Dear Dad, I’m sure it’s raining on the east side of the Pecos today. That’s good because I’m afraid the Calf Canyon/Hermit’s Peak fire has burned all the way west to Hamilton Mesa or at least to Iron Gate.
I guess it’s also burned over where we left your ashes with Pat’s near the Mora River. I won’t annoy you with any biblical stuff about ashes and dust. I’ll just remember how much you loved the Pecos and be thankful that it’s getting good rain for the first time since the whole fire mess got started on April 6. The combined fire is now New Mexico’s largest on record.
I guess I’d better mind my words, though, because now people around Las Vegas are understandably worried about flooding through the giant burn scar. For one thing, the Gallinas River, near where I remember visiting Jean and Swede Johnson in Montezuma when you taught at Highlands in the 1950s, is still a big Las Vegas water supply.
The rain started most places around Northern New Mexico on June 17. At least it will cool things off in the heart of the Pecos. There was another fire there last year in June — the Rincon Fire — that worried firefighters enough that they wrapped Beatty’s Cabin in that weird, fire resistant plastic stuff. This is all climate change, warming and aridification, Dad, all accelerated since you passed in 1995.
But on to happier things. Here you are with Pat and Mus sometime in the 1970s, walking down the Rito Valdez and drinking bourbon and rain water near Mora Flats. I think it was a trip with Gordon and Norma Peters and I’m sure Gordon took the picture. And there is good old Mus in the background. Pat is no doubt warming up her special backpacker’s green chile stew.
Thank you for the trips we took there together, and with Pat and Rob and Phelps. Spare me days, though, like the one in the 1960s, with Oliver McMillan, when we got caught in lightning on Trailriders Wall.
Cheers, Dad. Love, John. June 19, 2022.
See also ”Canyon Road, 1960.” https://dreamranch.blog/2015/03/12/canyon-road-1961-dreams-and-troubles/