Day 3 – Tuesday in the Land of Enchantment

We started the day by driving from Santa Rosa to Santa Fe.  We climbed steadily to 6000 feet and got to see the incredible scenery of the high desert.  Would love to take that drive again!

Arrived in Santa Fe and walked around the plaza a little then went into a hotel to ask directions to the visitor center. Instead, the hotel concierge gave us detailed information on Santa Fe as well as a map highlighted with directions to Taos. We decided to go to Taos first, and then come back to Santa Fe in the afternoon. Off we went!

The scenery on the High Road to Taos is breathtaking…soaring mountains all around you with snow-capped peaks on many. The road twists and turns, but is awell-paved two highway traveled by thousands of people every day.  What a beautiful drive!  Mona was driving and I (Marvin) was the navigator, but I was distracted by the mountains and was taking picture after picture. When I finally looked up we were traveling down a snow packed one-way lane….going down instead of up. We didn’t meet many people on this lane, but the three we did see looked at us in puzzlement to see a two-wheel drive Illinois car driving through the snow.

Finally, we decided to go 5 minutes more and if we didn’t see a “High Road to Taos” sign, then we’d turn around. About a minute later we decide to turn around.

“Excuse me sir, but is this the High Road to Taos?”

Snow packed, narrow and downhill…all factors making it tough to turn around, but Mona did a good job of it…till the car lost traction. About that time, two guys came up the road in a jeep. I asked them if we were still on the high road….they laughed and said a few non-English words to each other….I don’t speak Tiwa, but I’m pretty sure that meant “No, you stupid white man!” (I won’t point out that between us we have over 37 years of education and almost 80 years of business experience, including 8 years of land surveying.)

Then the two guys said, in English, to follow them. I pushed the car while Mona gassed it and we got it turned around. The good thing is we saw some local scenery we’d have never seen otherwise, and we gave the locals a fun story about ignorant white people who couldn’t read a map and who couldn’t tell the difference between a two-lane highway and a dirt road. (That’s how legends are born, don’t ya know!)

After returning the main road, and following it correctly, we finally arrived at the Taos Pueblo. Amazingly, this site has been occupied for over 1000 years.  All the homes are made of adobe with ponderosa pine rafters. Walking through this village makes you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time. Nicolas was our guide…he had porcupine quills spiked through his ears. This is because his clan is the Pierced Ear Axe Clan…known for their wanderlust and adventure.

Think about it…this village has been here a thousand years and was hundreds of years old when it was “discovered” by Coronado’s conquistadores!  The building pictured was built in the 1300s and is the most photographed building in the Western Hemisphere.  (Note that we didn’t miss our chance to photograph it, too!)

The remains of the original church built by the Spanish is still there.  It was burned down during a revolt against the Spanish in the 1600s.
It was rebuilt, and then burned down again in the 1840s by U.S. soldiers
with about 140 people in it.

About seven miles west of Taos is The Gorge….a huge bridge spanning a gorge
cut by the Rio Grande.  You’re driving along this flat terrain and all of a sudden you’re driving across a mini-Grand Canyon!  We walked out onto the bridge and could hear the water rushing through the rapids even though it was hundreds
of feet below us.

Afterwards, we visited Kit Carson’s home in Taos and walked around the square.  Then we drove back to Sante Fe on the Low Road, which is along the Rio Grande most of the way.  We stopped at least ten times to take pictures, but none of them come close to depicting the beauty of the river.

Late afternoon we checked into The Inn and Spa at Lorretto…a beautiful adobe style hotel just off the plaza in Sante Fe.  I’m sitting in the “living room” area as I type this.  A warm fire, soft Mexican music. Lots of comfortable leather chairs…even the ceilings are carved and painted!  LOVE this hotel!!!  (The pic doesn’t do it justice, but it gives you an idea.  There are about 20 of these 10′ x 10′ panels in the ceiling.)

Last night we ate at The Shed on the plaza. There we met a couple of new friends and had incredible New Mexican food.  We’ve been in the Land of Enchantment for two days and every meal has been worthy of a Facebook post!  We highly recommend The Shed for any Santa Fe visitors!

Almost time to start Day 4.  Doing some site-seeing in Sante Fe, then heading south.  Enjoy your day!

P.S. on the “High Road” story.  Earlier in the day we were at a scenic overlook enjoying the scenery.  A car with Texas plates pulled in (coming from the Taos direction) and a young couple got out.  They wanted us to take pictures of them….and then we had them do the same.  They then took off towards Taos.  We laughed because they obviously had gotten turned around.  Later, when we were on the non-High Road road…we saw a car with Texas plates coming towards us.  It was that same couple!  That’s when we started to figure out we were on the wrong road.  LOL!

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2 Responses to Day 3 – Tuesday in the Land of Enchantment

  1. Carol Lucas February 22, 2012 at 11:20 pm #

    Wonderful pictures! I'm enjoying your vacation, too!

  2. Sheryl February 23, 2012 at 3:40 am #

    Love how you tell the stories.

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