I recently quit my job to focus on New Scouts. Not having a full time job gives me an unfamiliar freedom to travel - an act somewhat foreign to me as my days were typically spent answering emails, making schedules and planning events. So travel I did. This past holiday weekend I went home to New Mexico to recharge and breathe in some fresh enchanted air and trek some desert turf. My sister acted as my tour guide as we set down highway 4 through the Valles Caldera National Forest which stretches almost 90,000 acres and is the remaining depression of an erupted volcano. The dry heat and clean air engulfed me. We stood watching the grasses sway for a few moments and then we were off to the the Jemez Springs Soda Dam.
The Soda Dam is where centuries of natural hot springs and minerals have compacted to make a naturally formed dam in the Jemez River. It was bursting with tourists and families and that all too recognizable sulfur smell. I pulled down my hat to shade my eyes and moved upwards towards the top of the dam. New Mexico has a beautiful and harsh reality in its landscapes and as temperatures angrily rose in the midday sun, I craved a sudden desert storm. I made my way down to the cavity of the cave and eagerly crept inside it by contorting myself into the tiniest of corners. My hands scaled the rough unforgiving walls and my knees scraped up against bizarre formations as I hoisted myself further into the slivers of earth. I took a long deep breath and felt a familiar sense of calm that I would get as a scrappy young girl climbing trees and racing around abandoned fields. I smiled as I crawled out of the cave and while jumping down to the rocky ground below I thought, “damn it feels good to be a tomboy.”
// Melaney //