A Southern Approach to the First House of Belonging

Aaron Charles Treptow
3 min readMay 31, 2022

Day 3: Abiquiu to Vallecito (152 miles)

According to Wikipedia, US-84 started as ‘a short Georgia–Alabama route in its original 1926 scheme.’ By 1941 it was extended to Pagosa Springs, CO via Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and New Mexico. From Austin, you join US-84 just west of Sweetwater, near Roscoe*. This is my road to Weminuche.

*Correction: US-84 is joined via Austin at Goldthwaite.

Good Morning, Abiquiu!

I only remember pieces of my high desert dreams last night:

  • At one point someone kept reaching up from the floor beside the bed to tap/grasp my shoulder and ask if everything is okay
  • Then I was served a silver platter of six human ears, like an oyster appetizer, and told to pick two

You should absolutely still visit! I definitely will — Don’t let those dreams get in the way.

During breakfast I was greeted by a jack rabbit about 20 yards from the porch. After tortillas were procured at Bode’s General Store I had extra time and decided to drive into Ghost Ranch. The initial scenery is awesome — it reminded me a lot of Sedona and Palo Duro. Let’s hope we get more rain/less wind for the trails to open up soon.

Ghost Ranch Welcome Center View

I’ve only been on this stretch of US-84 from a northern descent in 2020. Today felt more eye opening: 1) the sandstone cliffs bordering Carson National Forest via Abiquiu. 2) the complete shift in high desert to mountain ranch/foothills of grass and pine south of Cebolla, NM.

I reached Shaun’s cabin by 3 PM and started to organize my gear like I’ve always done: bending deeply into a methodical way to go into the woods. Shaun texted me a video of what to expect from the avalanched 3rd bridge crossing. I thought it was closer to the Johnson creek intersection, but it’s actually just north of Dead Horse Creek, ~7 miles from the trailhead:

Vallecito Schillterbahn (May 2021)

I drank a beer, left packing for the morning, and went for a sunset walk around the neighborhood. No buffalo to crawl into this time, I thought. I’m going to Mack truck this shit.

Day 4: Cold-Blooded Old Times happens to be the phone alarm at 5:30 AM. I’m slow moving and content to let the sun warm up Vallecito creek valley while I pack. If you are reading this between 5/31/22–6/5/22, kindly consider meditating/sending healing energy my way. I’m off on a southern approach to complete the final touches on my first house of belonging.

You’re free to follow along (pw: cmburns)