The Discovery of a Lifetime 
Drawn to New Mexico’s beauty almost 20 years ago, Deborah Busemeyer says she can’t imagine a better place to indulge her passions for hiking, camping, and eating. She has won several awards while working for newspapers in Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico, and led communications for the New Mexico Department of Health for six years. She lives in Santa Fe with her husband and two children.

Writing about Mesa Prieta gave Busemeyer insight into New Mexico history and admiration for the strength of Katherine Wells, who summed up her petroglyph preservation work simply: “I realized that this was really important and nobody was paying attention to it and somebody should. So I appointed myself.”

The Creator of Creators 
“If somebody wants to know what makes New Mexico special,” says Peter BG Shoemaker, “you’d be hard-pressed to find a more inclusive answer than Mabel Dodge Luhan. She was a fierce one-woman tourism department, who not only brought the best and brightest to the state, but helped the rest of the world understand our unique value. As I dug into her life, it became clearer and clearer that it’s time we all sat up and paid attention.” An award-winning writer and frequent contributor to the magazine, Shoemaker lives next to a mountain between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, where he is trying, without much success, to befriend the neighborhood bobcats.

10 Ultimate NM Hikes
On summer weekends (and some winter ones, too), the Albuquerque-based freelance writer Ashley M. Biggers is usually camping and hiking somewhere in New Mexico. After thousands of miles trekked, she still feels she has much to discover. “We’re fortunate to have trails of every variety here,” she says. “Even familiar favorites are fresh again with each new season.”

Biggers is the author of the 2016 New Mexico True Adventure Guide and has penned stories for Outside Online, Santa Fean, New Mexico Journey, Southwest Art, and others. She is the author of 100 Things to Do in Albuquerque Before You Die (Reedy Press, 2015) and is at work on a forthcoming guide to eco-travel in New Mexico, due out from University of New Mexico Press in 2017.

The Mistress of Ceremonies
Tantri Wija is a Balinese American journalist, filmmaker, and fiction writer. She moved to Santa Fe as a child, ran away to the East Coast for college, briefly considered becoming a spy, and then came back to the mountains to be a writer. She’s written about food and restaurants for the Santa Fe New Mexican for eight years. This is her first story for New Mexico Magazine.

During the course of writing about Micaela Brown, Wija discovered that she wasn’t the only one to go from a career in government to a career as a professional creative. Among other things, the story reminded her that a life path need not be a straight line. 



For some extra help planning your next trip, order the New Mexico True Adventure Guide. Visit  to get the app, read a digital version, or order a print copy.