Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Part 2: Fort Davis and Indian Lodge

If you missed it, part one documents our road trip out to west Texas and stay at Hotel Paisano. Phase two of our trip entailed hiking around the Fort Davis mountains. 

During our second hike (5 hours up, across, and down a big ol' mountain) we encountered about 10 aoudads on the side of a steep mountainside where the trail narrowed to just fit your feet and there was no room for error, nothing to break your fall if you tumbled left, just sharp rocks and cacti piercing you as you slide and roll. What's an aoudad? A Barbary sheep, they say. It looks like a cross between a deer and a ram; it has those magnificent curly horns. We don't have any pictures because we were stunned and if you move they take off, which they did when "one" of us moved. It's amazing how quickly they can run down such a steep grade with rocks and such. 

We forgot to visit the actual fort because we were enjoying the state park, Indian Lodge grounds, and surrounding area roads and land. The drive to Fort Davis is amazing and hopefully I'll have some good analog shots once I get the film developed. I can't tell you what quiet country roads, the sound of wind through fields, and watching enormous cows not giving a shit does for me. 

This old woman [La Loba, Wild Woman, The One Who Knows] stands between the worlds of rationality and mythos. She is the knuckle and bone on which these two worlds turn. This land between the worlds is that inexplicable place we all recognize once we experience it, but its nuances slip away and shape-change if one tries to pin them down, except when we use poetry, music, dance . . . or story.

- Clarissa Pinkola Est├ęs, Ph.D., Women Who Run With The Wolves, Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

The night we stayed at Indian Lodge we sat outside bundled up (it's definitely chilly in the winter time - we were there the first week in November) to look at the stars. It took my eyes a minute or so to adjust and suddenly all the jillions of stars came into focus. The sky was so clear. A while later, again, suddenly things came into focus - it was like I could see the entire solar system, every star and galaxy. The sky looked like one of those detailed science photos or a drawing that maps everything out. Tri-iipy! I've never seen more stars in my life. 

Now, for the conclusion of our star gazing, I don't know if anyone believes us when we tell the story but ... at one point we both were sitting quietly when a mass of light hovered on the side of the mountain we faced. It was like a fog but as I mentioned earlier, it was a clear night. There aren't city lights reflecting anywhere; you're in the mountains with no cell service at Indian Lodge itself. We looked around - no car headlights, no lights on in the rooms facing that mountainside and even if light was leaking out of any windows it wouldn't reach out in a floating mass that far. It didn't last long and just as it appeared, it simply vanished.   

Third post in the west Texas series up next: Marfa and El Cosmico. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Part 1: On the Road to Marfa. And Hotel Paisano.

I've lived in Tejas since 1982 and this is the first time I've been out to west Texas. Within the first two hours, give or take, the word southwest came to mind. Ah yes, this is the southwest. And it's starting to look like Arizona; duh, naturally this makes sense. You can see the landscape organically morph. Who knew there were real mountains in Texas?! 

Our trip was planned around staying in a teepee at El Cosmico that Mike booked as a surprise. The only teepee available happened to land on Thursday. Our trip basically went in three parts based on where we could get a place to stay along the way. We left on Tuesday morning. So we needed some place to stay for two other nights. Besides glamping at El Cosmico (and it's still pretty close to real-ish camping, in my opinion) some other things of nature we had to do were stop at Balmorhea to jump in Solomon Springs on the way (check) and explore the Ft. Davis mountains and stay at Indian Lodge. Those are on the way out to Marfa but the only availability at the lodge was on Wednesday. We couldn't decide on where to stay on the way to or near Marfa on Tuesday (that wouldn't take us out of the way or be a complete shit hole) so we just went on through, stayed the night in Marfa on Tuesday evening then headed back north Wednesday morning to explore the Ft. Davis area.

We originally thought we would real-camp on Tuesday but at the last minute decided not to because we thought we might freeze. It was supposed to be in the 30's or 40's or something. Turns out, with all the blankets we brought we probably would have been fine. Well, after around 10 hours or so of driving (we made stops for photos, etc.) we got to Marfa and stayed at El Paisano. Amazing hotel with turn of the century, southwest revival design and architecture. I'll talk more about Marfa in my next post in this three part road trip series: 1) On the Road to Marfa, 2) Ft. Davis & Indian Lodge, and 3) Back to Marfa.

But for now here are the photos from our trip out to west Texas and early the next morning heading to Ft. Davis & Indian Lodge. This was really one of the best trips I've ever had, including trips to Europe and the Caribbean. For real.
These next two photos are from Balmorhea at Solomon Springs. I hate to say it but the water itself is more amazing than Barton Springs. It's clear spring water that feels so soft and the visibility is phenomenal. If you were blind folded and dropped into the water there then the blindfold was removed and you opened your eyes to look below, you would think you were in the ocean. 
These next two photos are a view from our screened-in porch. Some might think, "awful, white-trashy", but if you know me, you know I like seedy stuff & see everything as art when I'm in the mood. The light was ethereal and the texture of the buildings and little patches of grass was crunchy perfect.

This is on our walk to Cochineal for dinner, a really adorable and delicious upscale yet casual chic restaurant. I'm good at identifying the most subtle of flavors in recipes but the steak that Mike had -- I dunno! It was really perfect. All I know is that there was some sort of smoky grilled thing going on and I was getting the sense of something herbaceous, green, and fresh at the same time. Yowza. The building you see in the distance is part of The Chinati Foundation.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Life's A Garden, Dig It!

It's been a really long time since I've done a blog post. Working a bunch will do that to you. I think I haven't done once since March or earlier. Here, my patient people, we have a collection of graffiti and other public or street art. It always brings a good vibe to your day and forces you to pause for a moment, which I think is becoming more and more important because it happens less and less nowadays. Slow it down people, shit's not that crucial! Viva the good life and viva mas adventures!