nambe lake and ranger/volunteer stories

Since I start my work week again on Sundays, the weekend is over. With that in mind, it was a nice weekend. Bryan had to work every day but Thursday, but Friday and Saturday he worked the late shifts, so we still had time to spend together.

Thursday after class, we had a fire and grilled out with friends up at the yurt forest. Rain moved in just as we were putting food on the grill, but it didn’t last long and we had a great time. It was nice to finally have some company up there and we always love showing off the park and canyon to others!DSC_0028

Jen had planned to camp with us because we planned to go on a big hike together on Friday. When the rain came in, we decided to just meet in the morning. We struggled to decide between hiking to the top of Big Tesuque (where Bryan saw big horn sheep last time) or hiking to Nambe Lake. We chose Nambe Lake and were a little nervous about the strenuous hike ahead. We hit the Winsor Trail which is the same route we took with Keith when we hiked Baldy. When we took a fork in the road toward Nambe Lake, it followed a small river (I’d call it a creek) all the way up to the lake, so the dogs had plenty of water opportunities. It is very steep in the last couple miles before the lake, but we did great! As we got farther from the trailhead, we saw fewer people, but there were a lot of people and happy dogs out, given that it’s 4th of July weekend. We even saw a couple with a very hyper puppy and two horses who were headed up to camp for the night. The dogs handled the horses with aplomb. I was impressed.






The lake was beautiful. It is the closest alpine lake to Santa Fe. It is small, but on each side the mountains rise up beside it. It was lovely. A bit of rain came up just as we arrived, so we decided against swimming, not to mention the air temps had dropped quite a bit as we rose in elevation. The lake sits at ~11,500 feet, so that makes sense. In addition to the beautiful lake, the changing ecosystems along the trail were incredible to observe. Coming around bends was exciting because in less than a mile you might go from tall, greenish Aspen forests to mossy hillsides, to lush wildflowers and vegetation lining the creek, to impossibly tall rock faces. On the way up we passed right by a vista of Baldy without even realizing it. When we were coming back down, though, it couldn’t be missed. It was hard to believe from the vista’s elevation that I had really hiked to the top of it! I’d like to get up that way again this year, but instead of summiting Baldy, I want to head to Lake Katherine. Jen and I had a great time gabbing the whole way (besides when we were breathing too hard to do so) about teaching, our families, NYC, the UP, Duluth, and LA living. It was lovely to get to spend some time in the woods together!






Santa Fe Baldy!

Santa Fe Baldy!



DSC_0070After the hike, we were pooped, but I had to do my volunteer rounds. I basically get my stellar New Mexico State Parks Volunteer Staff garb on (VISOR hat and truly awful tan vest), grab my clipboard with spreadsheet, and go check people’s permits. I write down license plate numbers, permit numbers (for people who have actually got them), and the site they are on. That way the rangers know the campers have been told once about the permits (in addition to the five signs/pay stations they have already passed) and they have info in order to send them bills later if they turn in an empty envelope. Since the rangers don’t often have time to do this stuff, some of the regulars are unused to being checked. I have exactly no doubt that many people are used to not paying for camping at all up there. Nonetheless, I had some interesting experiences on just my first round.

1. An elderly woman invited me in for coffee and told me she was just doing some writing.

2. A family tried to put out a fake permit. Except it was a. not for Hyde State Park and b. not even filled out or paid for anyway. When I pointed out that said permit was not for this state park, the woman got sassy and said, “Well, I got it from the pay station,” which is obviously false. After again pointing out that regardless of where she got it, it was not a permit for this locale, she said, “Well, do you want me to get my other one?” Duh. So she quickly filled it out while I stood around.

3. Another group “hadn’t got their permit yet because they didn’t have change for a twenty.”

4. Another man, whom I am sure is harmless, has a pretty sketchy set up, including camo cloth that he covers his van, shelter, and trailer with. He told me way too much information when I asked about his permits and then led me to his other trailer which he said was a refrigeration trailer. I decided to back on out of there in case he wanted to freeze me in there or turn me into a lamp. I’m sure he’s harmless and just having a rough go of it, but nonetheless, I got out of there.

Bryan’s work has been going well! He likes it, though it is frustrating dealing with some people. Last week he inadvertently got four of the prison workers fired from their crew at the park. Their guard that brings them to the park to work is young and doesn’t do a great job leading them. This led to them stealing Bryan’s tacos out of the break room. Not cool. Other issues had arisen over the course of the summer, so Marcos (head honcho ranger, under superintendent Kelly; has been at the park for twenty some years; is nearly singlehandedly responsible for all the amazing sites, shelters, and general infrastructure of the park; is also leaving the park in a week or so :-( ; has a hot temper and is hilarious) got their asses fired. Some of the very best stories of the summer are liable to come from Marcos and Kelly and their responses to visitors, the other rangers, and life in general. I kind of wish I got to hang out with them all day. On the slow night shift, Bryan has been working on organizing the shop (all the tools, supplies, heavy duty equipment, etc.) since it’s a hot mess in there. He definitely loves feeling like he is helping out the park. He said last night’s shift was boring, but he comes home with a plethora of funny, crazy, sometimes sad stories to tell, so it can’t be that boring!

Bryan's uniform stylings. Option one, button up shirt, two sizes too large (he looks like a little kid). Option two, t-shirt. He actually has two hates as well, but was unwilling to make any other changes for modeling purposes.

Bryan’s uniform stylings. Option one, button up shirt, two sizes too large (he looks like a little kid). Option two, t-shirt. He actually has two hats as well, but was unwilling to make any other changes for modeling purposes.

Jen and I also decided, even after the long hike, my hot campground rounds, a beer, and some black bean chili, to head into town and meet the Bread Loaf crew to hike up Monte Sol (behind campus) to watch the fireworks. Once we started walking up the hill, I realize just how damn tired I was. The fireworks were fine, but I for one, was too tired to even really socialize with others.

Yesterday Bryan worked 2-10 again. I managed to hike the steep Hyde Loop with Bry and the pups, practiced my big water rights presentation for Tuesday, reread some Sherman Alexie for class this week, and then read some Pam Houston for fun! Then I headed in to town and had girls’ dinner at Jen and Jess. It was lovely. Like I said, a pretty damn nice weekend.

Also, ten days to Katelynn Bell’s arrival in Santa Fe. CANNOT WAIT. Now if we could only teleport Keith (from Copenhagen? the Santiago?) and Kate and Josh (from Vermont)…

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