Camping in the Carson National Forest

My wild west adventures continue into my first southwestern summer!  Last weekend I went camping for the first time since moving to New Mexico.  Despite growing up as a Summer Camp kid and being someone who’s totally comfortable barefoot with feet caked in dirt, I would still consider myself a very beginner camper.  I’m not yet at the point of knowing exactly what to pack and what to leave, I would probably survive on pita bread and peanut butter if I went camping alone, and I’m likely to be the person you hear about on the radio who leaves chapstick in her tent and gets attacked by bears.  According to my boyfriend, this describes me perfectly:

However, I’m starting to get a clue and have learned that I really love the experience of living simplistically, sleeping in a tent, turning off the iPhone and escaping the stresses of society.  My friends and I camped in the Carson National Forest, one of the five national forests that New Mexico has to offer.   

Our campsite was pretty much perfect!  We were located immediately next to a stream, which proved useful not only for washing dishes, but also for keeping the dog entertained and providing soothing background noise for a perfect night’s sleep.  The only drawback of the weekend was that, due to nearby fires, we weren’t allowed to build a campfire, which is usually my favorite part of camping.  But we still had an enjoyable evening cooking turkey dogs on the stove, drinking a few Happy Campers, and playing games.

Osa on the hunt for sticks and rocks.

Home away from home.


The day after camping we went to the Taos Solar Fest music festival, featuring a number of talented performers including two of my favorite musicians – Mat Kearney and Michael Franti.  

I first discovered Kearney in 2006 at a student activities conference in Boston and have been crazy about his voice ever since.  He truly sings from the heart and is a beautiful performer, and I love the rhythms of his tunes.  

Mat Kearney
I’ll admit I didn’t know about Michael Franti until “Say Hey” hit the radio a few years ago, and I only know a handful of his songs, but I am constantly inspired by his powerful lyrics and his ability to bring people together as he sings about acceptance, environmental issues, and love…

“Boom, boom, there's a battle going on in this earth
Everyday, work, school, death and birth
There are 6 billion people on this earth 
Can you tell me what every single life is worth?
Tell me why there's child soldiers
Tell me why they closed the borders
Tell me how to fight disease and
Tell me now, won't you please?
The only thing I want to do is to be in the arms

Of someone who believes in me, like I believe in you.”
 ~From Hey World (Don’t Give Up)

Michael Franti

Franti and local musician Robert Mirabal from Taos Pueblo

The music fest was a blast!  I’ve never seen so many kids at a concert before (or hippie parents for that matter).

So far my first southwest summer is full of adventure!  Now that monsoon season is upon us, my long hikes are on hold for a few months, but I have a lot to look forward to including a family vacation, my upcoming triathlon, and a boat trip next month!  So stay tuned!


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