A Mooncusser is by definition, “n. A land-based pirate who, on dark nights along dangerous coasts, would demolish any legitimate lighthouses or beacons, erect a decoy signal fire in a different, deliberately misleading location, and then, after having induced a shipwreck, subdue any survivors and plunder the wreckage for valuables” according to wordnik.com.
So when Cat and I started planning what we call ‘Outlaw Summer’ in the midst of writing our pirate screenplay, ‘Mooncussers’ was the winning name for our adventure posse. It seemed an appropriate mixture of our Southwestern childhoods navigating mountains, prairies, and alpenglows, and our 2015 summer adventure wandering the New England coast in search of pirate lore. Outlaws are ‘land pirates’, after all, and though we won’t induce any shipwrecks or foul play, we are on a search for the most simple of treasures: The spirit of adventure and an appreciation of our world.
Outlaw Summer began while I was ruminating by a fireplace in Angel Fire, New Mexico (one of my favorite places in the world) after a brave day of snowboarding. I remember the moment warmly. I was drinking a whiskey toddy made with cherry cider and lemon. The snow was falling outside; the icicles were glowing pink in the sunsetting over Wheeler Peak. The sounds of a football game on TV filtered up the stairs. Even though I was born and raised in New Mexico, its sheer enchantment has never escaped me. Having spent the beautiful day in the mountains and watching the snow fall, I already knew I wanted to spend the summer of 2016 adventuring in New Mexico going to every beautiful place I could find.
When I returned to the Tower and my best partner-in-crime, I brought a map of New Mexico, taped it on the pantry door. It was only January; Cat and I were looking forward to a looong spring semester. She is a high school English teacher. I am a longtime barista and adjunct English professor. We’ve spent the past five months circling all the locations in NM we want to travel to. We named the adventure “Outlaw Summer” since we are daughters of the Wild West. It’s been well worth the wait.
I can’t promise a very detailed blog, but I do promise a record of adventures—simple and hopeful— and many beautiful pictures of New Mexico (and some other surprise places).