My wife is a ski fanatic. She is an expert level skier – double black diamond runs are her thing. The more challenging the better.
She and I also love to explore back roads. I don’t mean just “get off the Interstate” back roads. I mean dirt roads, cow trails, and even places where there are not trails. To do that we have had a variety of vehicles – a couple of Jeep’s, dual sport motorcycles, mountain bikes, and even an Alaskan-style bush airplane.
In 2007 we combined our love of back roads exploring with her love of skiing by taking a ski trip to one of our favorite ski towns, Red River, New Mexico. We go there often both for skiing and motorcycle riding. On this particular trip we had our 2-door Jeep. In a hurry to start our ski trip, we drove straight through one day to Red River. The next day we spent on the slopes, basically me trying to keep up with Kay. I am fairly comfortable skiing and black runs don’t scare me, but Kay likes to zip down these runs at warp speed while I have to be a little more, shall we say, cautious.
The real story begins after we leave Red River and sort of head home – sort of, because we like to wander on the way home. We left Red River and went over to the Rio Grande River, then through Taos where we spent the night. Next morning we pointed east bright an early and kit the dirt roads.
As we left the mountains and cut across the high plains of eastern New Mexico, we encountered a lot of snow and dirt roads. Never one to stay on the paved trail, we cut across country, picking our way through roads and trails as best we could.
After 30 miles or so meandering through pastures, we came to a gate. It was either open the gate and go through, or turn around and backtrack 15 miles or so. Then the trail got smaller. And less traveled. And more gates.
As we wander further along these dirt roads, opening gates and following what amounts to cow trails, low and behold we run across our first sign of civilization in well over 50 miles – a REMAX sign!
Finally after about 6 hours and fifty miles of muddy dirt roads, barbed wire gates, and wayward REMAX sign, we come to a road. With a gate.
That is locked.
As Kay put it “What now Macgyver? Backtrack 50 miles and 6 hours?”
I jump out of the Jeep and scout around. I walk about 200 yards down the fence line and find another less obvious gate that was not on the main road, and it didn’t have a lock. We just cut down through a wash and out the unlocked gate. Viola!
We finally were back on a paved road and pointed the Jeep for home. Well, we still meandered home but stuck to paved roads this time. That was, until our next adventure.