From 8/23 to 8/25, we were in Taos, and from 8/25 to 8/27, we were in Santa Fe. The time was far too short in both places.
We traveled to Taos largely so Cyndi could visit her high school friend, Lois Fernandez, who owns the Taos Artist Collective and is an artist herself. We had a nice dinner on the Plaza the first night and a fabulous meal at a beautiful adobe home on the next. We saw lots of art and had good conversation with some of Lois’ artist friends.
We asked Lois if she knew of good hikes in the area, and she suggested Williams Lake, which is in the Taos Ski Valley and part of the Carson National Forest, through which we had climbed 3,000 feet the previous day on a narrow, winding road. The hike was “only” four miles out-and-back, and, undaunted by our previous experience, we set off. We first drove into the ski area, gaining about 3,000 feet over fifteen miles – the last bit over a 4-wheel-drive-vehicle-only dirt road. We reached the trailhead, where Sunny bounded out of the Jeep, we grabbed our cameras, and I finally got to use my new hiking poles. The Forest Service service describes the hike as “easy to intermediate,” so we prepared for sunny morning stroll.
Here’s the thing. Cyndi and I live our lives mostly at sea level, on flat land. This trail goes straight up the side of a mountain, begins at about 10,000 feet, and gains more than 1,000 feet over less than two miles. We stopped. A lot. We drank water. A lot. After about an hour and forty minutes, we reached the end of the trail, at which there is indeed a beautiful mountain lake. We let Sunny off the leash, where he ran like a maniac for the last few yards and promptly plopped himself in the icy water. We hung around at the top for a while and headed back down, which took us about an hour. The good news – I really like the hiking poles, which saved my butt a half dozen times. And there’s a great little restaurant in the ski village that serves New Mexican food and craft beer.
For more photos of Taos, see here.
On 8/25, we arrived in Santa Fe. We had great food and margaritas, visited the New Mexico History Museum. the Georgia O’Keefe Museum, and the artisans on the Plaza. Cyndi had clearly been saving up for the latter, and we had a couple of good days of shopping.
We left on 8/25 – not nearly enough time. We drove back over the Rio Grande gorge, where Sunny ran smack into a girls’ soccer team. That went pretty much as expected. And the suddenly we descended from 70 degree temperatures to 100+. What were we thinking?
For more Santa Fe photos, see here.