Pagosa Thoughts

I’m traveling again, and I most importantly don’t want to create a boring travel blog. One where you list where you were, what you saw, and on and on. A waste of time.

San Juan School House

My main goal is to recreate and breathe new life into the travel narrative, especially by viewing it as a type of ongoing, endless book – where each day and new spot is a type of new chapter. Or maybe just a small paragraph in a chapter. It depends on the day, I guess; how long moments in a trip deserve. This, then, is my first goal… to make a trip an ongoing, twisting odyssey. Where the journey becomes a symbol for something, and the people in a trip living and breathing characters in a book that is always unfolding. Never-ending.

My second goal is specific to this unique trip. Its main purpose is to explore ancient history in Colorado, specifically within the Southwest corner of the state. I want to understand something about the Utes and the Ancestral Puebloan people. What their culture was about and not about, how they lived and understood life, and, I think maybe most importantly, how we interact with this history today, and if we can even find it anymore. A common theme pretty much everywhere that I’ve ever been is that tourism tends to put a nice, charming sheen on things, and we’re shown a purified, flawless version of the past. Or the past that we want to see. In a sense, you could argue that the past is just a creation of us in the present. And, in the ultimate irony, we travel to see the past, but actually don’t see it at all. We see ourselves and we are happy about this.

So, with these goals laid out, what did I learn today about the early people of Colorado? As seen through my first trip south, right through the San Luis Valley, and to Pagosa Springs?

Pagosa Hot Springs

By far the main thing I was thinking about is that, basically, people are pretty much exactly the same no matter who they are, and what time period they live in. I say this because "Pagosa," in Ute, means healing. This is a place that people have always been coming to in order to heal in some way. And what I like the most about this healing theme is that people do not necessarily heal in the hot springs. This is just the most obvious example of healing. Healing I think more so relates to the pilgrimage aspect of travel. Or the healing the occurs through the voyage. Through the trip to get here. In the end, the actual spot is the least important thing. Or at least that's what I was thinking about at the hot springs, looking out on the San Juan River. For hundreds of years people have been drawn here… to heal.

San Juan River

One thought on “Pagosa Thoughts

  1. cookingtrips July 28, 2015 / 8:00 pm

    Interesting thoughts on the possible connection between the healing and the journey, what you call “the pilgrimage aspect of travel”, I kinda believe in that too.


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