The problem, I think, is that the Truck and Trailer
to last minute mechanical issues, I had to grab the race truck and tow
box down to New Mexico, which necessitated a complex set of algorithms
involving getting the demo truck to Crested Butte and the race truck to
Deer Valley the following weekend. But that was all safely tucked away
in the future. For now I had some snuffling around to do in Taos,
followed by a series of three demos, Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Durango.
I missed my usual truck, and moreover, due to no camper shell, Grendel
was unable to attend this leg of the journey. It felt odd being out on
the road without him.
After some errand running and some stuff that seemed suspiciously like
work, I suited up for a ride. I should have done SBT again, forgoing
the shuttle and doing an out and back, but there is this trail on the
maps that has always piqued my curiosity. You know how curiosity is
though. Cats and all, yes, but Merriwether Lewis put it well in his
first encounters with the Grizzly Bear. The expedition had heard of
these fearsome creatures from the Hidatsa tribe, and were eager to see
one. After being variously chased around and putting 12 slugs into a 9
foot tall bear, Lewis, with his usual penchant for understatement,
said, "I find that the curiosity of our party is pretty well satisfied
with respect to this animal."
So off I went, up the trail, planning on about a 2 hour ride. And
things started out quite well. Irises held forth in sunny meadows,
temperatures were perfect, life, was, for the moment, good.
I crossed through a gate up in a meadow at about 10,000 feet and
followed the trail along into the woods opposite. The trail was a
The aspens were lovely up there. Huge stands with voluminous green
leaves dancing in the breezes.
And the views were pretty good too.
But unfortunately the trail, marked on my map by an encouraging bold
yellow line, refused to remain consistently visible, and I kept getting
sidetracked by the morass of ATV tracks that crisscrossed the
singletrack. Maddeningly, they all seemed to turn into steep, loose,
rocky descents that dead ended into private property gates.
Occasionally, I would pick up the trail again only to lose track of it
again within a hundred yards or so. Sometimes there would actually be
trail signs, but they would be forlorn little things out in meadows
that had arrows that pointed up towards the sky.
Finally, 4 hours later, after ending up on (approximately) 8 billion
different ATV trails, I cursed the trail and Elliot Barker and anyone
that had to do with thinking that this trail was at all valid.
Karma was unusually instantaneous and Mother Nature immediately
rewarded me for my little outburst but reaching out with a branch and
putting a foot long scratch in my arm as i passed by a stand of pine
I calmed down in short order and quit trying to find the trail and
crossed overland back in the general direction of the truck. With
little fanfare I made my way back and had a cold beverage next to the
little creek by the trailhead. Needless to say, my curiosity with
respect to the Elliot Barker Trail had been pretty well satisfied.
I consoled myself with a hike, up a drainage to the south of Taos that
I had wanted to explore for a while. The Rio de la Olla, or in the less
exotic english translation, Pot Creek. I made my peace with things
through the aegis of quiet appreciation of a gorgeous June evening.
The sharp eye might notice that the above images are of the same thing,
with vastly different lenses.
The next day I headed down to Santa Fe and had a wholly restorative
ride on the Winsor Trail. I did a little figure eight of some loops off
of the mainline and reasserted my ability to travel through the woods
in a stately fashion.
To be continued...in Albuquerque