A Different Exploration

Santa Fe March for Science

Earth Day, April 22: This is what was happening in Santa Fe today – especially for the scientists and people who support them! I was brought up by engineers, my sister and her spouse are biologists, Cousin Peg and Hans, with whom I am staying, are also scientists. So we were there, along with a senior in high school who’s also headed for a career in science. We gathered at the Plaza in Santa Fe, and walked to the Roundhouse (state capitol building), where there were speeches given and displays. I’m going to limit my comentary, and mostly let the photos speak for themselves.

We were marching with:

Santa Fe March for ScienceSanta Fe March for Science

Some of our friends:

Santa Fe March for Science

One of the first signs that caught my eye:

Santa Fe March for ScienceSanta Fe March for Science

And what would Darwin have thought about posing with a dinasaur??

Santa Fe March for ScienceSanta Fe March for Science

Santa Fe March for Science

Two sides of the same sign:

Santa Fe March for Science

Santa Fe March for Science

Santa Fe March for Science

And note the brain hat – there were lots of these –

View in mirror of a small part of the route:

Santa Fe March for Science

Again, two sides of the same sign:

LOTS of young women –

Santa Fe March for ScienceSanta Fe March for Science

My award for most artistic:

Santa Fe March for Science

Santa Fe March for Science

Santa Fe March for Science

Darwin got around –

Santa Fe March for Science

Santa Fe March for Science

And that’s pretty much it – these were the signs that I felt were worth taking pictures of, but certainly weren’t all of them! If you didn’t make it to a pro-science march today, this will give you a sense of the flavor of it, although I didn’t take photos of the ones that were only anti-Trump, instead of being pro-science.

Exploring NM, Part 5

SF - NM flag

Friday, April 21: Our exploration of Santa Fe continued, after a slow start to the morning. Hans and I dropped Charlene and George at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of  Assisi in Santa Fe, and went and walked along the river, then went back to pick them up. We had time to kill, so went to the Roundhouse – New Mexico’s capitol building. It’s called that because it is round –

SF Round House

It is surrounded by sculpture outside, and all kinds of artwork inside. We walked halfway around the outside – I took a photo of George taking a photo of Charlene taking a photo of the Earth Mother sculpture.

Santa Fe George and Charlene take photos

We walked through the middle, through the rotunda –SF rotunda

and found that on the other side was an exhibit of art quilts, one of which represented the rotunda!

SF rotunda quilt

We didn’t take the time to see all the artwork available to the public, but I did check out all of the fabric art! But we’d arranged to meet Peggy for lunch, so on we went. This wisteria was between where we parked the car and the place we ate lunch. It was more lush than I’ve ever seen, excepting maybe at Highmead in Connecticut. Here Charlene and Hans are admiring it. You can see how thick some of the trunks are!

SF wisteria

We sent Peggy back to work, and the rest of us went to see the Randall Davey Audubon Center and Sanctuary. Davey was a well known Santa Fe artist, who hung out with the likes of Davis, Hartley and Sloan in the first half of the 20th century. His heirs eventually gifted the 135 acres, including house and studio, to the National Audubon Society in 1983. It has been preserved pretty much as the family left it; his paints and brushes are still in the studio, along with a couple of unfinished artworks. One of the fireplaces:

SF Davey house fireplace

This was an artist who wanted to enhance his environment. Upstairs, the blue birds of happiness on the bedroom door –

SF RD house lovebirds on bedroom door

And the cabinet doors in the bathroom:

SF RD house bathroom cupboard doors

The door to his studio:SF RD house frog door

Here’s the studio as he left it in 1964.

SF RD house studio

Note the beautiful old pot in which he kept his brushes! And here’s the entry to the patio, studio to the left:

SF RD house patio

There are also an ancient orchard, alongside a small burial ground, and a well maintained garden to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. The old horse barn is now lined with his artwork, and is set up with a conference table. That was the last thing on the tour, and we set off for home.

And I’m going to end with a photo I took at Acoma, of a bird watching us eat lunch:

Acoma swallow?

Exploring NM, Part 4

Thursday, April 20: This was the day dedicated to going to Acoma Pueblo. This is one of my favorite places in New Mexico, for the friendliness of the people and the outstanding pottery. Hans came with us, so we were four on this trip. As we approached, we stopped at a scenic pull off, which had the added bonus of having a couple of native potters with their work out. And this was the view:

Acoma view toward

Acoma Pueblo is on top of the dark mesa on the left. Down that road you see on the left, and to the Acoma Culture Center, where we purchased tickets and boarded a bus to the top of the mesa. Tour sizes are limited to about 20, and led by members of the Pueblo; I think we were up there for almost two hours. Our guide, who’s reputation for moving slowly has earned him the nickname Turtle, started us off on the northwest corner, where this was the view:

Acoma view down

This was one of the points that has handholds and footholds to go up and down by foot; several of our tour group walked and climbed down at the end of the tour. We continued on – and were met by Turtle’s toddler, who was being cared for that day by her grandmother. She was very happy to see her dad, and accompanied us for a while, eating her banana as we went. There have been some changes since I was there about five years ago. They still have no electricity or running water on the mesa, but they have put several sets of composting toilets around the perimeter – with small solar panels to provide a little light at night. They have also installed railings in a couple of places to aid a couple of their elders. I also noticed that there was much more speaking of their language, Keres, which may give the new generation a better chance of keeping that part of their culture. There were several steps in the evolution of the construction of their dwellings – the earliest were made of local rock, not shaped, but fitted together like puzzle pieces, and with mud mixed with ash between as mortar. When the Spanish came, they brought the technology to make adobe, with straw in the bricks and mud – and the straw, which was not local. Now it seems to be a mix of dressed local stone and adobe – and the one under construction was covered with house wrap and the expanded metal lath for the outer coat of stucco.

The other thing that pleased me about this trip up to the Pueblo was that there were many more native potters selling their wares. I did add to my collection this trip – and it is REALLY FRUSTRATING to find that my computer wants to scramble the photo of it! It’s a fairly large seed pot, with many creatures swarming over the top in the very fine line Acoma style. Sigh. ARGH! Anyway, with the computer misbehaving, there are no more photos to add for today. We went to lunch in the cafe in the Culture Center, visited the museum exhibits, and left for home, taking the more scenic route from ABQ and making a brief stop in Madrid, where there are artists, artwork and galleries around every corner. Unfortunately, the ice cream shop closed up just as we walked up. So home again, for more chowder and salad, and visiting.

Exploring NM, Part 3

Wednesday, April 19: George, Charlene and I spent a full day going to Albuquerque. Charlene had the brilliant idea to take the train – the Rail Runner goes from Santa Fe to beyond Albuquerque (ABQ) and is free to seniors on Wednesdays, at least this month. So we drove to the convenient station, waited not very long, and boarded a clean, quiet commuter train to ABQ.

ABQ Railrunner

The free train ride provided transfers, so the bus was also free; we were aiming for Old Town ABQ – but our aim was off! We started out on a bus headed the wrong way, but were set straight by another friendly passenger, got off a couple of stops down, and caught a bus going the right way on the other side of the street. So we found Old Town:ABQ Welcome to Old Town

The mosaics looked like this when approached:ABQ  Old Town gold mosaic

We started off sticking our heads in shops, looking at pottery from the pueblos, and for souvenirs for family members. When we got to the square, we visited its church, San Filipe de Neri, which dates from 1706.

ABQ San Felipe church

The crosses make excellent perches for pigeons:

ABQ pigeon perch

And the decorations inside all of these Colonial Spanish churches is impressive. Here’s the decoration around the windows:

ABQ San Felipe window

There is a beautiful rose garden outside, lovingly cared for; we waited until the gardeners had finished mowing and blowing the grass away before we wandered through it. I was really impressed by this rose; it certainly is splashy!

ABQ yellow/orange striped rose

Next was the art museum. We didn’t take the time to tour inside; the sculpture garden occupied us for quite a while! In addition to a lot of contemporary sculpture, and the mandatory huge bronze depicting the conquest and settlement by the Spanish, there was a peaceful and quiet earthwork, spiraling in to a small run of water down rock. It was landscaped with native plants, including this unidentified orange flower:

ABQ orange flower close

The gates to the museum were also sculptural.

ABQ Museum gate

Each of the small squares was made of what looked like found objects, pressed to flatness:

ABQ Museum gate closeup

After that we stopped for lunch at a local place specializing in quesadillas, and took our time there. Then back to the plaza, in and out of more shops, a stop for ice cream, some sitting on a bench in the plaza – and being invited to be part of a student’s photography class. Assigned to photograph strangers, she got three at one time with us. Then strolling back to where we’d started, and having to ask some of the construction crew who were tearing up half the street where we’d meet the return bus – it was obviously not going to be stopping at the bus stop! Back to the transportation center and the Rail Runner, and Santa Fe.  I can’t say enough nice things about how civilized a method of travel this is! And Robin, with whom I’d stayed in Missouri, had showed up, and we ate clam chowder that had been shipped frozen from New England, followed by Boston Cream Pie, George and Charlene’s contribution from the northeast.

Exploring NM, Part 2

Tuesday, April 18: George, Charlene and I headed up to Museum Hill to start the day’s explorations. We opted to spend all our time for the first half of the day in the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture – and didn’t get all the way through before overload and hunger drove us out for a late lunch. There is such a richness and depth to the collections, which are augmented by videos of members of local tribes talking about their experiences, their values, their artistry. Outside, where there is sculpture everywhere, we had trouble dragging ourselves away – there was always something else catching someone’s eye! One of the most impressive was this spirit dancer.

Spirit Dancer

Craig Dan Goseyun created him in 1995 – and he towers above the plaza. I particularly liked how the shapes worked together against the blue sky –

Spirit Dancer back feathers

Back to the house for lunch, and then the three of us headed in to downtown Santa Fe. George and Charlene toured the Palace of the Governors, while I strolled along looking at the native arts displayed in front of the building, and stuck my nose in a bunch of galleries. I’d been in the museum a couple of times before, and have an insatiable appetite for native crafts. Santa Fe is a city with art and sculpture everywhere you look, and you have to look everywhere if you aren’t going to miss it! This dragon was perched overhead:

Dragon claws

We stopped by the St. Francis Cathedral, but they had just locked the doors, so we had to be satisfied with looking at the outside, and the sculptures around it. By the time we got home, we were hungry and footsore, and it was early to bed to be ready for the next adventure!

Exploring New Mexico, Part 1

Having arrived in Santa Fe Friday night, I spent Saturday catching up with myself and visiting with the cousins. Hans is retired; Peggy on her way to that condition. And in the afternoon friends from home came in; then we were five. Sunday – Easter – we celebrated by having a leisurely waffle breakfast, then heading a little way out of town to hike up a short distance to the top of this hill in search of petroglyphs:hike up to petroglyphs

And here’s a representative sample of the rock carvings we found:

The reflecting birds remind me of many of the photos I’ve taken kayaking with reflections in the water.

Maybe the bird on the right is Thanksgiving dinner?

Back to the house for lunch, and then Charlene, George and I headed downtown to walk around, visiting Loretto Chapel, famed for its floating spiral staircase:

Loretto Chapel spiral stair

Picture this staircase without the railings. That is how it was originally built! It accesses the choir loft, and apparently someone decided that having nuns and their students tromping up daily with no barriers was trusting too much in God. It also was designed and built without that scroll shaped support holding it to the column. And there was lots of other artwork; I liked the mosaics that were slightly above head height around the walls.

loretto mosac

We also wandered the Plaza, sticking our heads into various shops, exploring. Back to the house, and supper, and an evening of hanging out.

Monday, April 17: Hans drove the three out-of-staters touring to the north. We took the “high road” up to Taos, stopping to admire vistas and rock formations:

Camel head on hgh road to Taos

and on to Chimayo, where they were cleaning up after the Good Friday pilgrimage. Everyone, it seems, carries some kind of cross, and leaves them behind when they get to the church. They varied in size from about five feet to tiny; the smaller ones were hung on the fence.

Chimayo fence

We walked up to see the Santuario de Chimayo church and its grounds.

Santuario de Chimayo church

Then on to Taos and Mexican food for lunch, and then Taos Pueblo. We had a young and enthusiastic young man as our guide, and after the tour, walked around to see the tribal crafts, and more of the buildings. This was the second of the churches built at the Pueblo; it was destroyed in a hail of cannon fire with many of the women and children who had taken refuge inside about 1848, in retribution for the murder of the governor.

Taos Pueblo, old church

Then on to the Rio Grande Gorge, and the steel bridge there, over 500 feet above the river. Built in the mid-60s, it is a spectacular piece of engineering.Rio Grande bridge

We walked out on it. Fortunately, in spite of many suicides, they haven’t mucked up the view with barriers and fencing. Looking down, Charlene spotted some big horn sheep:

Big horned sheep, Rio Grande gorge

We eventually spotted seven, far far below, some on each side of the river. And then Hans saw some moving in a grassy area near the river, almost out of sight downstream. Again, there were some on each side of the river. They are so much more surefooted than us older and clumsier humans! Although someone (presumably human)  had carefully placed a stop sign about 2/3 of the way down the canyon:Stop and up

I have no desire to run that stop sign! We started our return to Santa Fe, taking the low road this time, and stopping along the Rio Grande to admire the rushing water, and talk about Hans’ adventures canoeing that area. Interesting, the perspective – what he calls flat water, most would consider at least quick water if not Class I.


Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico

Warrensburg was behind me shortly after noon. I headed south on Route 13 – and had to stop at the (very touristy) Osceola Cheese Co. to use their very clean rest room, replenish my cheese supply – and have some ice cream! The cheese is good, with hundreds of varieties, but the ice cream is AMAZING! Smooth and creamy lusciousness, and a generous single scoop was very satisfactory. And I’d overshot the boat launch I was planning on, so did a little backtracking to the Talley Bend launch on Harry S. Truman Lake, the largest lake in MO. I didn’t see much of it – and I didn’t choose the most interesting part of it. It was wide open, without a lot of nooks and crannies.

Talley Bend, Truman Reservoir

But I did flush a great blue heron, one of the largest I’ve seen, and there were turtle noses poking up here and there. Returning to the launch, there was a very large one –

Truman Res. turtles

actually, two – but I didn’t see the second one until I’d downloaded the photos! I returned to the launch as the wind was picking up, and continued on. There was another, more interesting launch along the way, still part of Truman, on the Sac River; I stopped to check it out, and put it on my map for future reference. On in a generally southwesterly direction – and through the “city” of Roscoe:

Roscoe city limit

The population seems to be growing; they only had 112 residents in the 2000 census!

On in to Kansas late in the afternoon. Kansas has a wonderful institution – state “fishing lakes” with free camping!  I stopped at Woodson Fishing Lake, a few miles removed from the highway. It is a Y shaped lake of good kayaking size, with a road around it and many campsites, many of them pull through. Which the Roadtrek doesn’t need, but I’m sure people towing appreciate it! It was my idea of perfect – dark, quiet, and only a few feet from the water. By the time I was set up, it was getting quite dark, and I opted to skip my evening paddle in favor of dinner.

And was awakened in the middle of the night by rain on the roof – and at 6 by crashing thunder and lightning! That insured that I was not in a hurry to rise. But it quit about 7, and I spent some time replacing a wiper blade and mopping the mud off, before heading out on the water by about 7:30, paddling up and around one arm of the lake. Woodson Fishing Lake, KS

There were a lot of birds, and a pair of geese that thought I was intruding on their beach. Actually, several pairs of geese, and flocks of ducks, and at least one woodpecker, and robins, and small unidentified birds. The sky was showing signs of blue as I returned – and the wind was picking up.

Return to campsite, Woodson

The sky was pretty dramatic! I drove the rest of the way around the lake, admiring the scenery, and was headed out toward the highway by about 9:00. Onward –

It was a very windy drive – I’ve never had to struggle with the Roadtrek in wind before. The radio stations were talking about high wind warnings and gusts over 30, and it was even more gusty when I was passed by the big trucks. Eventually I got on smaller roads, without the big trucks, and it was much easier driving. I drove through the corner of the Oklahoma panhandle, in to New Mexico, and at cousin Peggy’s at about 10:30. I was grateful to have some food and unload the kayaks and head for bed!

April 12, Illinois and Missouri

I was already on the water for the sunrise when the first of the fishermen pulled in at 6AM. They disturbed the geese, who made a great racket!

Rice Lake sunrise

It was a beautiful morning, and I spent over an hour out among and along the edges of the trees.

Rice Lake tree

There were lots of red wing blackbirds flocking about, calling and making a racket, along with robins, and the very shy woodpeckers banging away. I could hear them, hammering and calling, but only saw small bits of them as they mostly tried to be on the other side of the tree from me, so I couldn’t tell which small woodpecker they might be. And I forgot to bring the bird book, anyway.

I was amused, having seen the sign about where to look for drinking water, to find that amenity surrounded by water – one would have to do some wading!

Rice Lake water point

Makes for a great reflection in the still water, though.

Made peanut butter toast and had that with fruit for breakfast, paid my $6 camping fee, and was on the road slightly after 8. I enjoyed more back roads, with very little interstate highway, across in to Missouri. One advantage of back roads is that if you want to stop and take a photo of a chicken, you can –Missouri chicken

And on to Warrensburg, arriving shortly after 3PM. I was warmly greeted by my friend Robin, and after a little catching up, we went over to her mother’s house for a brief visit, and then took the kayaks out on the “lake” that was just down the road,

Robin on Lions Lk

which included a bit of public sculpture:

Sculpture on Lions Lake

and then went to games night with some of her friends. Well, they did games; I played with my knitting. And we all ate really good and mostly healthy snacky food.

Through Ohio, Indiana and Illinois

After spending all Monday morning going along the Clarion River, I headed across back roads to Ohio, where I spent a night in Mt. Vernon. Craig (human) and Penny (canine) welcomed me to their driveway and shared food and internet access. Penny is an energetic two year old boxer-bulldog mix, and all muscle. She LOVED any attention, and was jealous of attention paid to humans or the cat. I’m making her sound more intimidating than she was; she’s a very sweet and loving and gentle pup.

Tuesday, 4/11 was raining the first hour of the drive – but then cleared up, and by the time I’d driven across the rest of Ohio, and Indiana, and much of Illinois it was a gorgeous day. Again, I avoided the interstates, which gave me time to enjoy the architecture of rural middle America, and the steady greening of the countryside. I pulled in to Rice Lake Fish and Wildlife Area with enough daylight to take the kayak out. It is flooded – 2/3 of the campground under water, and made for interesting paddling among the trees.

Rice Lake flooded campground

It’s a good sized lake, and maybe would have been too open and boring – but being able to paddle along through the trees made for an interesting time.

Rice Lake

I was the only one camped, kept company by lots of birds and the calling of frogs. The noise from the state highway up above was the only disturbance – and that got quiet during the night.