Monday, April 14, 2014

Van Week 4/8 - 4/14

This week I drove south from Denver to Taos, Santa Fe & Los Alamos, New Mexico. Goal was to get in some good gravel/dirt road bike riding and a long hike. I'm simultaneously training for both the Almanzo 100 and hiking 1000 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail.

8th. Spent last night in the Wild Rivers Recreational Area outside of Taos, NM and pretty much had the run of the place. I realized that mornings are so much more beautiful when I’m not stressed about going off to a job I don’t like. I can watch the sunrise, meditate, slowly drink some tea, go for a little hike, enjoy a simple breakfast. Now that’s livin’.

Photo below is of my first night campsite at the recreation area. Just behind the van is a 500' deep gorge where one can hike down to the Rio Grande river...

9th. Yesterday I drove to Abiquiu, NM (home of Georgia O’Keefe) to bike 35 miles along the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (aka Tour Divide). That’s the route that goes from Banff, AB to the Mexican border and follows dirt roads and forest service roads as close to the Continental Divide as possible. Today I rode a different section of dirt road 13 miles up a picturesque river canyon to a monastery. Gorgeous, glistening green river made for a couple enjoyable sits along its banks. Photo below is of 2nd night campsite on BLM land...

10th. Civilization day in Santa Fe today was capped by watching the Minnesota Gopher hockey team win their semifinal game in the NCAA tournament. Here's the free forest service campsite where I'll spend the next 4 nights...

11th. Was a little hungover today and took it easy in Santa Fe. I tried to nurse beers really slowly while watching two hockey games yesterday, but I think the celebratory shot of Jameson after the Gopher victory put me over the top.

12th. It’s a good thing rattlesnakes rattle, else I would have stepped on this fella and gotten the wrong end of his fangs. Fortunately, he made quite a racket as I absentmindedly approached to within about 2 feet. Saw him on a nice 15-mile hike just outside of Los Alamos, NM through a forest that was mostly destroyed by multiple recent fires. 

...and this is a cool burnt out tree a few miles before the rattler. The bark is still attached in this one area by the charred, but still intact, wood behind it.

13th. Last night I watched an excellent new documentary called “Mistaken for Strangers”. It was created by the metalhead brother who still lives with his parents of the singer of The National and chronicled his involvement with them on tour. Reminded me a little of all-time classic “American Movie”. 
Here's a photo of the van stovetop and tonight's dinner -- sausage, red pepper, orange pepper, garlic.

14th. Drive back to Denver. Beautiful country out here...

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