Day 17. On the road to Durango
I left Del Norte both sad and excited. Sad because I had a softness in my heart for the spot. It was my first spot and I felt like it had taken care of me but I was eager for the drive and to see new things.
It was a partly cloudy day and that was so much better than my drive to Del Norte. I passed through mountain passes and tunnels. The views were amazing: open stretches of meadow land ridged with snow-capped mountains, ponds, waterfalls, rock walls, tall, skinny pines. My kids make fun of me because when I become overwhelmed with beauty like this, I cry - even when I tell myself I won't. It happened many times yesterday. I tried to figure out what would cause this - what is the feeling EXACTLY? It could only come up with two things: an utter feeling of nourishment of the soul - like your soul is being fed deep down, and relief - like their is this recognition that you've been starving for just this kind of nourishment and there is an almost sadness that you've been living your life without it.
I'm finding that I started this thinking that I was merely going to be working from the road but it's unveiling itself as so much more than that. I can't even tell you what all that means because I'm just seeing pieces at a time.
Just outside of Pagosa Springs, I started bawling. I tried to pinpoint the source of the emotions. It was almost like being awaken - the red pill from the Matrix - like being faced with a reality you could have but weren't choosing.....but also an awakening from almost a year of numbness and sameness from Covid - being in the same place all the time. Just the visceral difference of seeing vast, declarative beauty. So, I drove and had myself a good cry and didn't spend a ton of time trying to diagnose the cause. I eventually decided to change up the mood so I played Obama's book. There something about listening to his voice while driving the country that feels aligned. (For anyone that knows me well, I call this employing the anti-lock brakes theory - that when dealing with emotional situations, press and release, think about them and then take a brake, repeat).
As I neared Durago, two mountain ridges appeared in the distance, one snow capped and the other barren, in contrast to each other. They were beautiful with the sun shining on them.
I saw a huge flag on a distant summit and I started wondering how it's come to be that my initial reaction to the flag is negative. The more flags in a town, the more I don't feel welcomed in it. I feel like it's not my people. As this flag say in the distance, Obama spoke about visiting injured soldiers at Walter Reed and how he was criticized for doing this often because people felt like it would make him soft when it came to making war decisions. He spoke of the service members with such reverence and respect. I wondered why I don't think of them first when I see the flag. Or why don't I think about freedom. I think it started in my childhood. I was on the side of those hippies that were anti the Vietnam was and I saw nothing wrong with burning the flag in protest. It was a representation of our government and it's choices and I don't believe in giving reverence to things just because you should. And now, the flag represents Trump, greed, disregard, hate. I think of our government as representing the systems of racism that have built and sustain this country. Those are my immediate thoughts. What it's provided to me as an upper middle-class white woman is less important. It's not what needs to be focused on. It is the privilege that I have been afforded. Where we need to focus is where there isn't privilege.
I encountered another flag - this one was being flown upside down. I have never seen that before. I first thought that maybe it was a declaration of disdain for the US because I was on reservation land but then I noticed the Trump Pence sign in the yard........
I stopped to get gas in a small town call Mancos and noticed that there was a geocache near so I took a short walk to find it. Easy find. And I got to stick my nose deep into a lilac bush!
I intended to make it to Arches National Park but didn't get there. I stopped at Mesa Verde National Park. It's stunning. They require you to drop off trailers in a lot near the entrance so I parked my camper and started the 45 min drive to the top of the mountain. There were views of four states, gorgeous angular buttes, plateaus, red rock, and the cliff dwellings we just amazing. It's hard to believe that they used toe and finger holds to crawl into their houses. I'm glad I didn't skip this park.
I had some issues getting my hitch latched when I left - had to try some shenanigans - I'm learning all about distribution of weight and exactly how equipment behaves. By the time I got all the resolved, I was tired and not wanting to drive for another couple of hours, find a spot, and set up camp. I was lucky that there was a Bureau of Land Management access road a few miles down the highway. I was scared about making that turn. I didn't know what I was getting myself into. I didn't practice reversing a lot before I left and the little that I did, I was not good. But I felt like "It's now or never" so I pulled down the dirt road. Every fairly flat area I encountered was already filled with campers of every ilk, tents, RVs, vans. I started wondering if I was going to be able to find a spot but eventually found one. It took some maneuvering but I made it into a spot. Getting out will be interesting. A man saw my Minnesota plate on the drive in and he stopped by and we had a nice chat. He's been on the road for 2 years, originally from South Africa, traveled Europe for a while. He offered to help me get leveled.
So, it's morning and the sky is blue and I think I'm going to pull my camper closer to the campgrounds I'll be staying this week, drop it off somewhere and head to Arches National Park but who knows....I may get distracted along the way.
South Fork - tiny town, with numerous places with adorable tiny cabins - great for a solo stay, girl's weekend, or a small family.
Pagosa Springs, a bustling colorful town full of shops, restaurants, everything you could ever need. I past the outside market and was very tempted to stop but I DON'T NEED ANYTHING!