I was on the east side of The Rez when my intuition grabbed me by the shirt-front, slammed me against the wall, and whispered, "Get thee hence to the The Gallery in Williams."...Williams, Arizona that is. It's a two-day trek from Albuquerque and I often camp on Buffalo Range Rd. As many times as I've been here (30 miles east of Flagstaff) this was the first I was in the mood to pilgrimage the 14 miles to the famed Yeager Canyon Trail. Supposedly accessible from this side, the information at the Raymond Ranch sign-in kiosk about a mile before "headquarters" touts it as easy. There's also a varied and interesting (interesting what might be in places if they hadn't been removed in the name of cattle-ranching) list of animals that can be seen on the reserve; I saw an (one!!) antelope.
My one (and only) principal is: dawdle. So by the time I arrived at headquarters it was past 6:00 pm. The roads beyond headquarters were rougher than anticipated; top speed maaaaybe, 5mph. If it'd been earlier I'd have continued the last four miles, but there's a notice at the aforementioned kiosk that stipulates: Camping only allowed in the designated spot...300 ft N of headquarters. The "campspot" is a weed-emshrouded area recognizable only by the standard amenities...a picnic table & barbecue grill. There are no "facilities." I do all I can to avoid formal campsites and with still four miles to the trailhead at an estimated four-miles-per hour, I couldn't make it before sunset. And I've reached the age where I don't like to drive after dark. I returned north of the kiosk and spent a peaceful night on the campable lands (photo above).
Ah, the library. It's one of the culture's few assets. Generously donated to the Albuquerque system by the Richard A. Freedman Trust, it's a beautiful artifact that was compiled to accompany the exhibit of the same title (curated by Ian Berry 2/18/12 - 5/20/12). It does a splendid job of showcasing Ms. Grossman's varied talents.
Most astonishing was the fact that many of the pieces were done in the late 60s. The bracing realization that it takes MUCH longer for those of us in the fly-over states to get a clue set me to worrying abt what else I've missed. (Perhaps LSD has made a comeback?) Having spent my formative years in the marketing department of UNM Press, I'm appreciative of design. Thus, it was with focused interest that I perused the credits. There were two, designers, that is...Barbara Glauber of Heavy Meta and Florian Brozek. The photographers are too numerous to list, but I found it interesting that the three that caught my eye (pp. 144,145, 147) were among the unattributed. (There is a request for information on the copyright page.) Well worth a trip into town. Mil Gras! to the Freedman Trust.
It's troo, I'll share locations on request, but this one is so high up and so far off the beaten path I figure most of you'll just enjoy the photos. It's on the one side-road that goes west a few miles south of Platoro. I forget the Forest Number, but if you search on Treasure Creek (Conejos County) you'll find it. The profusion of the state flower was overwhelming!! But you can see pictures of them anywhere. Photos just don't do it. When I came around the bend and saw the view below I stopped, got out, and spent the rest of the afternoon walking. I kept expecting Heidi to show up at any moment. Treasure Creek flows through on the far left side.
This magnificent specimen was its sole representative.
Lookout Mountain and Lake De Nolda in the afternoon light. (Friggin rain!!!)
I had arrived late to the Taos Plateau and was too tired to drive more than a couple miles off the highway on the rough little dirt road. It'd been a peaceful night but here it was, hardly ten a.m. and already TWO cars had gone by. Where were all these people GOING!! So when Jake Quinones, guide and photographer from Las Cruces, pulled over and stopped, I was ambivalent. But, since I was already standing, I figured I'd try and act civil; I walked over and said hello. When he offered a beer I hesitated. I mean, some people take offense if you're not enthusiastic about their Bud Lite, don'chyaknow? And since I only drink stout...it seemed a risky moment.
Black IPA....a stout by any other name.
But I get ahead of myself. I was sitting there with my pants unzipped, belly done-lopped over and no shirt...like a huge frog on its pad, enjoying the morning and thinking about breakfast when I heard the THIRD damn vehicle approaching!! I zipped up and delivered my best military salute as it trundled by. Unlike the others, this one was proceeding at a stately pace. Soon, I heard it coming back. Ambivalence, when anticipating company, as prev mentioned, is my usual response, but artists and guides are always welcome. As we talked, the conversation turned to libations and he mentioned a brewing company Michelle Cook had recently discovered. She had tried their Imperial Java Stout and I had agreed it "qualified."
The Existential Dilemma - Photo by Jake Quinones
So when he produced a black can with nothing more than the Zia symbol and the company's name I recognized the provenance. It claims to be an IPA, but that's just fad-pandering: it's a stout. And a good one at that, even in Colorado. His photographs have been included in numerous publications; most recently in The Most Dangerous Stagecoach Ride in the World: Butterfield Route in the Fall 2015 issue of Overland Journal. At the time, with some awareness of my appearance, I was reluctant to be photographed, but this has since become a favorite.