If there is one way we can summarize our past week in New Mexico, it would have to be that it was full of surprises. From the time we arrived in Santa Fe to the day we slid out of the state on US-60, the Land of Enchantment did its best to do just that.
We set up camp in Santa Fe at an old KOA that is now called Rancheros de Santa Fe Campground. It was an unremarkable place, other than the fact that the camp scene from Every Which Way But Loose was filmed there. That, and our first enchanted surprise…
What the heck! Just to let y’all know, this is the first snow that has fallen on the exploRVistas entourage since early in 2015. We did see previously fallen snow in Oregon, but the temperatures were much warmer. So rather than hunker down…
…we chose to embrace it by heading above 10,000 feet to Ski Santa Fe. 🙂
Here’s Diana after an exhilarating run down the Double Black Diamond slope.
It was a tremendous place to spend a morning, indeed.
We found the city of Sante Fe to be charming. The town’s pueblo architecture envelops visitors with a sense of warmth.
Our NARM membership from the Foosaner Art Museum in Florida gained us free admission into the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.
If there is anything that speaks to southwestern art, it is this talented artist’s work.
Images of New Mexico are the first thing that come to our minds when hearing her name. With that being said, our next enchanted surprise came during this visit. We had no idea that a vast portion of her career had been spent in none other than…
…New York City! She loved it there, as do we.
Santa Fe also has a couple of well known churches.
One is the Cathedral of St Francis. We were surprised to find out that this was once the seat of an archdiocese that covered the entire southwest, all the way up to (and including) Denver.
And this is the famous miraculous staircase in the Loretto Chapel. Our surprise here was not the staircase, but where the Sisters of Loretto came from. You see, there was only one other place we had ever seen this name: Loretto, Kentucky…home of Makers Mark bourbon. Indeed, that is the area these pioneer women came from!
We also did a couple of hikes while we were based in Santa Fe.
Our first was in Petroglyphs National Monument near Albuquerque. We ventured into Rinconada Canyon to see what it had to offer.
No this isn’t graffiti, in a modern sense of the word. The carvings into the rocks were left by early native people and also by Spanish sheep herders in the area. The images were a ways off the roped-off trail, and I unfortunately had failed to charge my new camera’s battery the night before. This trail and my iPhone did not work well together. Thankfully, we had arranged our hikes in the order we did, as our next day was outstanding! When Ingrid from Live Laugh RV heard we were in the area, she recommended we visit one of her favorite places, Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument.
With a fully charged battery at our disposal, we gave the new camera a workout!
What an amazing place. We loved the combination of desert and tall Ponderosa pine trees.
The ‘tent’ rocks that give the monument its name look like they are from another planet.
Nothing better than squeezing through a slot canyon!
The desert environment was full of life.
The view from the top was simply breathtaking. Thank you Ingrid!!!
Next up, we moved south to San Antonio, New Mexico. Our focus there was to visit Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. We first became aware of this place while reading Life Unscripted, as Peter and his wife Peg volunteered here. Our driving force to visit here was when fellow blogger, the late Lynne Braden, left a legacy gift to the refuge after her terminal cancer diagnosis. This was the first place she volunteered after her retirement and she fell in love with it.
This is her photo that became the cover art for the latest Festival of the Cranes. To our surprise, we were fortunate to be able to purchase the last remaining copy of the festival poster. We will indeed treasure this. Lynne was a sweet person who never lost her million dollar smile, despite the cancer she was forced to face. She chose to view it as a gift. Peruse through her blog, Winnie Views, by following the link.
Touring the refuge, it was easy to see why Peter, Peg, and Lynne loved this place.
What a variety of wildlife!
Some just seemed to pose for the camera…
…while others were more interested in fishing.
Some were just out for an evening stroll.
The biggest surprise in this little blip of a town was a small parcel of land on the southern edge of the village.
Pretty unremarkable, right? Well, what you are looking at is the birth of one of the world’s largest hotel chains to which I owe a fair amount of my career. That building to the right was the old post office. Across the street from it was a little mercantile/rooming house, run by a person named…
…Conrad Hilton. It all began here. And wile the building may be gone,…
…the long wooden bar he worked behind at his dad’s place can be found just up the road at the Owl Bar, where it was moved to many years ago. It amazes us at the history that can be uncovered in the small towns of this world. 🙂
Last up was a place we had wanted to see for a long time.
The Very Large Array Radio Telescope. These dishes span out in a “Y” pattern, 13 miles in each direction.
Twenty-seven dishes work in unison to gather radio waves from distant galaxies to form images that aren’t visible to us though our eyes. The dishes can be moved along railroad tracks to form different images. The science behind this is WAY over our heads, but the massive nature of the project is amazing to look at. While we were there, the dishes all moved in unison several times, eventually pointing straight up. While we knew this facility was here, it was quite a surprise to crest the mountain pass west of Magdalena and see these antennas spread out before us.
We had a wonderful visit to New Mexico this time around. The land of Enchantment revealed a bevy of surprises and a trove of memories we won’t soon forget.
Next up: Arizona! Until then, safe and happy travels to all!