“It is necessary to leave the impersonal highway, to step inside the rusty gate and close it behind. One is now inside the orange grove, out of one world and mysteriously in the heart of another. And after long years of spiritual homelessness, of nostalgia, here is that mystic loveliness of childhood again.” — Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (Cross Creek, 1942)
On a brief 24-hour visit in 2016, Capitol Reef National Park stole our hearts, and we are pumped to come back. This stay is an unexpected stop early in our trip and a re-route due to the wildfires, smoke, and haze in Colorado.
I’ll have bittersweet birthday in Durango. Perhaps a history hike can shake us out of our funk.
The photographer in me finds the charred remains of the burnt forest darkly beautiful. I quickly push that ugly thought from my mind and do not stop to take pictures of the scarred landscape. The sky is hazy. The west is burning. But in New Mexico’s Enchanted Circle we will find blue skies and a surprisingly sweet tourist town.