Sunday, June 19, 2016

left cloudcroft this morning for a forty-mile ride up to ruidoso, hoping to swim, van full of kids. that road goes northeast out of cloudcroft for quite a ways, then in the mescalero reservation cuts sharply northwest until it gets to seventy, the big road cutting up into ruidoso. that road cuts over apache peak, gives you a good view of sierra blanca, and goes past two large casinos before coming into ruidoso.

i'm fascinated by the mescalero reservation for several reasons. one is that they appear to be taking better care of their forests than we are, though they clearly had a couple of mountains that burned down and are starting over; these are near the main highway. so, their forest is prettier, healthier, more alive, yet the houses are a little dumpier, certainly not fixed up like the anglo ones. it could be that the anglo culture emphasizes putting the pretty stuff out front; i know most of the anglo families i knew were like that. most of the trucks driving through the area were newer, in good shape; they had money, money enough for trucks anyway. their lanes in some cases snaked up into beautiful mountain countryside, and you couldn't see what they had back there, it was out of sight, and i imagine some of those dirt tracks went back miles. it's a large reservation and covers mountainsides in every direction. why not take the best mountain vistas, covered with beautiful healthy forest, high in the mountains, and live forever? it seemed like paradise to me; i've never been in a more beautiful place.

our other trip is down to el paso; that is coming up this thursday maybe. to get to el paso you drive straight down through an enormous empty desert. at one point a road cuts off to the right, at a town called orogrande; this town has a single bar, and almost nothing else. but because that road goes off to the missile range, i imagine that bar is a pretty wild one. the soldiers come off the base...they have money, but they've been isolated for a while...the place just oozes wild times, even on sunday mornings. el paso itself is a huge and sprawling city, built around the little areas where there is not enormous mountain, where the enormous mountains squeeze the rio grande, and you can imagine that some folks like to be right up in the downtown, where you can literally look across at juarez, and others like to be back up in the mountain canyons, set back a little, enjoying the only shade in the area, that caused by the enormous mountain peaks. the downtown is old, sunny, charming. their minor league baseball team is the chihuahuas. we intend to try it out.

our routine, up here, is the mountains. we avoid the festivals, avoid the people, avoid the tourist traps. we have some high mountain air, and a great sunset, and we go for walks every day, along the ridge, or down to the meadow, but somewhere where it smells good. slowly, i'm beginning to feel high mountain pine as the default, the most natural thing to breathe. and i don't want to breathe anything else.

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