I can’t believe we’ve been here in Pagosa Springs for two weeks already! It really does seem like we arrived just a few days ago. At the two week mark, I’d have been making preparations to move camp in all of my previous stays … but we have another 5 weeks here before leaving for La Veta. Very cool, indeed!
Despite doing pretty much nothing except for one day trip, the time has gone by pretty fast! We have gone into town a few times, but for the most part have just been enjoying peace and serenity.
This place has been a Godsend! The weather has been wonderful, with the exception of the monsoon we experienced on Sunday. We were actually under a flash flood watch which, having gone through a flood once before, had me a bit on edge. The bulletin said to be especially careful about dry gullies and small streams … and while they may CALL what we’re camping next to “a river”, it’s really nothing more than a glorified stream in my book. So during brief respites from the rain during the day, I moved everything from the tent to the car except for the airbed, the cpap and the flooring stuff. Just to be on the safe side.
The watch ended at 3am Monday morning and I stayed up until the end. Starting around 10pm. it poured for about 3 1/2 hours and I checked the river at least once an hour during the rain. For the record, the tent is about 20 feet from the river bank and probably 4 feet above where the water normally runs. The river is about another 10-12 feet from the bank too, so it would have had to be a helluva runoff before it breached. Yes – to quote Buffalo Springfield, “Paranoia strikes deep!”
In the morning, the river had risen about 1 1/2 feet, was running at more than twice its normal speed and was quite muddied from all the silt being washed down from the mountains. Today? It’s returned to it’s regular state (except for still running a bit fast, which just makes for a slightly different melody).
That’s about the only “adventure” Frank and I have had so far. As mentioned above, we also took a long drive on day. We headed south into New Mexico and then across the northern part of the state into Arizona. The scenery was spectacular! I took some photos but really didn’t do it justice. As we continued on our trip, we saw more and more mesas, rocky outcroppings and huge stone monoliths.
Once in Arizona, we headed back north, stopping at Four Corners before we headed back home. (To my chagrin, Dennis … one of my NJ high school buddies … posted something on Facebook the next day about how the Four Corners monument is about 2.5 miles away from where it should be – my first thought was, “Geezus and I paid $5 to get in???”)
There are a number of cute towns in southwestern Colorado. We stopped for gas in Cortez and then headed into Durango. Frank and I will probably make a return trip later this month to see a bit more.
Other than that? Frank and I have both “chillaxed” right next to the tent. Well, at least I have … Frank took a few days to build out a little home underneath the brush at the edge of our camp, between the picnic table and the river. At first, it started out with him just flattening down the grass. But a few days later, Frank decided to add a basement (or perhaps a storm shelter, given his experiences on the road to date). He started digging as if he had discovered where the Utes of long ago had stashed their dog treats! Anyhow, he’s been camped out there ever since. The overhang provides a nice respite from the sun which can beat down pretty hard, even if the temp readings are only in the mid 80’s. The cool dirt must feel good on his belly, too.
We’ve also taken a few walks around the facilities. We’ve also walked up the river a bit, much to Frank’s enjoyment. He found a number of pools created by the running water where he could do his “water plop”. I’ll have to remember to take a camera for our next walk. He lies in the water with his head and tail sticking out … the tail bobs back and forth and he’s usually got a huge smile on his face! Aside from that though, we have done absolutely nothing!
One of the best things to happen though, was our visit from an
old long time high school friend from Dallas, Warren. Warren and his wife Dinah recently retired to Colorado Springs, having moved from Houston last year. We had planned to get together at my first camp since it was only 90 minutes from Warren’s home, but when fate had Frank and I canceling plans in Howard and heading directly to Pagosa Springs, I thought our visit might have to be delayed until Colorado campsite #3 in La Veta. As it turned out though, they were visiting family in Durango and were able to stop by camp for about two hours before they had to head back home.
Words can’t adequately express how blessed I felt because of their visit! Warren has a soft-spoken “kindness” about him and offered some very nice words of encouragement, as did Dinah. He referred to this little escapade I’m on as a “time out” and talked about my getting ready for whatever the next chapter of my life brings. When I told him that I hadn’t considered my trip in that manner, feeling more like it was an admission of failure at life, he was very quick to counter that.
“Jeff, people take time outs all the time,” Warren said. “You see younger people getting fed up with careers and doing what you’re doing quite often these days. You’ll figure it out and go on to something else when the time is right. All you’re doing now is getting yourself chilled out.”
I don’t know if it was his manner, the fact that I’ve been finally able to relax in “non-first-level-of-hell” temperatures, the daily meditation work I’ve been doing since we arrived here, the evening pipes hits I’ve allowed myself to indulge … after reading some studies done on medical marijuana and PTSD, I bought 7 grams of pot when I first arrived and have over half of it left after two weeks … or some combination of all of the above that allowed me to hear what he was saying. It might be that Warren’s words were the final hammer blow on the rock representing my psyche. Larry has mentioned numerous times that he feels I’m going to light somewhere. Online friends AND those I visited with in Dallas have all asked, “so where are you going to wind up?” But after Warren left, his words stayed with me. And for the first time since I “decision time” back in January, I’ve actually conidered the possibility that this won’t be the end of me. I don’t have an inkling as to what the next phase might be, but I’m at least ready to concede that at some later point in time, I might be able to make another stab at “life” again. I don’t see it coming any time soon, but hey! It’s a far cry from figgering that the road trip was going to end in death.
I am most grateful to all the friends that have voiced encouragement; who have sent good thoughts and prayers my way; who have offered support for what I’m going through; who have just simply kept in touch as Frank and I go on our journey. Larry, Eric, Donna, Jeanie, Andy, Terrie, the Friday and Saturday lunch groups in Dallas … these folks and many others have all helped my mental state immeasurably. Thanks to all of you. But I want to express a special “thank you” to Warren and Dinah for being there at the right time to offer words that I could finally hear. I’m looking forward to seeing you again in a couple of months.