Yoga Gift on the Mountain
I can hear the rain tapping the canopy above me that is stretched from the top of the car connected with 4 bungee cords to two 70-foot pine trees in front of me. The sound of wildlife scurrying though the forest leaves with birds singing in the woods bring me to a peaceful and serene place to reflect and write today. As I was driving today I stumbled upon this secret little campground at the top of the Santa Fe National Forest. I drove one pass around the campground and knew this was the perfect place for me to set up a spot for the day and evening. There are limited facilities and no electric hook ups, however the magnificent views and peaceful surroundings make up for the other creature comforts of a full hook up campground.
I continue to be amazed at the incredible experiences I have encountered at the Starbucks around the country. Last night while I was nestled in a corner table at an outdoor Starbucks café in Santa Fe, I watched many late night coffee drinkers come by with friends for some evening brew. A lady with a good looking Husky/German Shepard mix walked up to the outdoor counter and ordered a coffee and I watched her settle into what looked like a regular routine. The Starbucks was located right in the heart of Santa Fe by the railroad tracks. The Starbucks had no indoor seating and actually had outdoor restrooms with locking keypads. This was intriguing, as I have never seen a Starbucks setup like this before. Nevertheless, I loved the cozy outdoor heaters, wood grained rustic theme, and comfortable wicker outdoor chairs. This SB was a super high traffic drive thru area in what appeared to be a safe hangout area for homeless people and perhaps people like me? I was still considering my night parking situation and was going to ask the barista for a safe suggestion. I decided to I finally brake the ice with the lady in the corner with the dog and asked, “hey are you from this area?” She replied, “well I live her now, but I am originally from the LA area.”
We began a conversation about my trip as she asked me if I
drove the Outback with the kayak on top. I told her about my trip and how I was making my way to the west coast and would meet up with some friends along the way and end up in the Venice area about the 22nd of the month. She introduced herself to me and told me how she loved kayaking too and had done a lot of kayaking in the Channel Island area. Lisa handed me her business card, and said, “Deb, I would love to follow your travel blog.” As I read her business card I noticed she was an Entertainment Attorney and I started to wonder what in the world does an Entertainment Attorney do? We chatted for another few minutes before I asked the critical original question that I approached her about in the first place. “Lisa I am on the teacher budget plan and I am camping in my car tonight. Could you recommend a safe place around here where no one would bother me?” She said, “well yes of course, but I did not tell you this. There is a swanky nice hotel around the corner and you will be safe to just pull in there tonight.” We said our good by and I headed over towards the Santa Fe Inn, which was about a mile away. As I pulled into the parking lot I knew exactly why Lisa had recommended this place. I slipped the Outback right into an open space between a BMW and another Outback from Colorado. It was around 11pm when I crawled into my little nest and slept like a baby till around 6:30am. I decided to slide out quickly in the morning, as not to alert the hotel staff that I had just crashed in their very upscale Santa Fe Hotel parking lot for the night. I figured I would grab a nice coffee back at the Starbucks around the corner before heading up to the mountain for my 9:30am yoga class. The Starbucks was bustling for 7am on a Saturday morning as tons of people were already up and out to art museums, the farmers market, multiple corner vendors, and there were oodles of cyclist out for morning rides. I took advantage of a clean bathroom, freshened up for the morning, and plopped down for some free WIFI and an electric plug in. I quickly noticed when I came out of the bathroom my car with the kayak, bike, and Arkansas tags had attracted the attention of several locals. Much of the morning was spent writing and chatting with some amazingly cool people. The first guy who approached me with questions about the kayak was very curious as to where I was going. His name was Mike and he was a corporate pilot out of Long Island who flies a GulfStream, which is a very nice jet. Now of course the minute he mentioned he was a pilot my ears perked up and I wanted to know what he was flying. Mike explained that he had a couple of days to spend in Santa Fe area, as I am sure he flew in some high rollers for the weekend. He too was at Starbucks this morning getting information from the locals about interesting venues to check out in the area. The second amazing guy that I met this morning at Starbucks was named Thomas. From the moment I met Thomas I knew this guy had a deep, soulful story of life, many hard times, heart aches, trials, yet he emitted a strong gentle kind spirit of love, compassion, and zest for life. When I first spotted Thomas he had a bundle of fresh carrots he was snacking on, which had probably just come out of the ground. Thomas walked over to me and snapped off two beautiful carrots and offered them to me. I said, “Hey thanks a million those carrots look delicious.” I enjoyed the sweet summer carrots with my Pike, heavy cream, and 2 Stevie’s, while I continued to write in my blog. While I edited some grammar, I curiously listened to multiple conversations at the outdoor café. I overhead Thomas’s enthusiasm telling a friend on the phone how he had just landed this incredible rental up in the mountains and would finally be able to get out of the shelter. I could feel the passion in Thomas’s voice on his phone, as he beamed with excitement. He was telling his friend how he needed a pickup for the day to move his things. He was super excited with great deal he had scored as the rent was cheap and the views where spectacular. Thomas had mentioned to me in our earlier conversation that he had recently been working for a farmer, did a lot of white water rafting, and had even worked as a chef in the Portland, OR. He was an exceptionally interesting guy who I could have spent several more hours chatting about his life and the journey we are all on. I identified with Thomas’s story as we all have rich lives sometimes filled with sadness, setbacks, and heartbreaks, yet we strive to redefine a new life to be lived in the fullest. Thomas was very interested in following my blog, so I gave him my website. He was going to share it with a girlfriend he knew who would appreciate my solo trek living by the seat of my pants for a month. Before leaving Starbucks I asked Thomas for some general directions to get back to the Sierra Del Norte Trailhead where my yoga class was starting at 0930. I pulled out of Starbucks today blessed by two enlightening encounters with another 2 fascinating people out here in the world.
The Sierra Del Norte Trailhead yoga event was located up the Santa Fe National Mountain about 7 miles from downtown. The Santa Fe Community Government sponsored this event as a part of their National Trail Days celebration. The drive up the mountain was absolutely breath taking as the sun was out with a few wispy clouds. As I pulled into the parking lot I spotted a lady driving a Santa Fe County pickup truck. I pulled out my outdoor yoga mat and tied it on the back of my new city slicker sweet daypack. The lady in the truck spotted me coming and introduced herself as Carol. We chatted for a few minutes until another lady pulled up and she said, “there is Adrienne our yoga instructor.” A slender athletic very attractive woman walked over towards us and started chatting with Carol. I immediately felt she had a very positive energy about herself, as I sensed she was in a positive space in her life as super cool yogis. Carol, Adrienne and I walked over towards a space in the gravel parking lot with a row of wild flowers encircling a fence area in the corner. Adrienne’s super sweet son Raven accompanied her this morning and we struck up a conversation about his new skateboard and how I loved skating too. Another lady drove up with her son and joined us for the outdoor mountain yoga class. I asked Raven, “hey would you shoot some pictures of your mom and our yoga class in the mountains this morning?” He immediately said, “sure that would be cool.” Carol also had Raven take pictures on her cell phone for the Santa Fe website. Kids just amaze me as he is starting 4th grade next year and walked around with both our phones at the same time taking pictures and shooting some really cool videos. The mountain yoga class with Adrienne was excellent. Adrienne mentioned to me that she had just finished her 500-hour instructor class, in addition to passing her personal trainer certification yesterday. She really knew her stuff and I truly enjoyed the practice as she had extensive knowledge of the anatomy, muscles, benefits of cross lateral brain training, and she had a beautiful calm tender approach to the practice of yoga. There were a few moments during the class that I opened my eyes to look at the mountains and thought to myself, “Deb, be present in this moment and soak up this entire experience in your heart and allow it to fill your soul.” I walked into the morning with no expectations, yet walked away with a more grateful full heart.
When I left the Sierra Del Norte trailhead I knew that if I turned right it would take me back to downtown Santa Fe, however
I turned left out of the parking lot and headed further up into the mountains to explore. What happened next was an incredible two-hour drive of breathtaking views up the Santa Fe National Forest to a magnificent mountain top snow ski resort. As I drove up the mountain pass I rolled down all the windows in the car and played all my favorite Karen Carpenter, Anne Murray, and Barry Manilow songs. This experience for me today serves as a perfect illustration of why I am here resetting my inner soul with peace, quiet, joyful freedom, celebration of people, and adventure with no expectations.
While I resume sitting here in my camp chair and reflecting upon the day the rain has come and gone 3 times, the sun is back out, and the stunning night is approaching within the next hour. I have a nice bottle of wine that is chilled from Dena, a blanket around my legs, a citronella candle burning, and two fire logs ready to start up in about an hour. I can faintly hear the chatter of families preparing to cook dinner with their children and the laughter of people behind me playing ball with their lab. Between the trees I can see 2 young boys who have been playing baseball with each other for the past 3 hours. In this moment there is no place that I would rather be, as I am completely content to just sit here quietly by myself, allowing my heart to settle, and just breathe the fresh chilly air rolling through the NM Mountains. Tomorrow I will pack up the Outback and head west toward Page, AZ and Lake Powell for my long awaited kayak adventure to the National Arch.
May the journey begin within you.