Over the past week, my wife and I have encamped near the Pecos Wilderness in the Carson National Forest of northern New Mexico, traveled the High Road of Taos down to Santa Fe and rented a pleasant room at the Inn at Loretto. Observations noted during field work and retrenchment in the The City Different Santa Fe are listed below, impressionable and subject to interpretive change with further research as well as some drying out and recuperation.
- Santa Barbara campground, in fact all of the Carson National Forest campground facilities, has been contracted out to a private concessionary firm, Scenic Canyons Recreational Services, Inc. A resident couple permanently camp at the entry point.
- Vegetation on the trail from Santa Barbara to Pecos Wilderness seems healthy and more intense than I remember in 1968.
- The Chimayo Restaurant serves a spicy carne adovada, whose effect remains for hours (1).
- The Trujillos of Chimayo gave us wood for three fires when they broke camp. Mr. Trujillo has an apple orchard and a V-10 F-250. Mr. and Mrs. Trujillo had camped beside us.
- A fisherman from Rodarte, New Mexico, scanned the debris area of the space shuttle Challenger for several weeks. They formed lines of 1,000 scouts, side-by-side and touching. When debris was found, the whole line stopped while it was harvested. He had been a U. S. Forest Service employee at the time of the disaster.
- Considerable road improvements are being made on the High Road to Taos, straightening out curves.
- The diamond hitch for roping cargo in our pickup works extremely well.
- We ate at Doc Martin’s, Osteria, La Fonda, Luminaria, Casa Sena and 315.
- Don Rael’s margarita at the La Fonda bar is one good concoction and we met Rael who created the drink. At the bar, I met a young lady who works at the Santa Fe Opera and who once lived in Hurst, Texas.
- Santa Fe Pale Ale now puts out a wheat beer.
- Brenda and I danced at the La Fonda bar to the tunes of “Nadine” and “Luckenbach.”
- Brenda gave me a birthday present: a sage-cornmeal-sea salt exfoliation and massage at the spa at the Inn at Loretto. I am not given to such follies, but Brenda was insistent. I have visited in the early 1970s the springs at Jemez after extended field work in the Gila. The spa treatment was a little different. Amelia was my therapist whose family is from East Prussia.
- The Ernest Thompson Seton exhibit at the New Mexico Historical Museum is sad, inspiring and elevating. President Teddy Roosevelt was wrong to have set Seton aside in developing the outdoor movement. The Boy Scouts of America did award him, however, the Silver Beaver Award.
- On the plaza, I hear more variety of music from several directions, sometimes at once, reminding me of something old and ancient. I hear dobro, banjo, guitar, mariachi instruments, harmonica, vocals. This is an increase of variety from years past. Locals are now coming back downtown in greater numbers to hear local bands and itinerant musicians. The plaza is a family affair, all ages, reminiscent of older times.
- On Saturday, the bells of the cathedral of Saint Francis rang for two weddings in addition to regular tolling at 00:15, 00:30, 00:45 and the beginning of the hour. At one of the wedding parties following the ceremonies, through terrace doors, we saw Mother and Son dancing together in celebration of the marriage to his lovely bride.
1. Presently, diacritical markings are omitted for Anglicized spelling because of expediency.
Plaza walking in the late afternoon and early evening incites the senses. There are food carts about the plaza, hanging baskets of flowers from the lamp poles, music and young children and grand parents playing. A few couples are dancing when appropriate. Some apparently homeless individuals are passing their time. A number of people are lounging on the plaza grass. I counted about 200-300 people about the plaza on an early Saturday evening. People greet and meet, come and depart, lightened.