I went camping in New Mexico last weekend. Up in the rocky mountains, in Lincoln National Forest, where it is green, lush, humid, and cold all year round. Where there are birch trees, crocuses, irises, columbine, and wild strawberry plants. Normal plants! And elk! At our campsite! Can I just say how much I miss nature? It was a haven of beauty surrounded by the total desolation that is the southwest. I have no idea how it is possible for NM to stake a claim to something so beautiful--it was completely out of character for the state.
And how much more amazing is a national forest than a national park? Oh so great. For one, we were able to bring Dutch with us onto our campsite and onto the trails. At many of the national parks that I have been to, you are made to feel like a tourist. You are overwhelmed as much by the many throngs of vacationers as you are by the beauty of the park. The trails are paved and overrun with people, and there is not the solitude of nature that perhaps you came to enjoy. At a national forest, there is no entrance fee, you are less likely to encounter another person on the trails, and it seems overall more wilderness-y and primitive. I spent my childhood visiting different national and state parks, and I want to say that this forest was the best of them all . . . Most likely, however, that would be my nature-deprivation speaking to me and altering my impartiality. Oh, to get out of Arizona and see some green again.
You can't really camp in Arizona, at least where I am. For one, I don't really care to set up camp in the desert. And for another, there are too many illegals and drug smugglers for it to be safe. Where we live, we are surrounded by mountains and national forest (although how this actually constitutes a forest, I'm not exactly sure--it's more scraggly bushes than trees). Yet these mountains taunt me, for I am not about to go hiking alone in the desert, even if I bring Dutch with me. And of course James, who hikes around all the time, then comes home and does three different workouts each day, doesn't always have the motivation to chaperone my hiking. Which is quite understandable. That's not to say that we don't explore the mountains, it's just that we have to find a time when our weekends coincide.
In any case, we had a marvelous time camping, cooking over a fire, and finding out that Dutch is a thoroughly domesticated dog that is afraid of the dark. He is still recouperating from the weekend and I suspect he will be sleeping this entire week. Unfortunately, as you may have noticed, there are no pictures on this post documenting the beautiful nature. It seems that I accidently left the camera at home and therefore you will have to use your imagination to picture this oasis.
I did want to say, thank you for the birthday package. It was joy after joy, and the yarn is squishy beautiful amazing-ness. I want to knit with it immediately, but I have to admit, I am having a hard time focusing on finding a project for myself. I haven't done that in a while, and it's taking some discipline, but I think I have a couple of ideas in mind. I also thought you should know, when I took out the yarn, James smelled it to see if it smelled like kool-aid.
Hope you are enjoying a lush and nature-filled summer! When are you going to VT? You know, the king arthur flour company is located there. Lots of yumminess if it's in your area.
ps. In the book I am re-reading, one of the characters has a job being paid to listen to vacationers re-tell of their adventures and sift through their copious amounts of pictures. The vacationer doesn't want to risk losing a friendship by boring their acquaintances with accounts of their travels, and so they pay someone else to listen to the entire story. I am crossing my fingers that you are not similarly bored by the reminiscence of my trip, or at least not enough to damage our friendship. At least I didn't make you look through all my pictures.