Sunday, June 5, 2016


I’m not a religious person, but since I was headed into the Sangre de Cristo (Blood of Christ) Mountains, I figured I might as well keep with the theme and go to Holy Ghost Campground.

Highway 63 follows the Pecos River up toward its headwaters. At the village of Tererro one turns onto the road to Holy Ghost. It’s paved but mostly one lane, occasionally a lane and a quarter, with no real turnouts. The people who live along the road (if only seasonally) cope somehow. I had my fingers crossed, hoping I wouldn’t meet anyone coming the other way. Maybe I was supposed to be praying. But my heathen self arrived with no difficulty.

It’s a very pretty area. The white bark and light leaves of aspens contrast against dark pines. There are some grassy slopes and wildflowers. And a stream, of course. It’s the mountains, baby.

Earlier, as I driving past Santa Fe and could see the Sangre de Cristos ahead, the sky was clear. What a beautiful morning. It surprises me how quickly clouds can form, even though I’ve witnessed it many times. Air conditions change just a little and, whoosh, clouds. Thunderheads. I had checked the forecast and knew it was coming. I’d hoped the forecast was wrong. No.

Holy Ghost Creek

The sky opened at about noon. The good thing about thunderstorms is that they don’t last all day or all week like some storm fronts. They dump and run. Fifteen minutes, tops. But this cloudburst went on for three hours. And included hail. I curled up in bed, nice and dry. I felt sorry for the tent campers, though. They could huddle in their cars, but chances were they had water running through their tents and everything in them. A baptism perhaps? At any rate, I wasn’t struck by lightning for being a faithless, and occasionally blasphemous, sinner.

The rain eventually stopped and a patch of sky cleared. (Is that the face of God up there, or just the sun?) I opened up the Rolling Steel Tent to let in some fresh air. But that was brief. The gray world returned with sporadic sprinklings. (Perhaps the Almighty wasn’t through with me yet.)

The clouds cleared off during the night, but the process will repeat today. I’m okay with that. My mind has adjusted to the situation. Rain is good, especially in the parched Southwest.

Epiphytes = not a desert


  1. You are very near the Pecos Wilderness and some mining remnants if you watch for them. At least a few years ago, pieces of some large sluice works still hung from cliffs along parts of the river. There is a trail to Cave Creek Cave. I used this area as the main location for my first novel.

  2. Beautiful scenery, love all the pictures.

  3. I truly like your van it looks like is the right manageable size, not too big, not too small, a friend of mine has a Chevrolet a bit larger, but he's not very happy with its gas milage its 11 MPG-as per his statement. Be curious, what the MPG of yours ?

    1. It's a standard length Chevy van with a 4.8L engine. I average about 16mpg.

    2. Thanks for the info. that's not @bad gas milage compared to my friend's van.

  4. I really enjoyed this post. Thanks Al!