Hello RMOWP Family!

White Sands National Park; sunset
Sunset from White Sands National Park © 2009 William Horton

I hope that you are all healthy and as happy as possible in these strange times. 

It has now been more than half a year since the Coronavirus Pandemic first hit the news and upended our lives, and despite some of the misinformation being distributed on social media, we don’t know how or when this will end.

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We Have a Cecil…

By Don Laine

A Cecil, according to RMOWP’s own photographer Jack Olson, is a sunrise or sunset photo named in honor of Academy Award-winning producer Cecil B. DeMille (1881-1959), whose Biblical films featured characters such as Moses atop a mountain, arms raised to the fiery sky. You don’t capture Cecils very often, Jack tells us. They must be special in one way or another, a spectacular show in the sky, reminiscent of DeMille’s epic films.

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2020 RMOWP Conference Cancelled

By President Virginia Parker Staat

With heavy hearts and a unanimous decision, RMOWP’s Board of Directors, Conference Committee, and staff have voted to cancel our 2020 conference scheduled in Alamogordo, New Mexico, from October 5-8. RMOWP has held annual conferences since 1974. This is the first time we have cancelled. Due to COVID-19 concerns, however, we face tremendous uncertainty about our ability to provide a safe and positive experience for participants. Your health and safety are our utmost concern.

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Pie Lady of Pie Town Calls it Quits

By Don & Barbara Laine

New Mexico has lost an institution.

Pie-O-Neer cafe in Pie Town, NM
The Pie-O-Neer was a popular spot. © Kelly Gatlin

The Pie-O-Neer Pie Bar in Pie Town, New Mexico, has closed after more than 20 years in business, a victim of the Coronavirus pandemic. The announcement was made by owner Kathy Knapp, according to an article in the Socorro, New Mexico, newspaper “El Defensor Chieftain.” She told the newspaper that she opened the pie shop for the season this year on Pi Day (March 14), but because of the pandemic closed the next day. More on Pi Day below.

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Fog Light in Antarctica

By Ian King

You’re going to Antarctica, what many refer to as the “seventh continent,” as if it’s a collector’s item accrediting them with significant prestige in a time of global travel. But the first two days of your trek are not particularly auspicious. You’ve spent them forging a labored trail through the infamous Drake Passage, rolling from side to side in the heaving swell of the Southern Ocean, the forbidding gateway to this “last and final continent.”

fog in Antarctica, icebergs, moody
Iceberg ghost ships emerge as the fog lifts. © Ian King
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Social Distancing

By Cecilia Travis © 2020

“Then stirs the feeling infinite, so felt in solitude, 
where we are least alone.”
~ Lord Byron

I have always preferred social distancing while hiking. My treasured outdoor memories are mostly of solo hikes, my companions limited to rocks, trees, flowers and possibly a few animals. 

orange lily on black
“Orange Lily on Black” © Kent Taylor, Hon. Men. Flora Category, RMOWP 2019 Photo Contest
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Member Bill Fields Announces New Book

Freelance photographer William Fields, from Hermann, Missouri, has published a new book, The Four Directions, A Southwestern Journey. Offered as a small, signed and numbered limited-edition, it contains images from the Four Corners states: Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. Bill tells us that he shoots in infrared and processes in sepia and black and white, to highlight the stark beauty of the southwestern landscape and its people.

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The Unwelcome Guest

Text & photo by Maryann Gaug

young gopher snake invades van camper
A young gopher snake invaded my van camper!

Arriving at Wheeler Peak campground in Great Basin National Park, I found the perfect campsite for Rover, my camper van, for 4 nights. I leveled Rover, got settled, and paid the campground fee. Then I opened the door to the bathroom and there was the snake. ACK!! A SNAKE!! ACK!! A small one, about 2 feet long, yellowish with a black pattern, with oblong head – at least it wasn’t a pit viper (venomous). Maybe a small bull snake or large garter snake. It wriggled on the floor trying to crawl up the wall. Heck, I was at 9,880 feet! I had no idea of how it got in the bathroom. I was so shaken that I didn’t even take a picture. I decided to find someone to help me (I figured I needed at least 4 hands and 2 heads). 

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