You can easily get between Taos and Sante Fe via the freeway, but there is something special about the leisurely and scenic hi- road. You will find yourself winding through small quaint little towns, some with some history and some with little art galleries. And of course, the views!
Our first stop was Santuario de Chimayo. This holy place that many believe holds a miracle associated with a crucifixion and possesses curative powers. Two chapels, built in 1816 and 1857, are part of a yearly Easter pilgrimage site. It was started by U.S. soldiers as part of the Bataan Death March and is continued today by thousands.
As we continued onward, we were welcomed with the view of Trucha Peaks. In June, you can still see snow in the mountains.
Side note: I purposely left the wires in the corner of this photo. This was a “drive by shooting”, meaning I take pictures while my husband is driving. If we pulled over for every photo I wanted to take, we would never get to where we are going. 😆
The Town of Taos
Unlike many ski towns, the town of Taos and the ski resorts are not next to each other. The town is located in the valley and is easy to get around. Taos reminded me of Sedona, Arizona with its artsy vibe and good eats. Everywhere you look, there is an art gallery and restaurant. So, what do you do when you are hungry and there are 100 different choices for food? You ask a local, of course. When we asked one of the owners of a shop where to go, he said The Gorge Bar and Grill.
This place has something for everyone and did not disappoint. I’m a sucker for a good club sandwich so I passed on having a salad and went all out for their Club. As you can see, the portions are plenty and the looks do not lie. We were fortunate enough to sit outside on their balcony which overlooks the Historic Plaza. Check out their website to make reservations.
Just Outside of Taos
After leaving Taos, we drove a short distance to the Rio Grande Gorge. Water coming straight from Colorado sweeps under this amazing bridge. Coming from Taos, drive across the bridge to the other side to park. You can walk back to the bridge to look down from it or you can park on the left-hand side of the road in the rest area and walk a short distance to get this view. There is a lot less people with this option and it is a get chance to use the clean bathrooms. If you like geology, this is an excellent stop. You can read about the geology here, by Linda Thompson.
After leaving the picnic area and getting back onto the road, we were welcomed by this flock of Big Horn sheep. I had never seen wild ones before so it made for a fun surprise, especially seeing how easily they could jump right over the fence. I probably could have taken better pictures had it not been for the one tourist that started walking toward them. Please, don’t be that tourist. They are wild animals and you end up ruining it for everyone. Plus, you look dumb.
Not too far from the gorge is an interesting group of homes within the Earthship Biotecture. I had never heard of these types of houses before visiting this place. They are a group of private homes and nightly rental homes. Apparently, these types of houses exist all over the world. They are highly sustainable and use recycled materials such as bottles and cans to build. They also provide electricity, potable water, contained sewage treatment and sustainable food production. Truly amazing! We passed on the tour because of timing but the visitor center taught us so much about the whole process.
On our way back on the 285, we stopped off at Ojo Caliente, a resort and hot springs. I really wish we had done some planning and brought our suits because this place looks amazing. They have many different types of pools and the resort looks very nice. I could easily see making this place a separate weekend vacation spot. Girls trip anyone??
The last stop on our trip was Gabriel’s. Again, this place was recommended by a local. Just on the outskirts of Sante Fe, this lovely place offers wonderful Southwestern cuisine. Again, we were happy with our meal, especially the tableside guacamole. Be sure to make reservations because as big as it was, it was packed. Which is always a good sign, right? The only thing I was not impressed with was the tortilla soup. I admit I am used to Mexican tortilla soup which is more creamy resembling enchilada sauce. This soup was like actual broth soup and tasted nothing like what I am used to. Other than that, we left with full bellies and happy with our first tasting of sopapillas.
I took a little break from my Photo Friday series but I am so happy to be back at it. The other day my husband and I were out exploring and happened upon a cut-down tree in the forest. They are collecting piles of dead branches and trees, getting ready for a controlled burn. This tree stump was special because the growth rings had been counted. According to the markings, this tree was over 340 years old.
So that got me thinking about this stump sitting in the forest and how long it had been there. It reminded me of the children’s book by Shel Silverstein, The Giving Tree. I thought about all the trees in that forest and how much we don’t appreciate what trees do for us, give to us. Unlike some of the controversial issues the book has brought about, I simply pondered my appreciation. Like this baby pine tree that my son planted 8 years ago. That little tree had over ten feet of snow on top of it this past winter. But, it is still going strong.
And of course, one of my favorite places. This tree grows out of the top of a rock. Amazing, right? As many times as I have walked around this area, I have never noticed that tree. It is crazy to me my lack of observation.
So that brings us to our Photo Friday. That tree gave inspiration for a painting. Not only is the tree happy, but so am I.
It’s Fab Photo Friday and today we are looking at Fossil Creek. A few weeks ago my family and I decided to venture out on a journey for the day. Fossil Creek is located about 2 1/2 hours north of Phoenix. This beautiful area has seen increasing numbers of visitors skyrocket over the last few years. You now must obtain a permit from April 1- October 1 and even then, you are not guaranteed a visit.
We spent a few hours exploring the different areas around the river and ended the day at the waterfall swimming hole. The water is a beautiful greenish turquoise and clean and clear. I did not go in the water but my boys and husband said it was nice and cool, which I am sure is just heaven during the summer months when temperatures break the 100’s.
We took a break about halfway up the river at one of the parking areas. It was a perfect swimming spot and had a great area for cliff jumping. This one kept my teenager busy for quite awhile. That allowed me to take some closeups of the river. It is amazing how the travertine rock underneath the water makes all kinds of colors emerge. The photo below is a closeup of the river and then the actual area I took the photo.
At the end of the 21 mile long, winding, narrow dirt road out to the creek is the waterfall. It is beautiful, with water rushing over the edge. This is another place to jump off rocks although a bit higher and definitely more scary since when you land, there is swirling riptide caused by the waterfall.
Fossil Creek is a trek for sure but well worth the visit. Since it has gained such popularity, it has raised the attention of the forest service to help preserve this area. You can read more about their proposals here. If you do decide to venture out, be sure to bring along plenty of water, sunscreen and trashbags for YOUR trash and whatever OTHER trash was left behind. Please help to keep this area beautiful for all to enjoy!