OCOTE ( words )

2024-01-23Johnny Ortiz

Ocote is New Mexico’s ‘palo santo’. It is a resinous pine, once struck by lighting or under some other distress, caused the tree to fill itself with resin to heal. Over time the tree dies and because of its resin does not rot.


Yearly we make the trek to gather Ocote for fire starter and ‘inceinso’ in the deep mountains of Northern NM. I like to hike far, up rocky mountains far from roads to find the best and oldest logs. There are easier ways to start a fire these days, but we love to quote, "Your life is the medicine", and there just isn't much better medicine than gathering ocote in the woods, especially covered in snow. It is a quest in search of nature to sustain our bodies and spirits. The trek to find ocote is part of what makes it so special.


If you have ever been to the Taos Pueblo...

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