On the drive from the Tent Rocks to Taos there is a point in the trip when you round a bend and you suddenly get a glimpse of the great Rio Grande Gorge, and let me tell you, it is remarkable! The depth of the bulky vein carved into the perfectly flat surrounding land inspired me to stop the car (yet again) and snap a few photos(none of which did the view justice). That was the beginning of Taos for us, which turned out to be our favorite spot during this trip. We never tired of this small, charming city. Everything, right down to the hotel we booked was a fantastic adventure! The hotel was a quirky little(in reality it was massive) family establishment that had some how managed to buy our the bigger hotel chains in the city!
The 1,000 year old pueblo was beyond belief. The history of the tribe and their land was complex. It pained me to see and hear what this tribe had been through, the battles they had fought to keep the rights they did and the fact that even after everything they had been through, their culture was dying. A once bustling village living without modern day technology was sparsely populated as more and more young members chose to live in more modern homes. The land is stunning, the views, stories of the mountains and lakes surrounding them, breath-taking.
This structure (multi level, multi home) is over 1,000 years old! Made from adobe! They refinish the outside layer to keep the buildings from deteriorating. The children made friends with one of the dogs :) And, we all sampled the local bread and cookies baked in the outdoor ovens!
Afterwards, we headed to the great Rio Grande Gorge(also breath taking). The walk to get to this point was more than nerve-wrecking as the cars zipped past us on a narrow bridge and the gorge became deeper and deeper. By the time we made it we were ready to head back to the car, so we snapped a few quick pictures and took off for the Angel Fire, NM.
This is as far as we made it to Angel Fire. At a mutual point those twisty mountain roads had Keith, Yuliya and I green in the gills. We stopped and took a small hike so we could gather ourselves before revisiting the winding roads. At the end of our hike we found ourselves on the wrong side of a creek with no way to cross but through! It was refreshing to wade through the ice cold mountain creek. We ended up spending more than a few minutes splashing back and forth across the creek before heading back to Taos. :)
If you were to ask me where my favorite spot in Taos was, I would tell you the Pueblos. However, for the littles, it was certainly the toy store we found in town. The funny thing about this toy store, they had such a great yard and exploration studio that the children never even asked to actually go in the store part. We sat here for hours climbing the fountain, playing, reading, drawing, playing music, and so much more. Imagine the above gif on a loop for an hour or more!
Jack loves the idea of having friends and family figure out where we have been for the day, and frankly, so do I!
Today's adventures took us to a National Park(hint) and to a town that Keith and I have zero reception in(hint). Disclaimer: all photos from today are from my phone. Regular photos to follow!
First water break all smiles here!
Trekking through the canyon
We reached the tip top of our hike with zero incident; thus, soaked in the amazing 360 views had a snack and made our way back down. Amazingly, this is where we learned all of our hiking lessons for the day:
1. No surprise hugging the parents while at the top of a steep mountain-however sweet and thoughtful this may be, we need every ounce of predictability and feet flat on the ground that we can get.
2. Of the animals to be fearful of in the desert a bumble bee is not one of them.
2. If you happen upon an animal that does elicit a fear response(NOT A BUMBLE BEE) the proper reaction would not be to flock to mom, who is cliff side, and attempt to scale up her to safety.
3. When trekking down a gritty trail, put your weight on your toes and lean slightly forward, otherwise you WILL slide head first until you hit something that will stop the descent.
4. No shouldering past anyone while we attempting tricky maneuvers, it's not a race, just be patient.
In the end, we all came away from this hike A-okay, Cash had a minor scrap on his elbow from his head first slide. I think if you ask him, he would say it was worth it. He relentlessly asks if we are "climbing any mountains."
Keith, Sam and Cash made their way into an old Native American dwelling on the side of the mountain. It was carved by hand! Sam and Cash said it was "pretty cozy."
Really the reception dilemma is just fine with us; really, we are visiting a beautifully serene town. After hitting the hotel (which is the best yet!) A small storm rolled in this afternoon as we walked around town and left us with overcast skies and deep blue silhouettes against the horizon. Absolutely stunning!
Tossing pennies into the wishing well. I explained a wishing well to the children this afternoon only to discover that I only had 1 penny. No more than 20 seconds later, as if sent just for us, Cash found 3 brand new pennies laying on the sidewalk. Here all four littles make a wish as they toss their lucky pennies in.
Before ice-cream photo ----->
Keith was beaming when we hit a local brewery/eatery. Here, we were able to watch the children kick off their shoes and play in the sandbox; also, Jack and I hula hooped a little pre-meal. Of course I more than made up for any extras we've done today when I ordered "the fatty." A feta, black bean, mashed potato and chili burrito! It was so worth it.
Summer showers rock! What a fantastic site when you can see the clear line of beginning to end!
We finally made it to Santa Fe! We parked the car, had a picnic in the park, and then set off to explore the city by foot.
Our first notable stop was the Loretto Chapel. Above is purple leafed tree adorned with rosaries! It was not only beautiful, it twinkled as the wind blew. The Loretto Chapel is famous for its impossible spiral staircase!
Did I mention it was the 4th of July? This photo seemed appropriate.
We also happened on a classic car meet! How fun to view all the retro cars all decked out for the parade!!
At least three of us are pretty excited to find an ice cream shop!
The Virgin in a tree!
We found a fair amount of historical markers, but in all we discovered that Santa Fe wasn't the city for us. So we spent the rest of the evening playing at playgrounds here and there, eating New Mexican food, and waiting for fireworks (that never came). Next stop tent rocks! (already posted)