We spent a long Thanksgiving weekend in Moab with my best friend, Ellie, and Andrew’s dad and brother.
This is the first holiday in a long time that I haven’t returned feeling crummy - stuffed and lethargic from eating and sitting too much. We did our fair share of eating and indulging, but days spent hiking in the red rocks and climbing up and down slickrock rejuvenated me in a way that I haven’t felt for a long time. We also laughed so hard and danced so much.
Our Thanksgiving dinner was a huge success. The food was fabulous, and among the new recipes I made this year, the biggest hits were a chocolate tart with a gingersnap crust, a fig and gorgonzola terrine with olive oil crackers, the Parker House rolls and herb and cheese poppers, and the mango chutney. I’ll post recipes later this week once I’ve regrouped and settled into December.
I’ve mentioned before - Southern Utah is my favorite. It makes my heart sing and my body feel good. It’s the most beautiful place I’ve ever been, and despite all the tourists who visit, you can really get away from most of them and feel alone in the desert. It’s an our people place with a little bit of Mesa spirit thrown in, although being in Utah means things are much more orderly and clean cut!
Visiting Moab in the winter was different than my other trips. The desert has a different smell this time of year. The ground was moist from the snow and the slick rock was sandy and slippery. My clothes and shoes got plenty dirty hiking, but I missed the red sand on my feet and legs. It feels so good to feel the dirty, red grit of Southern Utah on my skin. I love it.
We usually hike on the BLM land since dogs aren’t allowed on the trails in the Parks, but we left the dog girls at home and focused on hiking in National Parks. We did some new trails and some old ones, ate leftover turkey sandwiches with brie and mango chutney (homemade this year, of course) and took lots of photos. Andrew isn’t really a photo shoot kind of guy, but luckily my brother in law and Ellie love the photo shoot just as much as me!
During our long hikes, we caught up, told stories, pondered our spirit animals and spirit divas (prairie dog and Katy Perry for me; desert tortoise and the Swedish Chef from the Muppets for Andrew; river otter and Shakira for my brother-in-law…).
Andrew grew up in Salt Lake and spent his childhood coming to Moab for vacations and birthday trips. It has, of course, changed quite a bit in the last 30 years, and campsites and hikes that were once special secrets now require permits and planning ahead. I think it is a little bittersweet to come back to a place you knew as a child and see that it has changed so much, but nonetheless, I think everyone had a fabulous time.
We left Moab Sunday afternoon with plans to return ASAP as soon as ski season is over. We headed over through Colorado down into New Mexico. We crossed over the Brazos in the fog and headed south to Taos where we had clear skies and sun for the first time in a week. I had missed our big open sunny skies that I’ve come to count on in New Mexico. I’ve been thinking about leaving New Mexico lately. Dreaming big about moving abroad or to the sea, and as we drove south from Tres Piedras toward Taos with the Sangre de Cristos flanking the landscape and the red sky from the setting sun and Three Peaks coming into view, I just couldn’t possibly imagine us making a real home anywhere else. This landscape feels so much a part of me and us and our family. I love the red rocks, but once I saw the scraggly sage brush and P & J and crooked fence lines and broken down old trucks, I was happy to be home.
Despite my worrying about the cabin ever since the incident, the house was fine. We looked for bobcat tracks and trudged through the snow on the Good Morning World Walk and admired the clear skies and bright stars. As I sat by the fire, I fantasized about being able to spend a year at the cabin. Some dreams never die... Some day.
For now, here are some scenes from Thanksgiving 2013: