Notes From the Road: Sunrise Memories I


Facilities Update  

The millstone fountain has been installed on the inside part of the koi pond at the Sages. We are all wondering what the symbols on the millstone may represent. Is there a symbol expert among us? Please let us know. We can all thank the maintenance-landscape collaboration for the success of this well-thought out project. Other embellishments to our water features are coming: First the spa waterfall will be lighted so our guests can enjoy the glimmering cascade into the evening, then the below-surface lights will be reinstalled in the Sage’s koi pond.


My connection to Sunrise spans over 34 years—which is a lot of memories. It was spring of 1984 when I first applied to work for Sunrise. The inn/resort had been closed and they were looking for someone to reopen it. In 1984 I was hired as the “innkeeper,” an outdated term that implies hotel manager. I proceeded in assembling staff with some carryover from the previous Sunrise employees. At that time the only building below the ponds was the barn, now The Willows.  The guest rooms were the Pond View rooms, now our treatment rooms, and there were four small bedrooms with shared baths above the Blue Heron.

My former wife, my daughter Gretchen, and I subleased the Baca ancestral home, “El Alamo,” for three years before building a house in lower La Cienega. Back then, Los Pinos was a dirt road and there weren’t many houses in the racetrack area. Sunrise was a meeting place for government agencies, non-profits, and “new age” groups with an array of different perspectives and outlooks. It was a place of weddings and other special events.  It was also a weekend getaway for people coming from Albuquerque.

About two years into my Sunrise employment I left to attempt an unsuccessful business venture and returned to Sunrise about six months later to work in group and banquet sales. It was about this time that the Piñon and Cottonwood buildings were added, as was the swimming pool. An asphalt track installed on the notion it would be good for runners. Also added was a rarely used tennis and basketball court where the boneyard (behind the Casitas) is now.

Middle Fountain Inscription

Last Thursday morning I was walking into the Sages when I saw a guest reading the inscription on the middle fountain, in the outside part of the koi pond. I explained that the garden around the koi pond was dedicated to the memory of the former owner’s brother, who passed just a few months before the koi pond and pond were constructed.

Sunrise Springs, the Name

In the early 1970s the previous owner made a trip to Los Angeles to learn about becoming a psychic. Her graduation from psychic school included getting a reading herself; she asked the psychic for a name to the property. The psychic told her she would know the name in two weeks. A few days later, the name came to her. Initially, she said she was disappointed: she’d hoped for something in Latin.

Guest Comments:  It was wonderful, everyone was wonderful.

Carl Dickens

Carl Dickens, Human Resources Coordinator
Carl Dickens grew up in New Mexico, his parents having met and fallen in love here. After a brief stint in Alaska, the family returned to the warmth and light of the high desert. Carl was raised in the farming community of Los Ranchos, in the North Valley of Albuquerque, among alfalfa fields and arroyos. He began working at Sunrise Springs in 1984, the same year he and his young family moved to the valley. Carl remained at Sunrise Springs for five years, returning again in September of 2012. Carl is active in the local community and is passionate about the history of the area, preserving its agricultural traditions and water conservation.