Beauty can be found one hour away, take a bicycle

Clyde Davis: Local Columnist

I fully intended to take some art work down to Roswell, to the Eastern New Mexico State Fair. There was to be a sale and exhibit, with a modest entry fee, and it seemed very worthwhile. This wasn’t going to intrude, either, into the items I planned to enter in our own Pintores show. I had a totally separate body of work.

Then I did the math. Thirty dollars gas for a two way trip today, another thirty for a two way trip in a week and a half to pick up items that didn’t sell- there’s no guarantee all or any would sell, of course. Plus entrance fee, and wear and tear on the car. Car, in this case, refers to a Camry, by the way, so gas mileage is good. Then there is all the work I need to do here, which would still be waiting when I returned. The conclusion is that we are having to think twice- even three times- about any trip we plan to make.

All this brings me to a trip I took the other day, arranging a training ride which involved hauling the bicycle out to Ft. Sumner so I could ride to the lake. By contrast, this trip only totaled about seven dollars in gas mileage, and I discovered one of those hidden gems in our area.

I had been to Sumner Lake, but several years ago, like many local people, I was left with a bad impression when the lake was drained- I hadn’t been back since then. Why did I wait so long ? The lake is back, and better than ever.

I wish I could recreate for you what it is like when you go climbing up the hill, then swoop down a drop-off, onto the dam. This is a feeling that may only be possible on a bike; I’m sure you don’t get it in a car, though a runner might feel it. On one side is the Pecos, at the bottom of a steep hill; on the other side is Sumner Lake, much closer to you with a steep bank leading into it.

Beyond you, to both horizons actually, you see the mesas like multiple texture layers in a painting; perhaps that’s only true on hazy but clear days. [Yes, I know that’s an oxymoron but that’s exactly what kind of day it was.]

I wish, as well, that I could immerse you in what it feels like to plunge into the lake after you have just ridden seven miles up and down the rolling hills that lead into the valley. I didn’t intend to go swimming — the day wasn’t overly hot — but after the ride in, the still, deep water proved irresistible.

All the senses were involved in this experience — one that I use to illustrate how much there is close to home that can still give us a sense of adventure. I’ve recently had to make a couple of long trips for business, and see at least one more coming, so I am very aware of gas prices. The good news is, we don’t have to go to Taos, or Santa Fe, to find the beauty of an outdoor adventure. The gracious New Mexico autumn can be enjoyed within an hour’s drive. I recommend taking a bike, but you do it your way.

” Maybe this here outlaw business done got outta hand….” Waylon Jennings