good old-fashioned communication, we found a remote area next to a stream in deeply set in between two large peaks to pitch our tent and make home for the night. I remember thinking “no one knows we are here…except for the wildlife…and we have no way to contact anyone if indeed we need them”. The best hotel ever.
On Day 3, we awoke with the alarm clock of nature. Hawks and eagles screeching their morning sounds; crunching of old burned pines; steady ripples of the cold clear stream. The Apache wanted to experience the peak and so he kissed his Viking goodbye and began his hike to solitude and clarity (a space I was able to find next to the stream as the sun rose over the pines).
After a quick pack-up, we drove up the narrow and winding two-lane road to the top of the mountain at just under 12,000 ft. The drive included multiple stops for photos and the breathing in of the breath-taking views.
The top, or peak, uncovered a highly commercialized and what both the Apache and myself termed as a “raping” of nature, known ironically as Ski Apache. We departed quickly.
Our next stop would be in town, Ruidoso, for a bite to eat and a gathering of “next stop” thoughts…Alamogordo for some unknown hiking experiences. We traveled through the Apache Indian Reservation, which was my tertiary experience involving the “res”. What I saw from the highway was a similar state of what an inner city ghetto looked like – graffiti, trash in the yards, shanty homes with expensive or “decked out” cars and other remnants of self-inflicted poverty. My Apache explained to me the primary lifestyle and hierarchical status of the reservation to help me better understand the conditions I witnessed. Sad, really, because behind the mess was one of the most gorgeous mountains of nature I had ever seen – the Apu energy was strong and kind!
Mountains transformed into canyons and pines gave way to tumbleweeds as we descended from one pole to another. We had almost felt we had made a mistake, with the Apache sending out vibes of disappointment with the conditions of the location and its “lack” of adventure. I even felt a sense of guilt for making the suggestion. We drove up to Oliver Lee Memorial State Park and once again, we uncovered a hidden gem that satisfied the Apache’s sense of adventure and relieved my own worries that I had made a suggestion of would be disappointment. I call it the road less traveled.
From the dessert flats, the canyon heights were powerful! We were able to hike a lush tropical gorge deeply set into a dessert canyon mountain full of time-smoothed boulders and lush green ferns and in the same day, hike to the top of the dusty and thorny mountain and witness both the gorge from astounding heights and a dessert sunset like none other! We were led to our perch by our Spirit Guide, the Hawk and The Viking and the Apache sat on top of the world, feet dangling over the gorge taking in the richness of the earth and its poles. The polarities were unbelievable in terms of flora and fauna.
The lows are not always sadness and disappointments. Sometimes you can find the richest of moments in the most unlikely or darkest spaces. In an instant, it was blackened to nothingness, almost a dark gratification, and from there, we made our way back to where we started to see what tomorrow would reveal.