NNML – Pt 5 – The Pilgrimage Ends

My last week on my pilgrimage through New Mexico confirmed the hunch of my timing.

Meaning, I hoped for overcast skies (and perhaps some rain) for the lower and hotter sections at the start of my walk. But I was anticipating the beginning of fall in the high country by the time I made it to the Lair Peaks, Wheeler, and the always stunning Pecos Wilderness.

And my hunch? It paid off in spades.

 

I knew the Pecos and nearby areas would be a highlight of my trip. Ever since I first visited this area nearly a decade ago, the Pecos always ends up being a place I always enjoy.  What’s not to like? The ridgeline walks are among my favorites, the big horns delight, and I can peer into nearby Colorado, knowing how much busier that area is  compared to New Mexico.

With the nearby ski areas, this area ended up being busier than other places on my route. That’s not to say the Pecos ended up being BUSY. Just busier. Again, compared to Colorado, the area is more mellow overall. And why I continue to come back over the years.

The lakes, the views, and the warm glow of the New Mexico sunsets dare I say, enchanted me yet again?

I’ve never seen the Pecos in the summer (if with a touch of fall at night), and the mountains and lakes take on a different appearance without a covering of late spring snow.

And, of course, New Mexico’s green chile based cuisine always satisfies, too!

But all journeys end, including this one.

Amazingly, I walked from the Pecos to almost to downtown Santa Fe via single track trails. From wilderness lands to USFS lands, to an extensive local trail system, my feet did not touch pavement until perhaps the last two miles or so of the journey.

I ended where it all started: On the steps of the St. Francis Basilica in Santa Fe.

On the cusp of Labor Day Weekend, the plaza already seemed busy even in the late morning.

I just sat on the steps of the cathedral and contemplated the journey I walked.

The love for what locals call “The Land of Entrapment” only grew during my 500-mile walkabout in New Mexico. I know my life will take me here in the future.

But I also realized that perhaps I finally found a balance I’ve been seeking for years. And I found contentment, too.

My Utah walk two years ago proved to be a catalyst for a much different life than my IT career and relationship I had just prior to that time. My AT thru-hike similar defined my life. A life into pre- and post-Colorado. Before the AT, leaving Rhode Island would not occur to me.  After the  AT? I had to go.

The New Mexico walk? A more subtle experience. More of a confirmation that the new outdoor focused life, and with a partner who feels similar, is the right path for me. Nothing life-changing, but rather life confirming.

And after the wool-gathering? I again enjoyed some green chile culinary delights. And perhaps a local brew or two.

Sorry. My hiker hunger overrode any picture taking of food. Picture some delicious sopapillas, fresh honey, delightful and crisp beer. And green chiles; of course.

And though I am happy with the life I lead in Moab, the food (and beer) will never be reasons for my happiness here. 🙂

So long “Land of Enchantment”, I’ll be back.

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2 Replies to “NNML – Pt 5 – The Pilgrimage Ends”

  1. So glad you enjoyed your walk. I visit the Pecos with my family (from Dallas) just as often as we can. Yearly, or more often

  2. The only thing not to like about the Pecos are some of the lower trails in the rainy season. As the area is open to some historic grazing rights some trails become a real mud bog. Ive cursed many a cow on those trips.

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