I drove out southwest of Santa Fe, hit true dirt roads, made a few wrong turns…
Tetilla Peak, this is what I was aiming for.
And this is what I found! I made a right (wrong) turn too soon and found myself in a “shooting range”! Luckily I was totally alone – and unarmed.
I was very tempted to take the old oil barrel with me, but I found quite a few other fun “souvenirs” which I will use for my Desert Fun sculpture.
I turned around and drove a few miles more until I entered land controlled by Santa Fe National Forrest.
I left my truck and hiked up the side of the hill. No trail. I found some footprints from hikers who had gone before me – and lots of horse tracks. Lots. (To my untrained tracker eyes it did not look like they had horseshoes…?) Views to the east, Texas way behind those mountains.
At the top! Stunning views in all directions. No wind. Silence! Solitude! Sandia Mountain and Albuquerque to the south.
Santa Fe behind me. I am standing at 7165 feet elevation (2184 m) which is almost exactly the elevation of Santa Fe (7260 ft). The tallest mountain in Sweden, Kebnekaise, is 2106 m ( 6909 ft) and I doubt any person could go there now – extremely cold, windy, snowy, dark and dangerous. I was certainly not cold, enjoyed my lunch and the views.
Suddenly I heard something! I knew I was alone, I could see my car at the foot of the mountain, no other car… I looked and looked. Then I heard it again – four horses! I started descending, trying to circumnavigate so I would have a chance of running into the horses, but they soon noticed me and started moving away.
As I came further down, I could not see the horses and I moved along as quietly as possible, carrots ready. Suddenly I came out between a few trees and saw this beautiful black stallion suspiciously eyeing me. I was able to quickly snap this poor picture before they ran away. I heard one horse much closer, hidden behind the trees to the right! I have to admit my heart was beating a bit faster for a moment! I wonder if they were wild horses? They were certainly not interested in me and my carrots.
Back at the car. Graffiti. For a few hours it felt like I was in the wilderness, but I guess that was just an illusion. I had a wonderful time, though! Totally alone for several hours and felt content and thankful! I had enough water, enough to eat, and a car that started and took me all the way home. Nothing to take for granted in the desert. And I had found some fun treasures for my art project…