Tag Archives: health

Hiking the Gila: Rocky Canyon

Tree holding rock

I love the way it looks like this tree is holding up the rock! In reality, the rock is an overhang of the cave behind me and the tree seems to have grown around it.

It’s been too long since I’ve posted a hiking blog. That’s mainly because it’s been a while since we’ve been hiking on a new trail AND had the camera! I always say, that’s why I’m not a professional photographer, I ALWAYS forget the camera when I should have it. Last weekend we hiked for a couple of hours on Saturday and picked up a load of firewood on the way home. Let’s just say it was an exhausting day.

Rocky Canyon walls with grass growing on top of moss

Rocky Canyon walls with grass growing on top of moss

This time we drove a bit further into the Gila National Forest and hiked on the Gila Wilderness side of the forest. In case you are unfamiliar with the Gila, there are two Wilderness areas within the Gila NF. The Gila and the Aldo Leopold. There is one main road that takes you up through the middle of the Gila NF, this road is what splits the two wilderness areas. Main road is a bit deceiving as this is still a dirt forest road. In fact, it’s recommended that you take only a high clearance 4 wheel drive vehicle on FR 150. There are some hairy areas, but we have taken our Subaru on the road with no problem.

Mountain stream in Rocky Canyon

Mountain stream in Rocky Canyon

Rocky Canyon is the hairiest part of the road. There is a campground and a hiking trail that heads east from the campground. We had driven by the location before, but this was the first time we stopped for a look around and a hike. Every single other time we have driven through the canyon, it was bone dry. This time? Water literally everywhere! The canyon stream was running full force and there was water seeping from rocks as well as swampy areas on the trail. I cannot tell you when the last time was I saw this much water in the Gila! We have received a ton of rain this year, thank goodness!

Small ledge cave hidden in the rock canyon

This small ledge cave was hidden in the side of Rocky Canyon. It was just big enough for us to climb into, though it was filled with mouse droppings, so we jumped right out!

I probably took over 50 photos that day. There was so much green and so much water, the forest was gorgeous. There were rocks with fresh, green moss with grass growing from the moss. The bright green of the moss on the rocks was so cool.

Faces in the rocks

One thing I’ve noticed about the Canyons in the Gila, there are faces everywhere! This one even has a moss beard!

The Gila is located in the desert southwest part of New Mexico (again, for those who don’t know). It’s an oasis of trees, springs and wildlife. When it’s dry, it’s beautiful, but when it’s wet, it’s an amazing paradise! It’s one of the many reasons New Mexico is called the Land of Enchantment. It’s also one of my favorite places in the world. I’m so grateful to call it home!

Painted rocks

This rock wall looked painted, but it is actually the colors left from water streaming down the Canyon walls.

 

Hiking the Gila: Back to Spring Canyon

Aaron in the middle of this photo gives you an idea of the scale of the canyon, awesome!

Aaron in the middle of this photo gives you an idea of the scale of the canyon, awesome!

Sunday we went back to Spring Canyon to hike further up the trail. What a gorgeous canyon, though calling it a trail is a stretch. The trail is marked on the Gila National Forest map, but there are no markings on the road to let you know it’s there. We like trails like this, because we are usually all alone hiking them. You can tell the trail was washed away years ago. There are places where you can see the trail that once was.

Looking up at the rock face from the same spot in photo above, we still had a little way to go!

Looking up at the rock face from the same spot in the photo above, we still had a little way to go!

There is a lot of climbing over dead trees and bush wacking to get up the canyon to a awesome shear rock face with a stream of water running down. Next time, we will have to go without the dogs. Osa slipped several times and with her bad knee we decided it would be best to explore further without the dogs.

The water was spiraling through this bowl in the rock, I couldn't resist the sparkling of the sun in the water!

The water was spiraling through this bowl in the rock, I couldn’t resist the sparkling of the sun in the water!

Another reason I love these hidden gem trails? No trace of man having been there. No discarded Bud Light cans (it’s ALWAYS Bud Light) or cigarette butts. Who smokes and drinks while they hike? Seriously.

It feels like you’ve walked through a wardrobe into Narnia, a place where there is no time. It could just as easily be 1878 as it is 2018. It’s these hidden places where I feel most grounded and connected to nature. Nature in it’s most pristine state of being.

I could have spent all day photographing the multiple crevices in the stream where old logs have become part of the waterway. Ahhhh, nature!

I could have spent all day photographing the multiple crevices in the stream where old logs have become part of the waterway. Ahhhh, nature!

I use photography as a source of inspiration for my art. Lately, I’m visualizing landscape still life snapshots as abstract paintings. I must have hundreds of photos like the one above. I love how nature composes these perfect little abstract works of art. Installations of logs, rock, mud, grasses and flowers, waiting for someone to come along and appreciate their unique beauty.

This area had a large forest fire burn many of the trees about 5 years ago. Even in this state they are majestic against the deep blue sky.

This area had a large forest fire burn many of the trees about 5 years ago. Even in this state they are majestic against the deep blue sky.

Places like this are what gives New Mexico it’s name the “Land of Enchantment”. I’m so grateful to Aldo Leopold for preserving the Aldo Leopold and Gila Wilderness areas for future generations. I pray it will continue to be preserved for generations to come.

Hiking the Gila: Random Forest Roads

Meadow at the bottom of the canyon, looking towards the side canyon

Meadow at the bottom of the canyon, looking towards the side canyon

We’ve passed the hidden dirt road hundreds of times. If you aren’t paying close attention, you will miss it. There is a stretch of highway 152 where the road is high up above a scary cliff. I usually avoid looking down, mainly to keep from getting car sick. I’m not afraid of heights, but that particular cliff has quite a drop to it.

Now that my car sickness is getting under control, I have to move WITH the car on the turns to avoid it, I have looked over that edge to see the amazing, deep canyon below. My first thought was, I wonder what’s down there? My second thought was, HOW do we get down there? Our next few drives by, I looked and looked, trying to find a road to take us down for exploration. That’s when I saw it, just past the stretch of road on the cliff, the hidden entrance to the dirt forest road that leads into the canyon.

Swimming hole where we soaked our feet

Swimming hole where we soaked our feet

On Saturdays, we go down the hill to the local organic market in Mimbres. They have a small farmer’s market on Saturdays and we have started a weekly routine of stopping by the market for fruits, veggies and fresh eggs. The clerk who works the market on Saturdays is a friendly local guy and we’ve spoken with him at length about different hiking trails in the area. He told us about that hidden trail a couple of weeks ago.

Last week, we decided to check it out. The first time, it was later in the afternoon and quite hot out, we only hiked down the road about 10 minutes. The road is basically straight downhill. We turned around acknowledging that we would need to start earlier and have a full day to explore this trail.

Going into the side canyon, pools of water were everywhere! Wonderful that we've had so much rain!

Going into the side canyon, pools of water were everywhere! Wonderful that we’ve had so much rain!

Sunday we decided to take a longer hike to see where the steep hill lead. Another hot day, but thankfully, the Sun was in and out of the clouds. The further we went, the more the clouds covered the Sun. It was obvious that it had rained recently, as the trail was quite wet and even muddy in some places. I could not wait to get to the bottom to see where the water had flowed.

The hike down to the bottom of the canyon took about 30 minutes. We followed the trail as far as we could, back tracking several times after losing the trail. The stream bed at the bottom was not only running with water, but there were several large pools. We stopped to soak our feet and cool off in one of the larger pools of water. The water was so deep, we could have had a swim! If only I had brought the right shoes, I ended up cutting my foot on a rock because I didn’t want to get my brand new running shoes wet. I usually wear my “lake” shoes if I know there will be streams to cross.

Side canyon oasis

Aaron and the dogs in the side canyon oasis

We were told the trail went on to connect with another trail we’ve already hiked but, all we found were dead ends, so we decided to turn around and try again another day. On our way back, I noticed a side canyon I hadn’t seen on the way down. We decided to follow a vague path to this side canyon and found a wonderful rock and water oasis. We didn’t follow the canyon too far down, but saved it for another day. That is the joy of living here now, we can always go back for more another day! Not to mention getting to know the locals and finding the great, hidden spots in the Gila National Forest. So much to explore, so little time! Stay tuned, or subscribe to my blog, to read/see more about our adventures!

Until next time! :-)

Until next time! 🙂

 

First Friday Opening Reception, THIS Friday!

My art and the art of 20 other artists has been hung at the New Mexico Cancer Center for the Gallery With A Cause show, “Movers and Shakers”. There is some really amazing art at this show! I’m so grateful to be included in such an awesome group of artists!

2018 3, flyer

This Friday, March 2nd, 5:30-8:30pm is the First Friday opening reception. Located within the NM Cancer Center at 4901 Lang Ave NE, the Gallery With A Cause raises money to help lower income patients financially. 40% of every sale goes to the NM Cancer Center Foundation. Having lost family members and friends to cancer, this is an important cause to me personally as well.

"Believe", 30x30" oil on canvas, one of the "reworked" paintings for the NMCCG show

“Believe”, 30×30″ oil on canvas, one of the “reworked” paintings for the NMCCG show

I have 19 pieces hanging in the show, 6 paintings on canvas, 3 guitar paintings and 10 vinyl record paintings. I hope you will join me at the reception to see the art and potentially support the cause with a purchase. There will be a People’s Choice Award, so I would really appreciate the support and your vote!

"Ecstatic", 20x20" oil on canvas, one of the two brand new paintings I did for the NMCCG show

“Ecstatic”, 20×20″ oil on canvas, one of the two brand new paintings I did for the NMCCG show

There will be a “Walk and Talk” event on Wednesday, April 18th, 6-7:30pm. If you are unable to attend either of these days, the gallery is open by appointment only. Call 505-828-3791 for more information or to schedule an appointment. All events are free to attend, and your support is greatly appreciated! See you there!

Wake Up Call!

The past couple of weeks have been quite a doosy! (sp?) During the last week of March, on Tuesday/Wednesday I started having heart palpitations that really freaked me out! I have had them before, but usually just once in a great long while. Last week they started and didn’t let up. I had a bit of stress on Thursday and started having chest pains. Even more freaked out, I told my husband who immediately took me to the emergency room. Because we don’t have health insurance, we have to go to the local University hospital. This is an awful place to go to the ER! I figured with chest pains I would get back to see a Doctor right away, WRONG! It was over 12 hours before I was finally lead back to a bed at 4am in the morning. They ran every test possible and apparently my heart is healthy, thank God, but they still couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me.

Now, for those of you who don’t know it, my dad died almost 4 years ago of a heart attack. He was only 64 years old. His first heart attack hit when he was 59. So, needless to say, I was a bit shaken. Perhaps I have always had a fear that this would happen to me, perhaps I caused it with my worry. Or perhaps I have inherited my father’s heart issues. We still don’t know. I go back tomorrow to get a mobile heart monitor which I will wear for 2 weeks. After that I will go back for another echo cardiogram stress test. Update: I now have my heart monitor and will be wearing it for 4 weeks, not two.

This scare was my wake up call. I have always been pretty healthy, last time my cholesterol was checked it was 93 for crying out loud! Of course that was 5 years ago and I have since turned 40. After my gall bladder surgery 2 years ago, we stopped eating so much meat, in fact, we usually eat vegetarian and recently switched to organic fruits and veggies. I have slacked off on my exercise routine lately and we have been doing a bit more social drinking than usual. However, as of that visit to the ER, I am back to my regular exercise schedule and eating right. The Dr. also suggested meditation which I have tried to do regularly, but now I’m back to everyday with that as well. Working on staying stress free as it seems stress makes it worse. Now that I’m wearing the heart monitor in my everyday life, it’s interesting to see how often my heart rate goes up.

Once again, I have been reminded of the brevity of this life. My sense of urgency has been renewed and I am working on getting back on track with certain goals I made for my art. Recently, I have slacked on those goals and let everything slide. NO MORE! It’s time to live my life to it’s absolute fullest!