Friday, December 18, 2009

A walk in the desert

It all started with an old airplane, baking in the New Mexico desert. It could have been a scene from a movie . . . crashed and presumed lost; miles from anywhere . . . I looked at the mountains in the distance and wondered if I could have crossed them on foot . . .



Being what I am, I decided to try . . . As I got closer it didn't look so rough . . .



But as I got into it, the ground got rugged fast



Most alarming, everyone else walking the old mule paths had snake leggings and sticks. And of course there were warning signs . . . and I had sneakers and nothing else. You can see the leggings on this guy, retreating downhill . . .



Moving into the high country, I ran into last week's snow. Good thing, because I didn't have any water . . .



The road wound ever higher, and as the air got thin I imagined prospectors leading mules over these same tracks 150 years ago



I finally walked through the pass at 6,200 feet, and it felt like I could see 100 miles . . .





I was very lucky to have a guide. Here he is . . . Hal Ettinger



After walking back down, I took a cable car to the top of another set of mountains, just in time for purple sunset . . .



I loked down over the US-Mexico border. The border fence is the squiggly line through the upper right; the right lights ar eMexican, the left are Texan.

15 comments:

cath c said...

beautiful shots. i traveled west decades ago and loved the colors of new mexico especially the deep orange sunrises from my sleeping bag on the truck stop tarmac.

Crystal Hendrix said...

Very Pretty! It reminded me of Nevada. I can see that you and my husband are very alike because whenever we go on hikes too he take a LOT of scenic pictures. My husband also has Aspergers and does my oldest son. I would like to take a minute and thank you for sharing your story. It has helped liberate my husband and help me understand my son and husband more! We were also shocked to see that how your relationship with Unit 2 and ours are very similar. So once again...thank! And please wiggle your ears now!

DJ Kirkby said...

These photos are sublime. I enjoyed looking at them a lot.

Kim Rossi Stagliano said...

Next trip, may I carry your bags? Your photography is impossibly beautiful. Merry Christmas, John.

kyra said...

such incredible views!!!

your copy of the book will be swiftly sent to you as soon as printing is done! not for another couple of months. woof!

LunaTec said...

I just love the way you write John. I feel like I was there. The pics are amazing as usual. The heat and dry environment in the SW are not for me but you made me see how someone could find it interesting.

fullsoulahead.com said...

I especially love the pink sunset.

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

That's why I live in New Mexico. The hikes, the beauty, the impossibly good pictures. And the space!

My son and I, both Aspergians, take tons of pictures on walks, hikes, and at events. I had a hard time at my daughter's wedding because she asked me not to have a camera, but to just enjoy the wedding. But it was hard for me to enjoy it without having the camera between me and all the people I didn't know.

I don't know why. Just know it's so!

Justthisguy said...

The comment I tried to post disappeared. I believe it was about how I wanted more pix of the cool old bomber and less of the dry geology. Also, there was something in there about how I dislike the people you hang out with these days, they being loathesome litcrit damnedyankees from Massachusetts and New. York. City!

John Elder Robison said...

What are littcrit yankees?

Justthisguy said...

Northeastern smug Literary-Political Establishment, or, in two words, Obama Voters. You know, the people whose minds have been formed by that Gramsci fellow, and the Frankfurt School. Post-Modernists and their ilk.

Sir, thank yer lucky stars for your Aspitude! It led you to ignore and escape the Deweyite mental programming of the government schools. Sadly, it seems to have worked on your brother, judging by what I have seen of his writing.

Basically, I don't consider the part of the country in which you live to be really part of the USA anymore.

I will make exceptions for old-fashioned Swamp Yankees, of which there might be some where you live, judging from your bear post.

Justthisguy said...

P.s. If you had put up more pix of the A-26 and less of the rocks, I might not have gotten so exercised. I loves me some old bombers, maybe even more than you love old cars. One of my favorite places in the world is the aviation museum in Warner Robins, Ga. Sadly, they don't have enough money to bring all of their old airplanes in out of the weather. I shudder to think how much more damage the weather will have done to my favorite old Canberra the next time I go there to pet it.

Jack said...

Beautiful photos - great story - and no snakebites!

Thank you.

genedigennaro said...

The A-26 rotting away is what was considered the last word in executive luxury. During the mid 50s-early 60s the On-Mark Engineering Company converted surplus Douglas A-26 bombers into executive transports. These were the LearJets of their day. As business jets cmae onto the scene, converted WW2 bombers were sent to the scrappers and into the "warbird" restoration market. Thsi particular aircraft has the executive conversion but has been painted into a WW2 paint scheme,probalby sometime in the past 30 years.

John Elder Robison said...

Thank you, Gene, for that tidbit of history. How do you know it had the executive conversion? What's visibly changed?