I’m in my rental car and off to explore New Mexico! First stop is Bandelier National Park. It’s a gorgeous drive an hour West of Santa Fe. What I love about this state is one minute you’re driving along the flatlands with snow-covered mountains in the distance, the next minute you’re driving up winding roads with walls of layered rock, the third minute you’re driving among snow-coated trees.
I start my hike at the Main Loop Trail, which will take me to the main attraction at Bandelier, the Frijoles Canyon where you’ll get to see cave dwellings with rock paintings and rock carvings. It’s a nice easy hike. At the cave dwellings, you can actually climb ladders into the homes. It’s easy to imagine what life was like 600 hundred years ago.
I meet so many friendly people along the trail. Most of them are older couples and there’s one family from Colorado on spring break. Did I mention that people say hello here and smile? Most of the people I met are not from here but it’s nice to see smiles when you’re traveling.
En route to Taos via the High Road, the scenic route. The roads are windy, I pass horses grazing, small towns all with simple houses, drive Carson National Forest and see some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve seen in a long time. Fortunately it’s sunny today but still cold. I drive into some of the towns and stop to take pics. Each one has a church. Most of them have dogs that scare the crap out of me and run and bark along my car. At one town I have to reverse because two dogs would not let me pass. Seriously, I was starting to freak out because they were barking and growling at me and I thought I was going to run them over.
This part of New Mexico kinda reminds me of Switzerland. You have the snow covered mountains and the valleys. The villages/towns along the way. Of course there are many differences but the ones that I’ll point out are that the Swiss villages are quaint and well maintained, sadly the NM houses are a little in disarray and run down.
I finally get to Taos and the pueblo is closed this month because of a ceremony. I know this already but thought I’d still make the drive out here. I thought there would be more to see but the downtown is very small and I don’t even get out of my car. There are ski resorts in Taos. Maybe I should take up skiing.
A visit to the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. The 4th highest bridge in the US. It’s freezing up there and the winds are blowing like crazy. It’s quite a site to see the river running through the canyon below you. Unfortunately, it’s too cold and nothing else is around there so I turn around and head back to Santa Fe. I’ve got another pretty ride to look forward to. I take the Low Road on the way home and drive alongside the Rio Grande with the sun streaming into the car it’s a great drive back to Santa Fe.
Dinner at The Shed. My friend who grew up in Santa Fe recommended this place. It’s a Santa Fe institution offering New Mexican cuisine. I’ll have to admit, one thing I dislike about traveling solo is eating by myself. I found a seat at the bar ordered a beer and perused their menu. I started with a cup of posole (a stew made with hominy) and had a blue corn cheese enchilada topped with red sauce and a blue corn turkey sausage taco topped with green sauce. Both were delicious. I ended up making a friend at the bar so I didn’t feel so lonely after all. Last night in Santa Fe. Off to Albuquerque tomorrow!