Rio Grande Gorge–February?

This is the spot where the Rio Pueblo flows into the Rio Grande. All that water flowing down from the Taos Pueblo’s sacred Blue Lake, and through the pueblo, for who knows how long, ends up here. All the little creeks and rivers that accept and channel the melting mountain snow (many divided into acequia ditches), join the Rio Pueblo and become part of this convergence. This place, the certain geography of this concept somehow captures my imagination. So this past Saturday I took a friend new to Taos along the path that dead-ends here allowing our view.

 Along the path I looked for visual interest in the desert monotony of a dry winter. I’m no cactus expert so can’t offer a name, but this one appears to be reacting to the exposure to sun and cold with a lovely purple skin color.

Here’s how to find this trail. From Hwy. 68 out of Taos take a right turn at Pilar and proceed along the river until you get to the bridge (several miles). You can either park along the road on the right just after you cross the bridge or you can park in the lot just before the bridge and enjoy the walk over it. Finding the path is easy.

This interesting rock formation is one of the sites along the path. My friend seemed to know what type it is but all I recall is the word, “black,” which is pretty obvious. She got closer to photograph it herself. As you can tell we were not dressed in the down jackets that we left in the car. It was probably in the high 40s/low 50s and mostly sunny.

As I type this several days later it has been snowing on and off (lightly) for two days. We took advantage of the warm weather when it was available. This winter we are being lulled into the belief that these warm days will be back soon. Hope it’s true.

I mentioned a few blogs back that there was an unexplored “other” old truck on the property of the Overland Complex in El Prado. This is one of the shots of it I took last week.

I like this complex of businesses for several reasons. It includes Envision Gallery, an admirable gallery where I have a couple of paintings now, and the Tea Shop (Ancient Rituals Apothecary), where I hung 5 paintings last Friday, one of my favorite stores in Taos. Plus the complex has a scenic location next to the Taos Pueblo, thus a good spot from which to take those mountain photos in all seasons and weather conditions.

And not that far away this photo was taken on the grounds of the Taos Pueblo farm market which has been providing greenhouse-grown produce for the public this winter. They are generally open on Wednesdays and Fridays, but the Wednesday I was there they were closed for some reason. This agricultural complex has sprung up in the past several years and shows everyone that growing food in winter can be done with the right equipment and determination. Kudos to the Pueblo for leading the way!

I have decided to be available for astrology readings at OptiMysm Wednesdays from 2 – 5 PM. On the 22nd, though, I’ll be at Ojo celebrating my 70th birthday.

Look for a new Owl Woman card where my cards are sold in Taos.

Pot Creek & the Pinon Pines

Pot Creek–in case you’ve driven by it but never stopped I’ll show you a few hasty photos I took while walking the loop trail provided in this preserve. I say “hasty” because it was late in the day and the light was waning. The location is along the High Road, about three miles south beyond Talpa. The trail is fairly short and sweet and more or less starts at this very old adobe structure. There are markers along the way explaining the history of the area and why it’s special, worthy of preservation.

The thing that excited me most about Pot Creek is that it’s all about Pinon pines. For the past six months I’ve been wondering where the much-touted regional Pinon pines are to be found. I needed to know what they look like, so I could recognize one if it crossed my path. I have now been to the school of Pinon Pine 101. According to the information provided along the trail, the Pinon was good for, not only the pine nuts we relish, but the sap, which was very useful to the ancient peoples here–their handy equivalent of glue.

I saw no creek at Pot Creek, by the way. The next day I was in the Rio Grande gorge up from Pilar with a friend. This photo shows the spot where the Rio Pueblo disappears into the big Rio Grande. If you’ve explored the area north of the Taos Junction bridge you know there are two gorges north of the bridge, each with its own river. I have hiked from the top of the Rio Pueblo gorge down to the bridge, but have never before actually stood at the place where the two join. My friend showed me the path north along the west side of the Rio Grande, which starts just after you cross the Taos Junction bridge.

So in a couple of days two great mysteries of the Taos area were solved. That must mean something?

By the way, there was a time when I wanted to get to the top of the Rio Pueblo gorge and couldn’t figure it out. If you’re looking to find that piece of the puzzle: take state highway 570, a right turn after Llano Quemado as you’re heading out of town past Ranchos on Highway 68. You’ll go by the golf course and the University of NM campus to the end.

The other day I was drawing my own map of the local river complex and I stumbled (online) onto a video of river otters being introduced to the upper Rio Grande river system. They were coming from the state of Washington. It was an Albuquerque Journal video (a couple of years old) you can probably locate easily on UTube. I learned that the Taos Pueblo has been active in re-introducing the river otter into the waters of their tribal lands.

Which reminds me, we saw Bighorn Sheep up along the top of the gorge the day I took these photos. I was wishing I had my newly envisioned dslr camera with its telephoto lens. How many chances will I get for that shot?