Monday, May 2, 2016

5/2/16-Aguirre Spring State Park, NM

With a plan in mind (that I will disclose in future posts), we decided to head northwest. We stopped to have a picnic at the Sleepy Grass Picnic Area, Lincoln National Forest, just outside Cloudcroft, NM. There was snow! After having been in the desert all winter, and then Texas for a few weeks, it felt like I was in Wonderland. It was gorgeous! And the air was so crisp and clean! I could have stayed there for hours, but we needed to get to our campsite destination before nightfall.
Here is a pic of Colvin passing a tractor. It looks like he could have just driven under it!

We arrived at Aguirre Spring State Park, NM around 4:00. This is the view as you drive in to the park. Beautiful!

This is a pic of Colvin coming back from checking in with the camp hosts.

The following pic may not look very scary, but I almost asked Colvin to park my van for me. There wasn’t an angle where I could capture it very well in a photograph, but right in front of the van is a sheer, long drop off. Even though I had the parking brake on and put rocks in front of my tires, I still moved around inside the van very gingerly.

We got set up in time for me to take the dogs for a walk. We started off on pavement.

But we soon found a wonderful trail, The Pine Tree National Recreation Trail. I signed the registry even though we didn’t go very far in at all. A steep incline and the 2nd sign was more than enough to keep me close to the trail head.

This is one of my all time favorite pics of my furbabies.

Sometimes the trail was well marked....

Sometimes not.

The trail goes on up through the mountains you can see in this next pic. We came across two guys that were coming back down after backpacking for a few days. They told us they had just flushed a pack of coyotes not too much farther up the hill. Time to turn around.

Colvin had a special place he wanted us to camp in for awhile, and for me to rest, so we left early the next morning. Wait until you see those pics! Life is good.


I had to stop for awhile in Cloudcroft. I rushed too fast on packing up lunch and heading down the road again. I was “skipping.” There are test questions I ask myself so that I can determine how I’m doing:
  • What day is it?
  • What time is it?
  • Where am I?
  • Who am I with?
  • What am I doing (course of action)?
Here are my answers to those questions and why we stopped for a while:
  • I don’t know.
  • Had to look at my phone.
  • Couldn’t remember.
  •  I’m following Colvin but...
  • Can’t remember to where.... or the name of the picnic area we just left.
Yep, was definitely time to pull over and rest some more. I am blessed to travel with a patient companion that supports me and my special needs. Safety first. It didn’t take long and I was firing on all cylinders again.

The morning we left Aguirre Spring was particularly challenging for me. I was still tired and camped right behind us was a family with several children; one of them may have been on the autism spectrum. I say that because she was clearly overwhelmed, was unable to control her emotions or behavior, and she screamed – a lot. All the time actually. I applaud the parents for being outdoors with their children. I have several friends that have children with autism or Asperger syndrome. I know how difficult it can be to enjoy family outings, especially when the kids are young. This couple was doing their best. I also give them kudos because they made sure that the other siblings, two boys, got to get away from camp and explore without their sister. That was especially difficult for the young girl to understand, and she screamed even louder.  I never saw them lose their patience over any of it and I really admired them for all that they were doing.

AND, it made it very hard for me to rest. Earplugs didn’t help. I woke up very tired and somewhat confused the next morning. I wasn’t talking much. I don’t remember much of the ride or scenery after we left camp. It took extra concentration and focus to follow Colvin to our next site. It was doable, but challenging. I fought back tears several times. I don’t even remember taking the tractor picture, but I’m glad I did. I think it is hilarious.

Colvin was none too happy to learn “after the fact” that the drive had been hard on me. I am not very good about vocalizing my symptoms as they happen, but I’m working on it. I know it’s important to do so. I’d love to know if other TBI Thrivers have that same difficulty. When I’m symptomatic it seems my verbal skills are the first to go. Is that typical? If anyone knows of any studies that have been done, or if anyone has any experience around this, please let me know. I’ll try to remember to ask my doctor when I see him next.

The Rest of the Story

I am learning how to cope with a brain injury and am sharing my learning curve here, on my blog, hoping that it will help someone else. I make a lot of mistakes, and it seems to me, that I hurt and confuse a lot of people close to me, but I don’t mean to. Usually, by the time I realize that I’ve caused anyone angst, I can no longer sort out what all the fuss is about. It is SO frustrating, and if I’m not careful, I find myself ruminating on it all – trying to figure it out. I get locked inside my head. I used to do that (prior to my brain injury) and would say, tongue in cheek, that it was like being in a bad neighborhood. Just like then, even now it is a lot like a hamster on its wheel, it gets me nowhere.

But now it’s different. Now it’s like traveling through a maze. I just know that right around the next corner will be the prize. The prize would be the golden nugget that sorts it all out for me; helps me remember the details so that everything will make sense; and connects the dots for me on what went wrong so I can fix it. I can remember certain details but piecing it together is always just out of reach. I have the sense that if I can just remember one more thing, then I’ll have clarity. But after awhile, I often don’t even remember what it is I’m searching for. Then I get stuck on trying to remember what it was I got stuck on in the first place. Ugh.

Being in nature helps.

Sometimes it takes a long while, but after I realize I’m stuck, I look out my windows and choose to focus instead on the beauty that I know as Oneness. If I feel safe and am up to it physically, I take a walk. Colvin likes to take drives and go exploring. That helps too. I forget about whatever it is I can’t remember, I let go of the life that seems to be slipping away, and I say a prayer for those who are going through this with me. And I send out love, love and more love. With that, my anxiety lessens and I can get back to being my carefree, happy self.

I don’t know how to help those who are dealing with all of the changes I’m going through. I can only say how very grateful I am that you have chosen to stay in my life. You know who you are. Thank you all. I love you!


  1. Aguirre Spring is one of my favorite campgrounds!

  2. Read your blog post. We weren't there long enough to find a site that wasn't right next to others. You've given me something to look forward to mext time. Thanks Al!


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