By Gary Rollins
LA VETA- Not all of my interviews take place on Main in front of Charlie’s. This past week’s most interesting encounter came about three miles south of the Town Lakes on CR 360, where I had an interesting chat with two fellows who call Oklahoma their home. I have come to regard an OU cap as standard attire for visiting Okies. Fact is, I have yet to see a single Oklahoma State Cowboys cap, T-shirt or hoodie!
I am a well-traveled guy, but I had to confess I had never even heard of the town of Luther. The fellow with the cap advised ed me it was a town, not a city and smaller than La Veta.
They were touring in an SUV that was not new, but not really old and it was hard to not take note of the fact that they were both sporting some serious digital cameras. One had a Nikon with a big telephoto lens and the other was proud to show me his Canon EOS, which sported an expensive wide angle lens. I gathered these two took their photography pretty seriously. When your camera might cost more than your car, that says a lot about your priorities.
I was curious as to how they discovered La Veta and learned one of the guys had first come to Huerfano County a few years ago when there was some prison construction underway near Trinidad. His return to the Huajatolla Valley was a “must” each year because of the photo opportunities. Today’s “target” was the “Kissing Indians” structure. They were biding their time, waiting for the perfect moment as the sun began to dip below the “Big Wall” on the western horizon.
These two gentlemen were enjoying camping out most of the time. They mentioned there was not an overabundance of night life to be found in Cuchara and La Veta, so they were planning on spending the night in Trinidad. Monument Lake stood out as their favorite spot for camping this time around.
When I asked how soon they would be returning to Luther, an event that would signal the end of this year’s vacation, both proclaimed a desire to be back home in front of their widescreens in time to watch their beloved Sooners lay waste to Brigham Young at the JerryDome in Arlington that coming Saturday. (This interview is being recorded after that game was completed and the Sooner Nation is now deep in despair as they contemplate an uncertain future with their Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback in sick bay. The hated Longhorns are licking their chops and cannot wait to tee it up against Stoops’ boys early next month.)
Both men spoke fondly of La Veta and they said they’d be back again next year, God willing.
It was interesting to me how they described their drive from Oklahoma to the Spanish Peaks. I was reminded they started off from a place where it was flat and hot and dusty and ended up in a valley that was cool, calm and quite inviting.
Some might call it heaven on earth. I call it La Veta.