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Source: Clayton NM–A lil reflection

A little something about Clayton, New Mexico.

As most people know, I’m a small town girl, living in a big city world. I don’t like seeing the air I breathe, I am not a fan of traffic, even though I can drive in it, I’m not a fan of wall to wall people, even though I am a social person. I like my quiet, you know that quiet of small town America. That being said, about an hour before my interview for my first EVER PTA job, I googled Clayton, New Mexico.  It was the middle of the middle of nowhere, just like home, but in New Mexico.

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Clayton is much more than the sum of its parts: the people. A caring, funny, loving, accepting community of people who welcome in new comers into their fold and make them a part of that community – it’s a collective, and not of empty buildings, but smaller businesses that continue to thrive amongst the emptiness.

Everyone knows where Clayton is, they have all passed through the area if they have headed west or east, but it’s that little town that no one knows, also. It is the town built on family and community, and that shows in the care that the facility I worked at took in their patients. I was quite like being up home, in Northern Maine, where we take pride in taking care of our elderly, and of our co-workers.

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It’s a community of innovative people, with unique places to eat, watch movies, buy jewelry, take a walk in town and check things out.

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It is the community that shows up, en-mass, for the football games every single week.

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I can’t forget the Luna Theatre, when I first laid eyes on the spot, I was sure I was not going to enjoy my experience. I was wrong, oh so wrong. It’s clean, the old seats are oddly comfortable, the staff is sweet and I loved the old school ambience, right down to the 50s/60s style lighting.

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Clayton is also a host to some fun creatures that, some, hung out at my doorstep.

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I found this big guy’s nose in my doorway one afternoon. 

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Then the deer, and the antelope and – rabbits and the wholesale number of other things you see, like tumbleweeds piled against your car in the early hours of the morning when you walk outside – that was a sight to behold.

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New Mexico, in general, is a host to some great sunsets. 

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Then, there are the sunrises.  In Maine, each are great, but not was “wide” and all encompassing as in New Mexico.  It is like the sunrise and sunset is almost 360 degrees.

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Then there is the place I worked – Clayton Nursing and Rehab. This is a crew of dedicated, loving, funny, talented and welcoming bunch of men and women. C.N.A.’s that do 12 hour shifts, sometimes 2 of them for 30 residents and more residents. Nurses pass medications and manage the floor (there are no med techs), the DON, Lori, is also the MDS coordinator with her right hand woman, Kay is Miss Jacqueline of All Trades. A fun crew who took in a French speaking Acadian, made her feel at home, as so I didn’t miss home as much as I might have. Lunches, welcome pot lucks and going away soup bashes, birthday apple pies, travel advice, and husbands who mount tires with a smile. Thank you, Clayton, for a great 13 weeks of friendship and adventure. Maybe we can do it again sometime.

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Garden of the Gods

 

For my birthday I decided I was going to take a trek into Colorado, to this place everyone raved about: Garden of the Gods.

1 – the place is gorgeous!

2 – its free

3 – go EARLY!

4 – while you don’t have to do a lotta hiking to see the sites, DO bring water! Snacks! And a camera.

This place is wonderfully gorgous and I only saw a fraction of what I could have. I drove in early in the AM, luckily, parked in the main lot. The Center of sorts. I ventured into several hiking areas, heading towards the visitors center for a mid morning food break there.

Instead of a huge lunch, I opted for a snack and a Jeep tour. Worth every penny! Not a lot of picture taking, but it’s not about that, it’s about seeing the sites, the history, etc.

I still have not seen a rattle snake!

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This pretty doe was just standing there, eating, the five people ahead of me were so intent on just walking – they never saw her… I took my time and ventured in closer – I got to about five feet away – did a bit of staring, the let her get back to having her morning snack.

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Pikes Peak. 

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This is a wonderful pinkish stone.  I ended up bringing a piece home with me, was lodged in my Merrils.

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While taking this picture, I met some nice folks from Maine – Camden, in fact.  We are everywhere!

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Famous Balancing Rock (its not balancing any more, FYI, after years of people doing what that guy is doing, it began to roll off a few years ago.  Its now cemented there)

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One of the great places the Jeep tour took us!  Tunnels, and cliff roads, oh my!

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This used to be a train rail.  If you look real carful like, at the ceiling, you can see the soot marks from the coal engines. 

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Helen Keller Falls. 

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The GotG is a very surreal looking place.  Like someone shoved their fingers up from under and pushed the rock up.  And juts of stone, sentries, guard this really wonderful tapestry of earth. 

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If you look really close, you can see the “bear” staring off up into the sky.

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Pike’s Peak in the distance

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Kissing Camels – lore goes something like this – warring tribes found out that the son and a daughter of opposing tribes were in love.  This was forbidden.  As punishment, they sent them into the Garden (it was a place of peace) – its said they never returned, but that the camels were forever kissing above the garden

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Route 66

 

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I took a quick ride one weekend down to RT 66.  It’s a pretty famous place, of course, the kids cartoon Cars made it even more famous.  Was a wonderful drive – not many pics, I opted to enjoy the day instead.

I decided to trek up into Colorado for a weekend, and hit up the state park outside of Trinidad.  Gorgeous lake and long hiking trails.  Bring tons of water.  Only downside when I went was the State Park Office was closed, and no maps were available.  The maps outside the building didn’t have miles (or round trip miles) on them.  The day was supposed to have been in the mid 60s, turned out to be in the mid 80s!  I still did about 6 miles that day

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You can see the Rockies from the distance, pretty cool view.

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I don’t remember the trail, the Coke-Something trail, I think.  Leads you down into this former river gorge with some really neat rock formations.  The sun wasn’t throwing up onto the rocks, so very hard to see the coloring. 

This is about where I met up with a rabbit, who was small enough to fit in the palm of my hand.  That being said, Mr. Mimi Rabbit darted out, I averted stepping on him, went flying onto my ass, hand in a cactus and over extended my right knee.  Darn rabbit had the audacity to stop and stare at me.  Lucky he was cute.  I like me some stew.

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Bring water, bring snacks, download the trail maps ONLINE onto your phone before you head there.  Also, extra battery or battery charger if you are going on an extended hike and are going to be checking your phone. 

For a small park, you can get a lot of fun walking done.  Then you can see the Dino Tracks, and, which one of us doesn’t find that a lil cool? 

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I have never seen so many rabbits in my life as I have since I have been in this area, does no one like rabbit stew?

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If you are agile enough, and maybe brave enough, you can walk the rocks for almost a mile around the lake.  Great exercise!

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There is this cool place called “The Rock Garden” here, and its fun to scale around the cylindrical out cropping of rocks.  

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Hard to put into perspective of the SIZE of these prints. 

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