Tag Archives: hiking

Turkey Creek, Gila National Forest

photo of turkey creek

Shadows play on the surface of the water

This past Sunday was mine and Aaron’s 21st wedding anniversary. We decided to pack a picnic lunch and head out to explore the Turkey Creek Hot Springs trail. Turkey Creek feeds in to the Gila River, or at least it must when there is more water. Either that, or the creek goes underground at some point. The creek bed is currently dry by the time it gets down to the river, but after a couple of creek crossings, the water was flowing quite well. Lots of deep pools for soaking feet!

hidden windmill

It took a while, but we finally spotted the windmill that marks the trail head!

On our way out past the windmill

On our way out past the windmill

The road in is not for the faint of heart! It is a 14 mile drive in from Hwy 180. At about mile 8 the pavement ends and a few miles later the road starts winding it’s way up and over a tall “hill” or what some people call a mountain. The road is narrow, bumpy and there are no guardrails. We drive roads like this all the time, but this is one of the more scary roads we’ve been on. The drop offs at the top are almost straight down! 4 wheel drive or AWD with high clearance definitely recommended!

photo of Turkey creek

Turkey Creek, so pretty!

All that said, the scary drive is well worth the end destination! Aaron’s mom asked why we drive roads like that if they are so scary? Because the reward on the other side is SO worth it! It’s not easy to find the trail head, even with a trail book of directions. There are lots of four wheel drive roads, more like a maze of roads surrounding the Gila River. We had to park a mile or so away from the trail head. Even though we drive an AWD Subaru, the river is quite deep in some spots, so we decided crossing in the car was not a good idea.

turkey creek

Who knew there could be such a beautiful desert oasis hidden in these desert mountains!

Crossing the river by foot is quite refreshing at this time of the year! It was 94 degrees the day we were out there and the cool water felt lovely. After four river crossings, we wandered around a bit, looking for the trail head. There is an old private homestead with a windmill hidden in the trees. This is where the trail begins. Unfortunately for us, after making our way through the maze of roads and backtracking to finally find the trail head, we didn’t have enough time or energy to make it all the way to the hot springs. According to our trail book, the springs are another 3 miles up from the windmill. We made it up about 2 of the 3 miles.

I love these tree trunks! Sycamore trees abound in this canyon!

I love these tree trunks! Sycamore trees abound in this canyon!

Now that we know where we’re going, we hope to make it all the way up to the hot springs next time. We weren’t too disappointed though, considering how hot it was! The cool water in the creek and river were refreshing and more than enough for this trek.

The rock cliffs tower hundreds of feet over the creek bed, though the trees cover most of them from view.

The rock cliffs tower hundreds of feet over the creek bed, though the trees cover most of them from view.

I’m planning on getting back to blogging twice a week. One blog will be about our latest hiking adventure and the other will be about my art. Subscribe to my blog above if you would like to be notified when I post a new blog. You may also want to go to my website and sign up for my email list to get more updates about my art and where our latest explorations have taken us!

Such a gorgeous landscape of rocks, trees and water!

Such a gorgeous landscape of rocks, trees and water!

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Gila Cliff Dwellings

Aaron and I at the entrance of the cliff dwellings

Aaron and I at the entrance of the cliff dwellings

I may have blogged about this before, but it must have been years ago! That’s how long it’s been since Aaron and I visited. I love being back in southwestern New Mexico. It’s a homecoming of sorts. Different town this time around. When I was a kid growing up in Las Cruces, we spent countless weekends and Summers camping, hiking and exploring the Gila National Forest.

Catching the first glimpse of the cave from the trail below

Catching the first glimpse of the cave from the trail below

We brought visiting family and friends here to see the beauty of this vast wilderness. The Gila Cliff Dwellings is one of the most visited spots in the Gila. The other being the Catwalk trail near Glenwood.

The cliff face near the dwellings

The cliff face near the dwellings

When we go hiking with our dogs, we usually stick to trails without other people around. This past Sunday, we left the dogs at home. Mainly because dogs aren’t allowed at the Cliff Dwellings. They do have kennels for the dogs though, just in case!

One of the ancient rock walls of the cliff dwellings with it's distinctive window shape

One of the ancient rock walls of the cliff dwellings with it’s distinctive window shape

The road out to the site is a twisting, turning mountain road with no center line. Though it’s paved, it is definitely a back country road!

The hiking trail up to the cliff dwellings crosses over a small stream several times before zig zagging up the hillside to the ruins. The heat of the sun gives way to the cool of the cave as you climb the wooden ladder into the dwellings that haven’t been occupied in close to a thousand years.

Looking out into the canyon from within the cliff dwellings

Looking out into the canyon from within the cliff dwellings

It’s easy to see why the ancient ones chose this place, up high on a cliff overlooking a mountain spring. A view of the canyon, a source of water, a shelter from the weather.

Looking back as we head down the exit path.

Looking back as we head down the exit path.

If you ever find yourself in Silver City, New Mexico, I highly recommend you take the drive up to the Gila Cliff Dwellings. You won’t be sorry you did!

Settling In

12 x 12" oil on canvas, work in progress

12 x 12″ oil on canvas, work in progress

Five weeks since we moved in to our new house in Mimbres, New Mexico. I LOVE it here! Hiking 3-4 times a week, peace and quiet, dark skies full of stars, deer walking through the yard at dusk, the amazing view from my studio, etc!

I must admit, I miss the family up in Albuquerque. Especially my sweet grandsons! We have made several trips up north and were supposed to go up again this weekend. However, our car decided she had had enough! The clutch died on me while I was in Silver City on Tuesday. We have confirmation that we NEED to have two cars living out here!

I haven’t been able to work in the studio everyday, but it’s getting closer! Earlier in the week and today I was able to get some painting time in. I’m currently working on several 12 x 12″ paintings on canvas. All are still works in progress. At this point, I’m just working out the rust after months of not painting. Just like anything, practice makes perfect and when I haven’t painted for so long, I have to get back into it again.

I’m saving  a few new 20 x 20″ canvases to paint once I get the gears moving again. I’ve never been one to wait for inspiration, I just dive in and it usually comes along at some point. That said, I prefer to save bigger canvas for solid inspiration or ideas to come.

I’m planning/hoping to get back to a regular blogging schedule in the coming weeks. It’s so nice to be back in the studio! Stay tuned!

 

 

And Just like that, another year is gone!

I’ve really enjoyed the month of October this year! My birthday is the 25th, and in the past I’ve only ever celebrated my birthday. This year, I decided to change that and celebrate my birth MONTH.

I’m feeling especially blessed this year as I was able to paint TWO murals during the month! I’m really excited about painting murals, it is so much fun to paint large and murals fit the bill, not to mention, I don’t have to store large paintings when I’m done. They live where they are painted! I think the best part is that they are living with people who truly appreciate and love them!

I took extra time off this month too. I enjoyed hikes with my family, time with my grandson and of course my sweetie, a baby shower for my 2nd grandson, dinners out, the Frida Kahlo photograph exhibit at the UNM Art Museum, time in Las Cruces with my brother and sister-in-law and much more! It’s been a great month and I am very grateful.

I apologize for the lack of blog posts, but I was so busy with murals and other stuff, the blog practically slipped my mind all month!

Oh, and there was the jaw pain! I’ve been in pain for most of the month. I finally broke down and went to the dentist last week and found out I have to get my one, final, wisdom tooth pulled on Nov. 7th. After a round of antibiotics and steroids, the pain is mostly gone, but the pressure is building and I cannot wait to get this tooth out of my head!

This weekend is my 30th High School reunion! I cannot believe it’s been that long already, but I’m so looking forward to seeing everyone! Aaron and I will be playing some Sunlight music for my classmates at the Saturday evening dinner.

Coming up on November 11th, is the “Face-Palm Patriots”, Veterans Art Show I’m participating in at the KD Neeley gallery in Downtown Albuquerque. This show will benefit the local organization, Heroes Walk Among Us. This is the show I’ve been working on the Self-portrait for. I’m just about finished with it, I have to take it to the gallery tomorrow! I’m pretty pleased with the outcome, considering it’s my first portrait in over 12 years!

Self Portrait for the upcoming "Face-Palm Patriots" Veteran art show

Self Portrait for the upcoming “Face-Palm Patriots” Veteran art show at the KD Neeley gallery in downtown Albuquerque.

You get to Paint All the time, right?

It’s one of the biggest misconceptions about artists. Unfortunately, unless you have some type of career manager or assistant, artists do NOT get to paint/create all the time. Unless of course, you aren’t concerned with actually selling your work. Being a full time artist, this is a pretty important part of the career.

Hanging my show at the Sierra Club office

Hanging my show at the Sierra Club office

This has been one of those weeks. I always struggle during these weeks to know what to blog about. There is no time lapse video of a painting in progress or progress photos to share.

This week I’m working. Business stuff, ie paying bills, making painting labels and hanging art for a show, sending lists of pieces for consignment forms, twisting wire on hanging hooks so my records will hang right, creating and sending out promotional emails and facebook events and posts.

Hanging my show at the Sierra Club office

Hanging my show at the Sierra Club office

Editing some older writing for the “Paula Beck Prints” art book I’m working on. I didn’t realize how negative my outlook was until I reread my blog posts from 12 years ago! Time to change the story up a bit so I am accepting my responsibility for my life. I was such a victim in the past! No more.

I will admit, we took our dogs for an afternoon hike yesterday. We have been promising them a hike for at least a month! It was a beautiful, cool day in the San Pedro Wilderness, west of the Jemez. We did happen to stop by a tree with a bee hive in it, and I got stung 3 times! Boy do those stings itch today!

In other news, Monday I meet with the clients for my next mural commission! I’m so excited to get started on another mural! Updates coming soon!

 

Happy New Year!

Aaron and I at the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Aaron and I at the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all enjoyed your Holidays. I really did enjoy all the time spent with my family in 2016. We also had a really fun and successful mini-tour to Arizona with our music. Sunlight performed in Phoenix, Tucson and Ajo, AZ and we were very grateful for the turnout and CD sales!

Margaritas in Mexico!

Margaritas in Mexico!

While in southern Arizona, we visited the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. It was awesome to see all the huge cacti! Saguaros and Organ Pipe Cactus were everywhere. We took a short hike, but it was quite cold while we were there. Of course, it warmed up into the 70s on the day we left.

Serenaded by Mariachis

Serenaded by Mariachis

We made a very quick trip down to Mexico for dinner one of the days we were visiting in Ajo. It was supposed to be a full day trip, but my sweetie woke up sick that day and ended up sleeping until 3 in the afternoon. Once he got up, we decided to go for it and drove down to Puerto Penasco for a wonderful dinner by the sea! The food was great, even if the weather was COLD and windy. Our waiter was awesome and brought us our own personal heater. We practiced our Espanol with him and he practiced his English with us. Other than the trucks of soldiers riding around with automatic weapons, nothing was out of the ordinary. I guess the soldiers were there to protect the tourists. Like I said, nothing out of the ordinary!

Javelina helping himself to some grub in the garbage

Javelina helping himself to some grub in the garbage

I saw my first live Javelina while we were in Ajo! Apparently, they are regular visitors to the dumpster there. I only got one photo of one of them, but at night we were surrounded in our car by a herd/pack? of them! It was quite interesting, like watching a nature show in person! haha!

Our dear, sweet Raven. May she RIP :(

Our dear, sweet Raven. May she RIP 😦

We arrived home in Albuquerque just in time for Christmas and spent several great days hanging out with our kids, siblings and parents. Only one day was a sad day, as we had to have one of our fur babies put down at the end of the year. She was old and sick, but Raven will be greatly missed! She was a great dog. ❤

Cannabis coloring page, will be available in The Chronicle sometime this week!

Cannabis coloring page, will be available in The Chronicle sometime this week!

The last week of the year I was asked to create a coloring page for a new local quarterly paper. The Chronicle is New Mexico’s Cannabis Magazine. I created a Cannabis Mandala coloring page for the first issue of 2017. It was quick and fun, check out their website for more information.

Living in the Land of Enchantment: Nature is the Best Medicine

Subaru parked at the trail head

Parked at the trail head

I’ve been feeling down lately. Trying to stay positive and happy, but that doesn’t always happen. My personal life is good, but the world is losing it’s collective minds! So much fear and hate in the world, it can be hard to stay in the light.

Hiking selfie! :)

Hiking selfie! 🙂

I know of no better healing/grounding than going out in nature! Our dogs agree 100%. Yesterday started as a “morning hike” day. We had planned to take our stir crazy dogs (it’s been over a week since our last hike) for a short hike so we could get back to our studios in the afternoon.

Aspens in their fall colors

Aspens in their fall colors

Some days end up very differently than we plan. We spent a couple of hours looking for a trail head that leads to the Continental Divide Trail. We never found the trail head and so we ended up backtracking to another area we’ve been to before. We did find a trail that we had never been on before (Penas Negras Trail) in the San Pedro Wilderness.

Old road trail; Penas Negras Trail

Old road trail; Penas Negras Trail

It started out very steep, but after about 20 minutes the trail leveled off and took us through a gorgeous ridge top. The trail was more like an old road that had grown over, probably for decades. We timed our visit perfectly as the Aspen trees are beautiful in their Autumn colors!

More colorful Aspens!

More colorful Aspens!

The ground was littered with beautiful quartz stones, sparkling in the sunlight. Needless to say, I LOVE the mountains!

Super tall Aspens, still wearing green!

Super tall Aspens, still wearing green!