Along the six day journey came several stops, a few hundred miles of travel, and a plethora of pictures to try and capture within a 144 hour outdoor adventure. What really stands out is a number of incredible restaurant and meals, a mind tripping art installation, high altitude hiking, and world class fly fishing. If none of those peak your interest, you should probably go find a more boring blog to sift through.
Prior to visiting, what I knew about Santa Fe was mostly from word of mouth. The word on the street seemed to allude that it was a arts town well worth checking out. What proved true is that is a arts town, but with a lot of character and restaurants worth traveling a long way to eat at. Let me preface by saying this is not a food blog. But the food stuck out, so the world must know.
Santa Fe builds it's character of it's Adobe brick structures, not to be confused with the Adobe computer program. Downtown Santa Fe is lined with gallery after gallery. The famous section of gallery is known as Canyon Road. It is certainly worth checking out if you make the trek to Santa Fe. If your looking for a new piece to put over the fire place, make sure to bring your check book and prepare for the check to write to bounce or use your house as collateral for the purchase.
|An adobe house of the famous Canyon Road|
|More Santa Fe structure lined by offsetting color|
The first meal we had in Santa Fe was at a place call Tia Sophias. Upon arrival to Santa Fe it was peak lunch hour. We were tired from travelm hungry, and just wanted a good meal. What we found was what I would consider the best Mexican meal I have ever had. Props to Elizabeth for finding this spot.
|Tia Sophias is a must hit lunch spot if your in Santa Fe|
|Homemade bread with honey and sugar. No further caption needed.|
|Photo credit here to Elizabeth. Rest break from Tia Sophia goodness.|
|Outside of Meow Wolf, setting the stage for something that is hard to describe.|
|Making friends along the way.|
|I don't remember leaving the left overs in there.|
|Alice and Wonderland - Dinner is served.|
|Tv is out again.|
|Late night Karo-eke. Leading the crowd to Benny and The Jets.|
|Laundry machine to another dimension.|
Yes, your right. Up until now you've been confused as I have talked about food, housing structure and arts. Time to switch gears. Our first hike was Atalaya Mountain located just a few miles outside downtown Santa Fe. The hike ascends just around 2,000 feet and should be started early to avoid the Santa Fe heat. Still acclimating to the elevation we were staying at around 7,000 feet, this hike was a perfect first hike for the trip, stretching us but also continuing to allow our bodies to acclimate to the altitude.
|The view atop Atalya Mountain, overlooking Santa Fe. Also pictured, a Monk.|
Situated in the Northeastern part of the state, Taos Ski Valley proves to one the the most well known big and technical ski terrains in the United States (or so they say, I have never skied it). Come summer months, the snow melts, the temperature warms in the day, and the ski mountain turns into a outdoor hiking paradise.
The primary hike we targeted from the onset of the trip to Taos was Wheeler Peak. Due to the length and extremity of the hike along with afternoon storms that frequent daily, we knew the importance of starting early; arriving at the trail head a few minutes before 7AM. The hike starts at around 10,000 feet at the base of the Taos Ski Valley. Gradual uphill and switch backs take you to Williams Lake at just over 11,000 feet.
|Initial views of Williams Lake|
We got to William Lake around 7:45AM. The sun was still on its way up over the mountains and it created an incredible reflection on the lake creating one of the more memorable views that we had on the hike, and maybe all of the trip.
|Williams Lake early morning perfection|
|Steep steps are rewarded with breaks and the opportunity to soak it all in|
As we continued onward, on several occasions we paused to say hello to descending hikers. When we would ask them how much of the hike do we have left, we got answers like 'you don't want to know.' So we stopped asking that question.
|Perspective of switchbacks upon switchbacks, leading to the top of Wheeler Peak.|
|Backside views of Wheeler Peak|
|Trail nearing the top of Wheeler Peak, the highest point in the state of New Mexico. Taos Ski Valley in the distance. |
|Reaping the reward. |
|Mid-morning Taos storm.|
The hiking alone is worth the summer trip to Taos. The quiet peacefulness, cool summer air and afternoon storms give it the character of a classic mountain town in the summer. Now that I know the lay of the land, it's time to find out how the mountain skis sometime in the not so distant future.
San Juan River
The final stop on the New Mexico journey was the San Juan River. Situated in the Northwestern part of the state just south of the Colorado river, the San Juan is one of the premiere fly fishing rivers not only in the US, but probably in the world. Between a full day of fly fishing we spent two nights resting at the Soaring Eagle Lodge, who also outfitted our day on the river.
|Peaceful evening views on the San Juan.|
A highly sought after world class river means a highly technical fishing river. Given recent rain and a large ant hatch (this was new for me), we spent the whole day dry fly fishing which is similar to it sounds; your fly sits on top of the water. The river was clear in all aspects making fish visible from close and afar. Our guide could spot the most fish obviously due to the amount of time and experience on the river.
|Downstream views of pure clarify|
One of the best moments of the day was seeing Elizabeth catch her first trout. First trout, first ever fish on a fly rod and on the San Juan River. Certainly something to not forget.
|Catch and Release|
In between the give and taken, we pulled some really nice rainbow trout into the boat, probably ranking up with some of the biggest I have ever caught.
|First fish in the boat on the Santa Fe|
|Catch of the day|
Get Out and See It
The state of New Mexico has so much to offer. It might not be the first place people think of to visit, but it's a healthy reminder of how many incredible places there are to discover across the country. If I haven't convinced you of that much, then I need to find a new use of my free time.
|Final views of New Mexico offered a double rainbow. Must be a good sign.|