Echo Amphitheater

Yesterday we visited Echo Amphitheater. “a natural amphitheater located in Rio Arriba County in northern New Mexico, about 17 miles west of Abiquiu”.

The drive there was absolutely beautiful. We didn’t see any Big Horn Sheep, or Deer, no, this trip brought us up close with roadside COWS! There they were, just grazing along side of the highway. That’s when I knew we were in for an interesting, and fun-filled day.

I just love the variations of colors in the mountains in this part of New Mexico,

and the way the wind is ever-changing the rock formations.

When we finally reached the entrance to Echo Amphitheater, the colors in the stone walls were even more vivid and stunning.

As I stood there gazing at all the beautiful colors and wind-blown formations, I almost felt like the stone walls were gazing back at me, and the more I looked, the more I began to see faces in the stone walls. Eyes, noses,

and even an open mouth with just one tooth showing.

I continued to study the stone walls, and started seeing more subtle images, like this image towards the bottom of the stone wall, that to me, looks like two people standing side by side with head covers or hoods.

The most amazing image I saw was in the amphitheater itself. The reddish color that appears to be running down the stone wall, looks to me, like a veiled woman. You might see her too if you follow the deep line in the stone wall (to the left of the reddish color in the middle of the picture) up to where the line meets the reddish color, and perhaps you will see her shoulder, then her neck, then just above that, I see her chin, nose, and the top of her head all of which is covered in a veil, and she is looking to the left as well. Can you see her?

I could have stayed there for hours just studying the stone walls.

There is a sitting area just below the amphitheater where you can just pause, relax, and take it all in. And, if you shout at the stone amphitheater, it will send your echo back to you…

This place is magical, and just draws you in, and makes you want to never leave,

but leave we must, but not without tucking the memories of this special place into my heart to carry with me. Good-bye Echo Amphitheater. Thanks for letting me see your spirit within your stone walls.

Big thank-you to my frissy, Robin, for telling us about this magical place. We most likely would not have ever known about it if not for your suggestion that we go there. It really isn’t very well advertised.

Stay Tuned!

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At Last

We finally found a hiking trail, that I was able to do in this altitude, that was both fun, and beautiful.

The South Boundry Trail #164, just outside the Taos city limits.

This trail is 20.8 miles long, and climbs steadily, but not straight up like the last hike I tried.

This trail has lots of places along the way that are flat, allowing you time to catch your breath as you walk along,

and there are plenty of opportunities for you to just pause, and take in the beautiful views from high up in the trees.

This trail also has many spots where you can take a real break, sit in the shade and talk, or just sit and think about how grateful you are to be able to get out and hike on such a beautiful day, and in such a beautiful place.

The information on this hike says ” The trail climbs steadily. Starting in low cottonwoods along the Rio de Don Fernando, and climbing up through the Pinon-Juniper woodland, Ponderosa Pines, Aspens, and even above treeline on the way to its’ highest elevation of 10,770 feet, just south of Osha Mountain. The trail is a highly sought after mountain bike experience with many possible variations. Many mountain bikers ride this trail from east to west, from higher elevation to lower.” I know lots of mountain bikers that might enjoy this trail.

Every section of this hike that I saw was just beautiful.

But now, I have to be completely honest here, we didn’t hike the full 20.8 miles of this trail. No, I’d have to be a crazy woman to tackle a hike like that. Ha! 🙂 But we did hike 1.6 miles of it.  This next picture shows the spot where I sat down in the shade, and declared that spot “my summit spot for the day”.

Hiking is a favorite past-time for Bill/Papa and I. It felt good to be out hiking a fun trail again, even if we only hiked a small section of the much longer trail. For me, it’s not how far we go, it’s that we go as far as we want, and that we have fun while we’re out there. We try to stay as active a we can, and we’re hoping that will enable us to keep doing all the things we love to do, and living this retirement dream we’re loving so much.

Stay Tuned!

 

 

 

 

 

Enchanted Circle, Again

We loved driving through the Enchanted Circle, in New Mexico, so much so, we decided to do it again. But this time, we started from Taos instead of Questa. The scenery is so beautiful, I could never get tired of looking at it.

Well, not far into our trip, we had an “adventure” in the form of a flat tire. However, as Bill/papa was changing the flat tire, a very nice, older gentleman, stopped just to see if he could be of any help. Then, he gave us a great suggestion of where to go in Taos to buy some new tires. So off we went to get new tires, and while we waited, we walked next door and had lunch. Then, within 45 minutes, we were on our way again, to finish our Enchanted Circle drive.

The first time we came through here (going the other way), I hadn’t noticed this house that is set up to look like a big covered wagon. I thought that was very cool looking.

I love little country stores, so of course we had to stop in and check out this country store, located just outside of Angle Fire.

And, oh look, they happen to need camphosts! If we were looking for a hosting position for the summer, this could have been our home. The little store had all kinds of Native American sculptures and jewelry, and they even have a small restaurant adjacent to the store. I’m glad they are looking for help, because the lack of service we saw when we were there left a lot to be desired. No one greeted us when we entered the small store, but there was a woman on the phone (on a personal call) in the back of the store and she just kept talking even while ringing up our purchase. Another woman came from the opening to the adjacent restaurant, and asked if we needed help just as we were leaving, but no one said good-bye, thank-you, or come back again… I would for sure give better customer service than that. Ha!  I would even be happy to cook up, and sell, all kinds of homemade goodness in that little restaurant for the folks. Jambalaya, anyone?

The little RV Park, located right next to the country store, was nice and clean, and didn’t look like it would take too much to keep it up. We didn’t inquire about the positions, but it looked like a nice little gig to me, depending on the hours, and days, they would want you to work…

As we continued on our way, we saw two deer on the side of the road. We slowed down, and one of them turned and dashed across the road right in front of us, allowing me to snap two quick pictures.

 

The last time we came through this area, we saw the Big Horn Sheep right here. I just love the landscape in this particular area. I find it just so, so, beautiful.

Another fun-filled day on our summer celebration tour.

Stay Tuned!

 

Attitude vs. Altitude

I’ve been having problems adjusting to the altitude change since we arrived in Questa, New Mexico. We’ve been here just over two weeks now, and I have been itching to get out and do some real hiking. The past few days, I started feeling like I might finally be adjusting to the altitude, since I was able to take a deep breath while walking around the campgrounds, and/or when we were in town etc. So I told Bill/papa that I thought I might be ready to try taking a short, but real hike. We went to the local Ranger Station and asked for a list of local hikes. We were given 20 pages of hikes to choose from. One or two of them stated the hike was “novice to intermediate” and the rest were listed as “moderate, moderate to difficult, difficult, or expert hikes. Well, come on now I thought to myself, I walk or hike all the time in Arizona, so I certainly think I can do more than a “novice to intermediate” hike. Bill told me to pick the hike I thought I was going to be able to do based on how I was feeling with the altitude issues. I decided on the Cebolla Mesa hike. It is listed as a moderate hike and is only 1.25 miles long. The actual description of the hike read ” this trail is moderately strenuous to the confluence of the Rio Grande and Red River. The trail is steep and rocky, at the top, then switching to moderately steep with 22 switchbacks. The views of the gorge and the desert landscape are spectacular”. What on this earth would ever make that sounded easy enough to me to start out with? STUPID comes to mind!! The altitude must have really affected my brain, and clouded my normally good judgement. 22 switchbacks, I don’t even like switchbacks when I’m in a car! Mix in the fact that I have a PROFOUND fear of heights, and I for sure had the perfect set-up for a close call with disaster!!

But, off we went, into the wilderness as far as we could go until we reached

 

the trailhead that I, in my lost state of mind, thought I could tackle…

Oh, the views were “spectacular” at least what I could see of them seeing how I was too busy climbing over boulders and slipping and sliding along steep cliffs..

OMG, Bill/papa I said, I’m not so sure now if I’m going to be able to do this or not. But we decided we would just take it real slow, and easy, and if I felt at anytime I can’t go on, we would just turn back…

OK, I thought to myself, as we rounded the next switchback, it does look like it is starting to level out, somewhat. Maybe I can do this. I’ll just adjust my attitude and think positive. I always try to think positive and it usually serves me well…

Then we hit the next switchback, and I looked at the huge rocks, and steep slopes, and thought, “oh, HeLL, NO” if I go down there any further, that will for sure become my final resting place. I somehow had enough sense left to know I was never going to make it back out of there alive..

And not one minute to soon did I make that decision, because the climb back to the top was slow and painful, and I felt like I had an elephant riding on my back every step of the way.

I am convinced we are lucky we didn’t make it to the bottom of that trail. Because, let me tell you, when we finally made to back up out of there from the point where I decided I couldn’t go on, I was as spent as this dead tree, that also gave up the spirit, and the “I can do it attitude”, and just laid over.

I now have a very healthy respect for altitude changes, and what it can do to your body, and your attitude. Ha!

As Bill/papa always says when things don’t go as expected… “we had an adventure”. That for me was an adventure I won’t be repeating anytime soon.

After attempting that hike of doom, we found out there are other, more “normal”, hikes around the Taos day use areas. They aren’t even listed on the hiking list we got from the local Ranger’s Office. What’s up with that? Perhaps next week we will go check out some of them.

Stay tuned!

Visiting Local Lakes

The RV Park we’re  staying in for the month of May, in Questa, New Mexico, is nestled between the Carson National Forest, and Rio Grande del National Monument. We love spending time in the great outdoors, and this is the perfect place to get your fill of forests, rivers, and lakes, that for me, fill my soul, and make my spirit soar to new heights.

Within five miles from where we’re staying, is Eagle Rock Lake. It is a small, day use area, that was designed to be a Fishing Lake. No overnight camping. No boating, swimming, wading or float-tubing. Just fishing, picnics, and/or walking or hiking around the area to enjoy the beautiful scenery.

But, WOW, look at the size of the fish they advertize you can catch in this little lake! That looks like “a whale of a tale” to me! 🙂

The water is a lovely green/blue, and there are lots of shade trees and benches, all around the lake.

The views as you make your way around the lake are spectacular.

Part of the Red River runs along side of the lake area. I so love to listen to the sound of water running over rocks. When we were first married, we lived in a small, one bedroom apartment, on the second floor. Right under our bedroom window, was a big water fountain that ran day and night. It was such a calm, and soothing sound, to listen to as we would fall asleep.

The lake takes on different colors, and shades, as you look at it from different angles.

Picnic tables are placed around the lake, and they just beckon you to come, sit, eat, and stay awhile.

You never know what you might see as you make your way around the lake, so be sure to look down, as well and up, and across…

Shantel, I just happened to notice small rock, painted yellow with red lettering, that read “New Mexico 2018”. It was laying on the ground among some bushes and a few wild flowers. I took a picture of it and left it where I found it.

After we left Eagle Rock Lake, we took a drive to check out Cabresto Lake, which is within ten miles of Eagle Rock Lake. It’s a lovely tree-lined drive,

with spectacular views of the Carson National Forest area. Unfortunately, we were not able to make it to Cabresto Lake, because the last two miles are very rough forest roads, and it was posted that the road is not suitable for passenger vehicles, and our KIA is not four-wheel drive.

But, it was well worth the attempt, because, once again, one never knows what one might find along the back roads… Check out this cool house.

Shantel, this house looks like two big metal balls, which are the living areas, connected together by a large tube, and both living areas have big round windows.The living areas are elevated above ground, so they have wooden steps to get into the living areas. The whole structure reminded me of a giant red ant. All it needed to complete the image was a pair of black antenna’s. But oh, how I would LOVE to look inside that gem.

And how cute is this?

Shantel, it’s a small house, that looks like a train caboose. It’s painted red with black trim, and at first glance, it really looks like part of a train sitting in the middle of the forest. I thought it was just adorable.

Speaking of trains, we booked our tickets for the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad train ride for when we get to Antonito, Colorado. And, SCORE, they are having a Father’s Day Special, where Papa/Bill gets to ride free with my full-price ticket. The train ride also includes lunch. So, YEAH, we will be taking that train ride on Father’s Day, and we can’t hardly wait!

Another great day, and another great way, to spend our time here.

Stay tuned.

Rio Grande del Norte National Monument

Yesterday we visited the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. Another beautiful, and interesting, area of New Mexico.

“Comprised of rugged, wide open plains at an average elevation of 7,000 feet, dotted by volcanic cones, and cut by steep canyons with rivers tucked away in their depths.

The Rio Grande carves an 800 foot deep gorge through layers of volcanic basalt flows and ash.

The monument is an important area for wintering animals, and provides a corridor by which wildlife move between the two mountain ranges.”

There are many areas during the drive where you can pull over, get out, and overlook large sections of the monument. At his particular spot you can see where the Rio Grande and the Red River connect. I was surprised to see how low the water level is due to low snow and rainfall.

The park offers lots of dry camping (no hook-ups) for $7.00 a night, and there are many hiking trails throughout the park. As much as we love hiking, I’m finding it difficult at the 7,000 feet, and above, altitudes. We have been here two weeks now, and I still haven’t adjusted to the altitudes. I haven’t gotten altitude sickness like being nauseated, but I just feel winded, and like I can’t get a deep breath. I’m drinking a lot more water, and trying to go a little slower with the activities. Hopefully, I will adjust soon.

It was a beautiful day, and a lovely drive, and yet another opportunity for us to get out, and explore this beautiful area of New Mexico.

Stay Tuned!

Santa Fe N.M.

Bill/Papa and I took a day trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico yesterday. We have been there before, many years ago, and loved everything about the whole area. So, since Santa Fe is only about 90 miles from where we are staying in Questa, New Mexico, we knew another visit was a must.

Everything pretty much looked the same as the last time we visited. I did a little research, and learned that “The long shady portal boarding the north side of the city’s historic plaza, the Palace, now part of the State Historic Museum, is a visual icon of modern-day Santa Fe. This portal serves the Native American Vendors Program which has been operating for over six decades. A daily lottery ensures a rotating selection of artisans from various pueblos throughout New Mexico.” Here artisans show their goods on blankets spread out on the sidewalk. One has to be careful taking pictures there because you really should ask permission if you are going to take a close-up photo of one of the locals selling their goods. I totally agree with that rule.

All of the “old town” Santa Fe area is beautiful,

and colorful, and I so love lots of color in my life.

After spending some time getting re-aquainted with the area, Bill/Papa and I went to the local Public Library and asked for a good recommendation for lunch. Hey, if the Library doesn’t know, who else do you ask? We were directed to a “hot spot” called “The Shed”. We had lunch out on their lovely patio.

I had the blue corn tortilla green chili beef tacos, that came with pinto beans and posole (hominy and meat, traditionally pork, and spices). I loved the posole, but I love hominy. Bill/Papa, not so much. But we both overall loved our lunch.

After lunch, we continued our walk around the town square,

going in and out of all the little shops,

and we visited The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi,

a beautiful Cathedral, both inside and out, but unfortunately, I was having a “senior moment” and at the time, could not remember how to turn off the flash on the camera, and no flash photo’s were allowed inside the Cathedral.

While we were shopping, we came across lots, and lots of colorful, full-sized, Mexican Sombrero’s . When we had our home, I looked high and low for a full-sized, colorful Mexican Sombrero to hang on the wall, but never found one I really liked, or I wasn’t willing to pay the asking price. But, score, today Bill/Papa and I found the perfect, colorful, mini-sombrero, that I think works perfectly in our motorhome. Even better score at just $3.00.

And ever since we became full-time RVer’s, we never leave any place we stay, for any length of time, without a magnet for our fridge. So of course, we had to find the perfect magnet to represent our return visit to Santa Fe, and our stay here in New Mexico.

So enjoying our time in New Mexico. Love that we planned a whole month to take our time, and really get to know what this beautiful state is all about. The people are so kind and welcoming, and we are taking every opportunity to get to know the locals, and get a better understanding of the whole culture of New Mexico.

Stay Tuned!

 

 

 

 

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