Sometimes, on a treasure hunt, because you’re on a treasure hunt, you tend to ignore all the other treasure that surrounds you.
On my last recon, I was planning to camp for two nights. Between the first and second nights, the State of New Mexico closed the campgrounds in the Cimarron. I didn’t find out until after dark, returning from a side trip to Taos to deliver a gift to Carolyn and Jay Moore, owners of Moby Dickens Book Shop, for letting me stay in their parents’ summer home the previous weekend. I gave them a retablo painted by my daughter Sean, and framed in tin by my son, Jason. The house I slept in, although a contemporary adobe, was decorated in Spanish Colonial art. So, I thought it was appropriate.
But, I digress.
On Saturday night, I had a choice between the Econo Lodge in Eagle Nest (a few miles from my search mission) and the Angel Fire Resort about 14 miles further from my search mission. The Econo Lodge is consistently $69/night. Having stayed at the Resort during the high season, I knew it could run over $300 for the night. But, what the heck, I was tired, and in need of a hot shower and some cool sheets on a big bed…and you only live once. (As my dear dad used to say before he died.)
And, besides, I rationalized to myself, it wasn’t quite the high season.
(Note: In Greek mythology, Cassandra was the daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba and the fraternal twin sister of Helenus (Helen of Troy fame). According to legend, Cassandra was a beautiful girl with red hair kept in curls, blue eyes, and fair skin. She is portrayed as intelligent, charming, desirable, elegant, friendly, and gentle.)
The Cassandra of our story, whose image you see here, was much like the mythical one, and behind the front desk at the Resort. It was a relatively normal check-in process, highlighted by small talk, until she asked, off-handedly, why I was in the area.
“I’m on a treasure hunt,” I said.
“Like a real treasure hunt?” she asked.
“Yes,” and I gave all the details including the name of the mine I was going to be looking for the following morning. Her eyes twinkled. Literally…they twinkled, and she asked more questions and before I knew it she was Googling “Forrest Fenn.”
In between, she found me a room.
I took the key, and the requisite packet of information, and put it in my SUV, parked out front. I came back into the hotel, and climbed the stairs from the lobby, planning to have a Margarita and dinner for one at Legends Bar and Grill.
A few minutes into the meal, Cassandra pops…literally…pops into the restaurant and hands me a new key card.
“I got you a nicer room, and the ‘Fall Serenity’ rate!”
I’m thinking $200 rather than $300 for the night.
“$87!” she says, happily. Literally. Happily.
She made me happy, too.
Cassandra…I missed finding Fenn’s treasure this weekend. On the other hand…I found you. And, you’re a treasure.
Angel Fire Resort. Highly recommended.