Welcome to my new column I’ll be writing monthly for the Heritage Inspirations newsletter!
I am thrilled to wander across the landscape of New Mexico, where I was born and raised, to report on outings in this mystical, beautiful place.
Here, the land seems to be reborn daily as the sun cracks over a horizon line a hundred miles away and washes the vast plains, angular mesas and saw-toothed mountain ranges with a golden hue. Its people—Native Americans, some living here for tens of thousands of years, the more recent Spanish culture of 500 years time, and the nascent Anglo Americans—are stirring in their beds. Another day in the Land of Enchantment is unfolding. Join us in the discovery!
The snow slips softly underfoot. A faint “whish” is heard as the snowshoe slides over the feather-light snow, cushioning our stride.
Ribbons of snow unroll ahead of our path snaking off-trail between the pinon and juniper trees as we angle upwards toward a summit under a perfectly blue sky.
© PHOTOS BY KITTY LEAKEN
Topping out, we see the hills arching down and across a broad valley, the Rio Santa Fe, then climbing sharply up the north flank of Picacho Peak, its summit more than a thousand feet above its foot. Not a sound is heard, except the plops of snow as it melts off the pines and splats on the ground.
This was a three-hour excursion my wife, Kitty, and I went on recently, after my return from Los Angeles. What a difference a day makes! From palm trees and millions of people to this. I marveled at the views of the Sandias sixty miles to the south, the Jemez to the west and the brilliant white peaks directly above Santa Fe, the mighty Sangre de Cristos—the beginning of the Rocky Mountains. Space and more space.
Our dogs wore themselves out, and we returned home to a fire, libations and dinner. Such days reset my soul and hope. They carry me through down days.