I've just spent 10 fun days celebrating my birthday with visiting family. We filled the days with a variety of excursions including raspberry picking at La Cueva, near Mora and attending a wonderful Jesse Cook concert in Albuquerque. We drove the gorgeous mountain scenery around Rociada and sat listening to musicians on the plaza at Santa Fe on a beautiful fall day with golden trees shimmering around us.... we also enjoyed yummy hor d'oeuvres and cocktails with old friends at the Santacafe (which plays an important role in my book "Into the Shadowlands."). On another occasion we took a side trip to Trinidad, Colorado. Trinidad is also mentioned in my book because it was a major stop along the Santa Fe Trail. One of Trinidad's famous citizens was an artist called Arthur Roy Mitchell who painted evocative scenes from the old West. Here is me standing in the A R Mitchell museum in Trinidad with just a few of his paintings and an Oxbow yoke used by freighters crossing the trail. Years ago I bought the book "Mitch" by Dean Krakel, a fascinating biography, filled with wonderful pictures (photos and paintings) about the artist. This quote of Mitch's words struck a very deep chord (those who know my books can guess why!):"This region, this mountain, these pinon dotted hills, are the scene of my oldest memories. Sometimes I think they have come to mean even more to me as the years add up. Maybe what I feel now is nostalgia for these other days and ways in which many of these adventurous, characterful people came back to this spot to make their home, freighters, trappers, traders, men and women of colorful pasts. It was my good fortune, so I consider, to be born in this locality prior to 1890, and to have walked around among them when I was young and they were old. I was on good terms with many of them. They were the people I most admired. The men I liked to listen to were these people of the horseback or buckskin tradition. My keenest regret was always that I was born too late. It was my own good fortune to have moved among them in other ways, often my own leg over a horse, beside them, never dreaming at that time of the day when such a privilege would be gone forever."
If you are ever in Trinidad I highly recommend you visit the A R Mitchell Museum!