We seem to have developed a New Mexico tradition of arriving with rain. The rain we brought was so sever that twice I had to pull to the side of the road while going through the Carson National Forest. It came down so hard that I could not see the end of the hood at one point. The West always needs rain, so we look at this as a minor inconvenience. Some look at it as a blessing.
Just wait ten minutes and the weather will change here in Northern New Mexico.
The Mountain would play hide and seek with us until the next morning as you can see it is being shy behind the clouds. This was our campsite for four nights. Jen and Dan were kind enough to let us park right in the middle of their back yard. So much better than a KOA.
Hiking to the top of Wheeler Peak has been on my list ever since our friend Lesley thought Fat Frank could not do it. My very good friend Dan had no doubt at all. He and I hiked up in three hours and down in two. That is the classic pace for completing the hike. Dan could have hiked it faster. He hiked at my pace however. Dan has the distinction of being one of my favorite people. This world needs more people like him in it. I won't even begin with his wife since I don't want to lessen how much I admire Dan. This day spent together will be one of those things that remains with me forever.
These mountains are a major bump on the Northern New Mexico topographical map. The mountain group is an off shoot of the Rockies just to the North. These mountains are also a major bumps on the world ski map.
If you come to The Taos Ski Valley the lift will take you to top of those peaks there and you ski back. I hear it is some of the best in the United States. I don't ski. I am waiting on the tube course to be set up.
A very popular hike is to Williams Lake. We did this one a couple years back. I wanted to go higher.
I wanted to hike up to where the Winter snow still laid on the mountain.
The trail is very easy to follow since many hike this peak daily. Some people even run up it. Every time one of them passed me I muttered some insult under my breath. It might not look it, but that is a serious elevation gain right there. One foot in front of the other and you get to the top.
Coming from less than 200 feet above sea level and walking up to 13,159 is a serious challenge. It was a challenge for me at least.
I stepped up to the peak, left my offering to the Mountain and heard a deep voice say "do not dawdle on the peak" There was no one around me. Some hear the Taos Hum. I think I hear the Mountain talking...
Two hours later it was storming. The weather changes quickly up here.
I think the Mountain was happy with our visit because it remained in plain sight the rest of our visit.
Many do not know it but Taos was Dennis Hopper's adopted home. He was incredibly fond of Taos. He is buried there. The cemetery is off the beaten track and even with directions it is very easy to miss. This is not a fancy celebrity cemetery. This is where the common man is laid to rest.
People do seek it out. They leave odd things for him.
Bandanas, underpants, crystals, booze, Tecate beer. Some even leave Dennis joints. I know he loved his refer.
I am sure they were beautiful wild flowers once upon a time. I wanted to clean up the grave but did not want to offend someone who came before me. This grave does not stand out among the others. It is actually less ornate than others in the cemetery.
Dennis will face the Mountain forever. There are worse things to face. Godspeed to you Dennis Hopper. Thank you for being you.
I don't have a lot of content from this segment of the trip, I guess I was too busy enjoying all the new friends we made. We did so much and documented so little of it while here. There was a house warming for strangers who have now become friends. There was a trip to a mine to peck for some turquoise. There was an excellent Fourth of July party with fireworks. There were numerous incredible meals. There were many hours spent just watching the sun light play on the mountains. It was an extremely fulfilling visit.
As with all our visits we always feel they are too short. I find with each visit I take less photos and spend more time just smiling. We always arrive so full of joy and leaving always brings on a collective sadness we do not talk about. The next day in Oklahoma I tried to turn West at one point. We really love coming home to Taos.