Mark and I departed Colorado early Saturday morning, working to keep our plans open to suit our evolving moods. We stopped in the little town of Pagosa Springs and hit golden small town bakery pay dirt! We scored a loaf of freshly baked rosemary bread, an incredible looking cheese and artichoke terrine topped with candied figs, a local goat cheese and a piece of peach and cherry pie with gorgeous crust. One stop picnic provisioning! It made me pine for Austin all the more.
As navigatrix, I requested that Mark be on the lookout for a nice place to stop for lunch - possibly down by the reservoir we'd be passing in a short while. I buried my nose in the map and didn't dislodged it until Mark made a quick turn onto a small park road he had seen at the last minute.
Man did he ever follow my instructions to the letter! Mark found what I think is probably the nicest rest stop I've ever been to! It was marked Echo Ampitheater on the map, and after we parked and started hiking down the shady path to the observation point, we soon understood why. The alcove space in the cliff face was absolutely enormous and streaked with all sorts of beautiful colors. Luckily, there were few other people about, so it was quiet and serene wandering along the excellent trail that led to the ampitheater. We returned to the picnic area and spread out our decadent and delicious lunch in one of the wonderful little shelters that were set in the trees in the shade of a stunningly beautiful sandstone cliff. It was so lovely there!
After lunch we decided we'd go ahead and drive straight through to Pecos, Texas. Mark and I took turns steering us along the road, traversing New Mexico from northwest to southeast on state highways that ran through little towns. We stopped in Roswell and had dinner at a great little place that Nate and I had visited previously and liked, and I had some delicious green chile stew. For dessert, because I remembered how good it had been the last time, I got a sopapilla - so hot and fresh I couldn't touch it for a good 2 minutes. Slathered with honey, it was beyond delicious.
We drove on to Pecos after dinner and found a hotel room that we quickly put to good use. When we rose Sunday morning, we dressed for a swim at San Solomon Springs in Balmorhea, but when we got within striking distance, it was far too cool outside for the spring water to sound appealing. But that was really just one more symptom of us being ultraready to be home.
Six and a half hours later, I was home and it felt really good.
So, just 2 days shy of 6 weeks,
and a whole lot of cool stuff later...
...I was finally home. Not a moment too soon and not a moment too late. What an extraordinary journey. [She smiled a smile of deep contentment.]