Land of Enchantment: New Mexico

Last week as I was knee-deep in planning a family holiday to Spain I couldn’t help but think about our trip last summer to New Mexico.  I blogged about what we did the first day but never finished the rest.  It’s now exactly a year later but I thought what the heck.  Better late than never.  It was a great trip.  So I’m going to sort through my photos and relive the memories, in between doing more research for what I’m going to do with four seniors in Spain…

New Mexico is known as the Land of Enchantment.  On our second day in NM, we were thoroughly enchanted and…  utterly frightened, at least for my Mom.  It was the day that forever changed the way Mom feels about thunderstorms.  So scared out of wits was she that she still can’t believe she lived through it and has mentioned that afternoon to me a half dozen times since then.  It all started with a beautiful morning and an amazing hike though…

Day 2: Santa Fe, New Mexico Itinerary

Stop @ Sage Bakehouse to pick up lunch

Bandelier National Park: Tsankawi hike, lunch, Burnt Mesa Trail

Dinner @ Tune-Up Cafe

We decided to have breakfast at the house and pick up a few things for lunch since we were going to be out hiking all day.  So this morning we stopped by at Target and Sage Bakehouse.  We loved that even Target looked authentically Santa Fe in that distinctive earth-tone adobe style.

Drive to Bandelier National Park from Santa Fe.

About a month before our visit a fire started that became the largest wildfire in New Mexico history, burning more than 60% of the Bandelier National Park (Las Conchas Fire) as well as other areas of the state.  I was really looking forward to seeing the Tent Rocks and hiking in the Valles Caldera National Preserve.  But sadly for us, they were closed and most of the trails at Bandelier National Park were also off limits.

We made the most of it though, by hiking the Tsankawi section of the park which boasts stunning landscapes, numerous petroglyphs and archaeological sites.

I was a bit obsessed with the sky and the clouds in New Mexico.  I took dozens of photos of the sky…

We had to climb up and down several ladders during our hike in Tsankawi.

A snake sighting!

No trouble spotting various petroglyphs…

Incredible views.

After this fantastic hike we took a break for lunch and since it was still early afternoon, we decided to go ahead and do another hike.  We didn’t have a lot of trails to choose from so we went to the Burnt Mesa trail, which was close to where we were.  It quite flat, vast, and a bit eerie since the landscape here was barren and burnt out from a wildfire years ago.  But every now and then we came across small signs of life…

Our trouble began when we saw the sky darken over the mountains behind us where we parked.  We’d hiked in for at least an hour and it seemed unlikely that we’d be able to beat the impending thunderstorm back to the car.  We turned around and quickened our pace nonetheless.  When we started to see the lightening strike repeatedly and the sky open up several miles away, we were more or less jog-walking.  Well, Mother Nature wasn’t going to wait for my family to have shelter.  We found ourselves drenched within seconds.  Rain drops were pounding down so hard that when one hit my chest, I felt as if someone shot me with a powerful water gun.  It hurt!  Blue skies no more; thunder, lightening, and torrential rain followed.  We could hear the swirling winds howling around us and day became night within minutes.  Mom told me later that she thought for a minute there maybe she wouldn’t make it.

We all did, of course.  We needed a nice long nap after that.  And some cold beer and good food, over which we had a good laugh about how we’d always remember this afternoon.

Selection of local microbrews at Tune-Up Cafe, Santa Fe

Yummy, yummy, in my tummy.

More on our New Mexican adventure tomorrow.


Santa Fe: Red, Green, or Christmas

This entry was posted in 2012, Travel, USA and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Land of Enchantment: New Mexico

  1. cmboyd33 says:

    You are right the skies are truly amazing in New Mexico!

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