Change is good. It gives you the chance to discover new things and new people. I think it keeps you young. And so, after twenty-five years of living in Texas, my husband and I decamped, said a tearful goodbye to wonderful friends, and moved next door to New Mexico.
I soon found that living here was changing me. I am more in touch with nature than I’ve ever been before. I always know what phase the moon is in. I notice as the sun’s arc changes from summer to winter. I know to expect the summer monsoon rains to start when the first rufous hummingbirds arrive. I recognize bear tracks when I see them. I know that after a summer rain the air smells like tarragon. With four distinct seasons, a glorious climate, bright blue skies and clear nights, you just want to be outside.
Things I now do that I rarely did before moving to New Mexico (or didn’t do at all): downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, gardening, whitewater rafting, and hiking.
This blog, though I’ve taken my time in getting to the point, is about the hiking—particularly about my women’s hiking group, tentatively (and quite appropriately) named the Walkie-Talkies. We started with a small group of friends who wanted to hike on a regular basis. Friends of friends were added, some left, new people joined, and in time we built a core group of about eight women, enough to have a few in town and eager to hike every week.
We go out every Wednesday morning, summer and winter, sometimes for a couple of hours, sometimes all day. We climb up into the piñon-clad mountains, go out in the desert where there are petroglyphs, walk along rivers and through meadows. We have gear—have we got gear!—from ice cleats, snowshoes, and gaiters to poles (collapsible, good for travel), backpacks, camelbacks, and first-aid packs. We, the Walkie-Talkies, are prepared!
Somehow, in the process of enjoying nature and getting fit, we’ve turned into a group of friends who support, inform, and inspire each other. Let me say this unequivocally: these women are fabulous. They are bright, interesting, caring, accomplished, beautiful, and generous. It’s not overstating to say that they’ve changed my life.