Tag Archives: mountains

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! 🙂

 

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Back to work!

Window in to the past, Gila cliff dwellings

Window in to the past, Gila cliff dwellings

Summer break is officially over now. Aaron went back to work yesterday. We had company visiting, so I’m starting back today. I haven’t painted on canvas since June, but I did paint the house! We spent Aaron’s Summer break working on the house and exploring our new home. We hiked many miles and found some really beautiful areas. Mountain streams, lava flows, old dead trees, and an abundance of birds and wildlife. I probably took a couple hundred photos! We are settled in now and enjoying our new home to it’s fullest. I’m grateful to be living the dream!

Dusty hiking

Dusty hiking in Spring Canyon

I keep going back and forth about keeping my studio here at home or finding a place in town (Silver City) to rent. After searching town and making a few calls, it seems there isn’t much available and what is available is a bit overpriced. For now, I’ve decided to keep my studio at home.

On the scaffolding, painting the back side of the house

On the scaffolding, painting the back side of the house

With all the hiking trails in the area, I’ve decided to start blogging about our hikes on a regular basis. My goal is to blog 2 times per week. One will be about hiking the Gila and the other will be my art update for the week. Fingers crossed I can accomplish this goal! Our internet connection is spotty out here, so it will depend on how reliable it is on the days I blog.

View from atop the Black Range Crest Trail

View from atop the Black Range Crest Trail, this trail goes through a forest fire area from the Silver fire in 2013

Hiking is a walking meditation for me. There is nothing more calming or inspiring. My footsteps and breathing create a rhythm that takes me to another plane of perception. The trick is keeping that perception after the hike is over. Most of the time, it leaves as soon as I hop back in the car after a hike. My wish is to get to a point where I can keep that feeling while sitting here in my studio.

On the trail

On the trail

During our hikes I have been thinking a lot about writing. Words flow to me during my hiking meditations and I would love to get this flow down into words. That is what I’m working on. As a visual artist, words can be difficult. Putting what I see into words is not an easy task.

Another view from the Black Range Crest Trail

Another view from the Black Range Crest Trail

That said, the urge to write is becoming stronger than my aversion to writing.
I don’t know that what I have to write/say is important to the world in general, but it’s important to me and perhaps someone else will get something from it too.

View from the CDT trail

View from the CDT trail

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!

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!

Open Studio Time!

My blog post was bumped yesterday for a Valentine’s Day trip to the Peak of the Sandia mountains. It was cold, cloudy and snowy up there, but it was beautiful! If you’ve never been to Albuquerque, the Sandias are the mountains directly to the east of the city. It takes about 30 minutes to drive up to the peak. One of the biggest reasons we love Albuquerque! Usually, you can see the city from the peak, but yesterday everything was covered with clouds.

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My Valentine! ❤

This week I’m getting ready for my monthly open studio event. Every month, I open my studio to the public, along with some of the other artists here at Chroma Studios. It’s a great time to get a behind the scenes look at the where I work and what I do everyday. You might even get a great deal on one of my paintings! I have prints available too.

Looking into my studio from the Reception area

The address is 1606 Central Ave SE, ste. 201, Albuquerque, NM. We occupy the whole upstairs of the building. It’s a really cool space with the high windows in the front. I have recently moved back into studio #1, the room I started in 9 years ago when we first opened Chroma Studios. It truly is the prime studio space. I sometimes feel guilty about taking it back, but I think after 8 years, it’s my turn again! 😉

Looking up at my studio window from the front sidewalk

Looking up at my studio window from the front sidewalk

The high windows are on either side of my studio, with one looking out onto Central Ave. and the other one looking into the reception area.

My studio windows

My studio windows

Just a little tease of the artwork I have available for sale! Come by the Open Studios this Saturday to see more! See you there! 🙂

The reception area outside my studio

The reception area outside my studio

 

 

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!

Chroma Studios Open House: Saturday, Sept. 17, 12-5pm

Reception area at Chroma Studios

Reception area at Chroma Studios

This Saturday from noon to 5pm I will be opening my studio to the public. Not just my studio, but 3-4 other artists in my building will also be here to show their work! It’s been years since we opened Chroma Studios to the public and I am so excited to share all the color and energy with you all! We have 11 studios in all, though not everyone is able to be open this time around.

We have 2 studios that are currently being moved out of, so we also have 2 studios opening up for new artists at the beginning of October. If you are looking for an art studio, stop by and see what we have available! We are always happy to welcome new artists into the Chroma Studios fold. 🙂

Mixed Media by Dee Alexandria

Mixed Media by Dee Alexandria

I recently moved into a new studio that I’m sharing with another artist. Dee Alexandria has been a friend since we first met selling our art at the New Mexico State Fair almost 10 years ago! We decided to share a studio because neither of us needed a big studio to ourselves. Plus, it’s nice to have company in the studio. So often, artists are isolated from their peers. That is one of the things about Chroma Studios that makes it so nice! We have a community of artists here that help each other out. Mine and Dee’s work compliments each other perfectly as we both love color, flowers and spirals!

Landscape painting by Cynthia Zeedyk

Landscape painting by Cynthia Zeedyk

Cynthia Zeedyck is another artist who will have her studio open this Saturday. She is a lifelong artist with 45 years of training and experience in the arts, including: Fine Arts, Appalachian Arts, Poetry, many styles of Dance, Wildcrafting Herbs, and Poetry. Cynthia was awarded with an Apprenticeship Grant from Ohio Arts for Traditional Heritage Basket Making. Her works sold both nationally and internationally. She was the largest female producer of Heritage Berry Baskets in the world.  Her designs and creations include landscape paintings, floral and contemporary. Newest works in Scrimshaw. Cynthia has been a Chroma Artist since 2014.

Mixed Media by Robert Medina Cook

Mixed Media by Robert Medina Cook

Robert Medina Cook has been a Chroma Studios artist off and on for at least 5 years. He began his journey in the creative arts over forty years ago in Santa Fe, New Mexico. A native New Mexican whose local family roots go back centuries in Northern New Mexico, in 2012 Robert was one of 7 artists honored for their excellence in the arts by being proclaimed a “Local Treasure” by the Albuquerque Art Business Association. Featured in several publications, his artworks have won numerous awards and can be found in corporate, museum, public art and private collections throughout the US and abroad.

Mixed Media by Phillip Vigil

Mixed Media by Phillip Vigil

Phillip Vigil (Jemez Pueblo/Chiricahua Apache) is a fourth-generation artist residing in Jemez Pueblo. He is new to Chroma Studios. He is a self-taught artist and has been working seriously on his art now for several years. He always had a love of art since he realized at a young age that the paintings on the walls were done by members of his family. He is highly influenced by the abstract modernists of the early and late 20th century. He works a lot on paper with oil pastels, oil sticks, oil paint sticks, spray paint, oil and acrylic paint as well.

 

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