I continue to drive the large arroyo that opens from the highway, somewhere near Abiquiu, NM, when I come upon the cottonwood tree and park in its shade. I gaze at the horizon; golden sandstone cathedrals meet a royal blue sky. The day is ripe for adventure.
I pack my provisions for the day’s wanderings: a large collecting bag, 2 five gallon buckets, a gallon of water for myself and my canine companion, dog bowl, camera, snake bite kit, lunch, knife, headlamp, and jacket. I can start hiking in any direction; there are no people here, no fences, and no rules. I head towards a distant mesa.
The ground is littered with shotgun shells, garbage, and broken glass. I collect handfuls of shells and discover some weary silk flowers. This is one of many areas in the desert where people like to dump trash and shoot it. I venture on.
The sun beats down. The air is hot but bone dry. I have been hiking with a pack for an hour but have not started sweating. I sit down and take a long drink of water and then pour a bowl for the dog. I still have half a gallon left.
There are stories of Native American shamans that could change the weather. They could make rain. Not a bad skill to have in the desert.
I continue on, now vaguely heading towards some tricolor rock formations. These sandstone cliffs have perfect horizontal stripes of…
My dog thunders off, pursuing a jackrabbit. Fat chance. I stop and examine some animal tracks in the sand. Could be mountain lio… Oh wow! A little arrowhead! It is a small obsidian point about the size of a dime.
These sandstone cliffs have perfect horizontal stripes of golden yellow, burgundy, and white sand stacked one color on top of the others. I use the collected sands to make paintings. That is why I brought the buckets.