Truchas Peaks, New Mexico


Truchas Peaks near Mora Pass

Looking westward toward the Truchas Peaks, New Mexico, November 2017.

I have been traveling to Taos, New Mexico, several times in the past year.  I stop at this spot near Mora Pass that is up in altitude from Sipapu Lodge in order to look back at the mountains before I head down the Mora Pass to Holman, Cleveland, Mora, and Las Vegas.  The valley you see in the foreground is the starting valley and surrounds for Rio Pueblo that flows eventually into the Rio Grande near Embudo.

I have climbed two of the three Truchas Peaks, encountering Bighorn sheep on the trail to the summit.  I was in my twenties when I climbed; now I am seventy-five years old and I stop and look back on the mountains and my life, the near and the faraway.

Lately, within the last few weeks, I have seen near my home in Fort Worth the most beautiful coyote poised and stationary alongside the Chisholm Trail Tollway, its coat shiny and tail bushy and full.  In my frontyard, two racoons ambled by and climbed into the trees.  A bluejay in the neighborhood warns others of my approach as I walkabout.  At my Far Field near Mingus, Texas (the source of most of my posts on this blog), I have heard the Sandhill Cranes in the sky, but failed to see them catch the thermals.  But, I hear them.  I see the turned soil of wild hogs in my field, the voles that run away from my tractor when I shred mesquite.  When I was in Lubbock at Thanksgiving I heard and saw flocks of Canadian geese in the air and along the playas of the region.

Magpies fly across the backyard of my daughter’s home in Taos.

I am looking and I see the wild on this earth.  I am having a conversation with the wild.  And, I listen so attentively and look so closely that I am beginning to grieve as I never had before.


Filed under Adventure, Life in Balance, Life Out of Balance, Nature Writing Series, Sandhill Crane

5 responses to “Truchas Peaks, New Mexico

  1. “I am looking and I see the wild on this earth. I am having a conversation with the wild. And, I listen so attentively and look so closely that I am beginning to grieve as I never had before.” Oh, Jack, yes. The more we look, the closer we look into the eyes of the wild, how can we not grieve? Sometimes I think if this country stopped all its rancor and blaming and fell to its knees weeping, we might finally turn around and care for this place and for each other. Thank you for your tears and your looking back and taking that long view. I’m 74 and I can’t hike those high wilds around Taos any more. I grieve that. Thank you for going there and reporting back.

    • I so agree, Wrensong. I’m not able to hike like that anymore, but we can still start up the trail and pitch our camp a little shorter up the path than we used to. Looking into the eyes of the wild–you wrote that very well. Yes, we both grieve and see what has been done, have we not? In my thinking about moving to Taos, that places me within 30 minutes of a wilderness. That wilderness in the Truchas (where the photo was taken) has also changed. But, there’s still the Bighorn and elk. I agree with you: turn around and care for this place and for each other. Here’s hoping you can find a patch of the wild near you and converse with it. So good to hear from you. Thank you for reading my writing and commenting.

      • It is not the distance that one travels but the intensity of his or her observation that creates an adventure. With the right attitude and curiosity one can be lost simply by looking at the earth around their feet whereas some travel miles and only notice the thoughts in their own head.

  2. It is so easy to destroy, and so hard to build. Sometimes, rebuilding is impossible. So many among us have been so utterly detached from the land, from the breath of the wind and the singing of the waters, they feel nothing, and only manipulate.

    It’s hard to find signs of hope, sometimes, but there was the Alabama election, and a broadly-based response to the opening of wilderness areas to drilling and such. Change can come: may it come faster!

    Best wishes for the holiday season, Jack. I do love my Christmas carols, but this is a song for the season, too.

  3. Getting through my fall semester, and almost done – this was a treat to read. Appreciate your reflections as well as your documenting. I understand your grieving, too.

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