This was my birthday trip. I thought of it a long time ago, taking the back roads in southern Colorado through some of the emptiest territory I’ve ever seen to an old trestle bridge over the Rio Grande and beyond, ending up at a brew pub in Alamosa before driving home via Antonito, San Antonio Mountain, and Tres Piedras. We took all day to go about 240 miles, and every one of them was stunning. On the way home we saw a llama stampede.
Much of this was on gravel roads. In this region we were all alone. I mean all alone. Being in such places energizes me. I feel like an explorer. If I had all the money in the world, this is still exactly what I’d want to do: seek out special places where I’ve never been as if I were the only member of my tribe to ever go there. What could possibly be better? The beauty on the route we took would sear you. The quality of the light and air. The clouds! The dark emotions radiating from dead homesteads. I got lost but knew the Rio Grande was “over there,” and that is all you need.