State Parks between Pueblo and Taos

I missed a day of writing because instead of going to Motel 6, I stayed at a friend’s apartment, and we stayed up chatting until we were tired and I went straight to bed. So today I’ll sum up the past two days.

I woke up in Pueblo; refreshed and ready to give it another chance. I got on the highway headed south and at the very next exit, a truck entering the highway came straight into my lane. I wasn’t even in the far right lane. This truck entered the highway and immediately went into the center lane, forcing me to swerve away and slow down. It was the second time since owning my car that I used the horn in a true emergency warning type of way. So it sealed the fate of Pueblo, Colorado. I’m afraid I will always think of it as a driver’s nightmare.

From Pueblo we went to Lathrop State Park. I had no idea what to expect, but I wanted to see something natural and I’ve always had good luck with state parks. Lathrop was an expensive one at $7 for a day use pass. But it was pretty spectacular, and we ended up staying there for over an hour.

I thought I’d go shoeless as we explored this park. After the burns and scabs he got on Union Reservoir, I felt like it would be a good idea to know what sort of ground I was taking him on. If I hadn’t been wearing shoes at Union Reservoir, maybe I would have realized how hot the sand was or how course and gravelly it was, or whatever it was that caused the rawness to his paws.

I was not prepared for how brutal this terrain was. Both of us got nailed with feet full of thorn or thistles or whatever they’re called. Mine were so painful that after about five steps, I was forced to my butt so I could pick them out. They weren’t in far, but there were a lot of them and they were brutally sharp. After removing mine, I took care of River’s. And then I carried him to the lake, navigating on the flagstones and avoiding the brush. We played in the water for a while and then got in the car and drove around the park. It was idyllic desert landscape, which River seemed to really enjoy. He had his head out the car window, looking, smelling and listening to the sounds of the desert. 

When we were in Boulder I overheard someone say that they drove through Taos to Santa Fe because they wanted a scenic drive. I love scenic drives, so I thought I’d do the same thing. I checked the map and found Kit Carson Park in Taos, set my navigation for that and took off. I had to reroute from my original planned highway because of a road closure due to fire, but either way the trip was still going to be three hours. We had already driven an  hour to get to Lathrop, and Taos was still a good hour from our final destination, so it was shaping up to be a long driving day.

Fortunately most of it was quite beautiful, so it didn’t matter that it was a long drive. It was through Carson National Forest, so it was a windy, hilly road surrounded by trees. We stopped at a beautiful spot called Palisades Sill where the cliffs had been carved by the water and River got to play in the Cimarron River.

We finally made it to Taos and it is such a cute little town. It’s all adobes. Every store, every home, every insurance office, even the churches were all in the adobe style. I felt like I was in New Mexico Land at Disneyland.

We found Kit Carson park, but not his grave. I thought I had read that the grave was in the park, but I didn’t see it. We looked around and there was a picnic area and a baseball field and a playground and a community center area, but no headstones. We played chase for a while with River’s boomerang tug toy. I wanted to run around a bit and test out how I felt in the elevation. We were up to about 7000 feet. I didn’t realize that New Mexico was such a high state. But I learned that Santa Fe is the highest U.S. state capitol.

So we left Taos and headed to Santa Fe. It was another very scenic drive. I never get tired of driving through scenic beauty. I don’t even need to play music to stay entertained.

As we pulled into town, my gas tank was nearly empty, and I like to have it full when I stop for the night, so I found a station right around the corner from his apartment and pulled in to fill up. While I was there, in the time it took me to gas up, three different people approached me to dote over River. Quite a friendly first impression of Santa Fe. They were all so impressed with his seat belt harness. A crowd was gathering and people were commenting that they’d never seen one before, asking where I got it and how much it was and saying that they were going to get one for their dog. I also got friendly with a homeless man who loved Seattle and was telling me about all the great things I should do in Santa Fe while I was here.

I went to my friend, Michael’s house and met his roommate, Joseph. As I said, we stayed up way too late, catching up. River made a new friend. Joseph had seen some pretty gruesome things done by pit bulls, so he wasn’t too thrilled about meeting River, and was actually hiding in his room when we first got there. But it didn’t take long for River to charm him and for Joseph to see that he was a loving soul. I’m glad River was able to teach another human that not all pit bulls are bad.

The next day at noon, I taught ROCKIN Nia at StudioNia Santa Fe. I loved this space and the people that danced in it. There were maybe 30 people in the room and we brought the roof down! Mark Frossard and Kelle Rae Oien helped organize my engagement there and I was so thrilled and honored to be in such a vibrant Nia space. Kelle has an adorable French Bulldog named Samba who, unfortunately has been exploring territorialism and aggressiveness lately, so she was sequestered to the office while River and I were in the studio. There were no altercations. River was quite well behaved and he loves all the attention he gets whenever I take him into new studios.

After class, I hung out at the studio for a couple more hours. I talked with Mark about choreography for a while and Kelle asked me to say a few words about doing the 8BCs to her group of White Belt trainees. Fortunately I had my bars with me, so I was able to pass some around the group just before they did their first lesson in the 8BC system.

That evening, after showering and eating at the Santa Fe Baking Co with River sitting under the table, I went back to the house and waited for Michael to get off work. When he got home, I left River with him and made a long overdue trip to the local Co-op and bought a bunch of food to re-stock my cooler. I've been out for about three days now, so have been sampling some of the local cuisine. But when I hit the highway again, I'll have some fresh, organic, local food. It was fun to eat a krautburger and a monte cristo, and pizza and a breakfast burrito, and I feel good about supporting the local family restaurants, but it will be good to have healthy food again for a few days.


Erin said…
Those stickers in your paws, we call them goatheads here in NM! And they are certainly nasty and hard to see coming.

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