HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!! Or unhappy 4th for those in the UK (Dicken is in mourning today). As we make our way up to the Grand Canyon, we thought we’d take advantage of internet access in Flagstaff, AZ to fill you in on our travels. We made 2 stops in the Enchanted State of New Mexico: Taos and Santa Fe.
Taos: As we made our way northwards through New Mexico, the desert turned into the evergreen forests of the Rocky Mountains. When we drove through the small town of Taos, it was hard to believe the stark contrast in landscape we had witnessed in one day… including the change in elevation! At around 9,500 feet, Taos is known for its steep and expert level skiing in the winter (Timmy, they just opened it to snowboarders so you can go) and great hiking trails in the summer. For the few days we were here, we stayed in the ski valley along the Rio Hondo River slightly to the north of Taos. We stepped out of the car at our charming B&B, the Amizette Inn, to find ourselves a little lightheaded and short of breath from the altitude. Everything in the car had expanded due to the change in air pressure and to our surprise we discovered that our laundry detergent had exploded…at least the car smells nice now! Once we had checked in we went out to try our first taste of New Mexican food.
New Mexican food is all about the CHILES. You can get your food served with green, red, or Christmas style (a little bit of both) and each has its own flavor and spiciness. After a few meals with these chiles, it was hard to imagine what food tasted like before them! We are definitely going to try and recreate the sauces at home.
We spent our time in Taos hiking, exploring the area and white water rafting! On our second day, we signed up to go rafting on the Rio Grande River (thanks Christina Sanders for the suggestion!). Although the Taos Box was closed and the river was unseasonably low, we opted for individual inflatable kayaks instead of the group rafts, which made it more exciting. The dramatic scenery of the Rio Grande gorge was breathtaking, plus we looked super cool:
The hiking in Taos was incredible, but be warned that when you are taking advice from an 80 year old man who lives at 10,000 feet and says its an “easy and moderate hike,” it will probably take twice as long and leave you gasping for air!
Santa Fe: Santa Fe was a short drive south from Taos. New Mexico’s capital is well known for its art galleries and food and is a mélange of Mexican and Native American cultures. Despite its North American roots, Santa Fe definitely had a European flavor and we felt like we were somewhere in Spain. We spent a day exploring the shops and street vendors that sold different types of turquoise jewelry and local art. Authentic Southwestern music played on every street corner, which contrasted immensely to the Ozzy Osborne cover band and its Goth following that played in the central square on Friday night…interesting scene!
Santa Fe had a cool vibe to it with lots of rooftop bars and restaurants; we decided that it is the most livable city we have seen so far on our trip. The sunset was especially beautiful and cast a warm light over the red clay buildings in the city.