Monday, March 22, 2010

A Walk About in No Man's Land

I went down south of Alamosa and met up with my ol' friend Don Richmond in the old town of San Luis. We proceeded on many back roads to the vicinity of the large round mound now known as Ute Mountain.

I wanted to take Donnie to some petroglyphs that were near this mountain. We followed a now dry creek bed and shortly after where this ancient stream started to cut into the volcanic bedrock to form a gorge that leads to the Rio Grande there is a special sunny spot facing south where people have lingered for many generations.

On the south facing cliffs etched into the dark and burnished rock faces of basalt are numerous drawings pecked and scraped into the surface. These were laid down in ancient history by artists that we can only speculate as to their clan and circumstance.

There are several styles of petroglyphs here; some abstract, curvilinear with oval shapes and interconnected rounded forms. In one alcove there are three prominent human like figures. One of them is a distinctive representation of a man who appears to have only one arm.

It seems that both Don and I had a long winter because with the pleasant weather, the abundant sunshine and the peculiar quiet of the outback we became suddenly inert. We hesitated after a quick site-see and leaned up against the rock faces soaking up the sun like cold-blooded lizards.

As we drank in the atmosphere of where we were in a shallow gorge, far away from people and their trappings, we sampled various spots along the cliff face and whether it imagined or not became recharged and revitalized by the energy we seemed to pick up there. Some spots seemed to warm our hearts while Donnie commented on another spot where he felt he had grown roots into the depths of the earth below us.

We then headed down the canyon after lounging for a long time. The side walls became steeper and steeper very rapidly. We were probably at least a couple of miles away from the deeper gorge on the main Rio Grande channel.

We soon turned around and climbed back out on top to witness the open spaces the huge sky and the horizons filled with the round volcanoes and distant jagged snow covered peaks that are the hallmark of what Don calls No Man's Land. This is indeed exactly the sort of field trip I love to take. Breathtaking vistas, weird rocks, a strong presence of Indian heritage and a good companion.

Another great way to be paid to wander.

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