Day 39: Los Indios Cañon


Beautiful sunset, beautiful sunrise. New Mexico’s puttin’ a little effort into the wooing now.

Thick clouds kept the morning cool for hours, and I listened to the cottony hum of non-thought as I watched the forest turn into a perfect tree bouquet. Gambel oak clusters, ponderosa pines, some kind of smaller pine that I didn’t think could be white bark. They were all so perfectly placed this morning. At one very enchanted spot the ground dropped 40 or more feet, as if into a lava tube opening, and was absolutely filled with bright green and white aspens. A few miles later Cañon del Dado opened in a similar manner, filled with pale purple wild irises in its shallow end.

I put on some podcasts, stories published by Outside Magazine, and before I knew it there was a sign pointing at the top of Los Indios Cañon, where we’d planned to spend a whole luxurious afternoon relaxing in the tent. “What do you think of just walking down the canyon?” I asked, “instead of the road?” “If you want to,” said Prana, with some skepticism. “I do!”

The canyon walls were blocky rock, swirls of black and maroon and orange and lime green, the floor plushly carpeted with pine needles and oak leaves, runs of wild irises in the crease of the drainage. It was slow going, much slower than the road, but so much lovelier. Within a half mile of the spring we dropped our packs, found a perfect little campsite up on a bench, and decided to just day hike for the water. It would only take a few minutes anyway, and would be that much faster without our packs, right?

A half hour later of weaving through downed timber and pushing through overgrown bushes, we found the spring. Filter, fill, filter, fill, we reversed the half mile maze juggling a gallon each. Once we had camp pitched and were relaxing in the shade, though, life was very, very good. We may as well have been on a deserted island- nothing but time, no one to interrupt. Nap, read, write, dinner. I love this little canyon. I could happily stay a week.

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