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Mount Taylor

[ The view up a steep slope. There are a few evergreens in the background, but most of the trees are leafless aspens, with tall, straight white trunks. ]

Last Friday, in a fit of being entirely incapable of dealing with the world, I stuffed the boys in the van & drove up Mount Taylor.

That’s the white people name — to the Diné it’s Tsoodzil, Blue Bead or Turquoise Mountain, the southern boundary of the Diné homeland, one of the four sacred mountains.

The road is terrible, but it goes by a lot of aspens, which is nice — I’m used to seeing those in Colorado, not here! The boys were NOT pleased about the rough ride & frankly neither was I; if I’d been up there before I probably would’ve turned around, but the lure of going somewhere entirely new is strong & I persevered despite the shouting coming from the back of the van.

The road doesn’t go all the way to the top, & it was far too late in the day to try for it on foot, so we went up to a secondary peak which has a lookout tower & a whole lot of radio antennae & stuff.

[ A pretty classic two-story lookout tower, with antennae on the roof. The stairs to the second level are closed off at the top, & razor wire has been run along the railing above so people can’t climb up that way. ]

… okay, a closed lookout tower. Firmly closed. With razor wire. Loiosh was pretty upset that he couldn’t go any higher.

[ Loiosh, an orange tabby wearing a green harness, is standing on one of the top steps of the open staircase, staring glumly at where it’s blocked off above him. ]

Tom wandered over to look out over the expanse of land below. It was pretty windy & frankly I’m surprised the boys followed me up the path instead of ducking back into the van — do you see where the tip of one of Tom’s ears is bent? That’s the WIND.

[ Major Tom, a large grey tabby wearing a black harness, sits on the edge of the paved area next to the lookout tower. He’s looking up at the deep blue sky, & the tip of his right ear is bent back by the wind. ]

That VIEW, though. That’s the actual peak, & below it the last bit of the road up. For a pretty liberal definition of ‘road’.

[ The view across a bit of valley, with a rough dirt road winding down through it, to the peak across the way; it’s thickly forested & higher than where the camera is. ]

They wandered around on the rocks for a little bit before we headed back down. We weren’t quite at Alpine Visitor Center altitudes, but we weren’t far off! (Alpine, in Rocky Mountain National Park, is 11,796; La Mosca, where we were, is 11,036.)

[ Loiosh is stepping off the paved area onto the rocky ground beyond it. Above him is a weathered sign, with parts missing, that says ‘La Mosca Look Out, elevation 11,036’. ]

Tom did find a place out of the wind for a bit.

[ Major Tom glares at the camera from his spot between a couple of lichen-covered rocks. Behind him are low, scrubby bushes with a few brown leaves barely hanging on. ]

When we headed back down, Tom followed me down the stairs, but Loiosh cut down through the rocks to stay out of the wind, cos he’s a smart boy.

[ The lookout tower stands at the top of a steep, rocky slope; Loiosh is making his way down the slope, picking his way from one rock to the next. ]