Hiking near Santa Fe

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December 27th 2010
Published: December 28th 2010
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Kasha KatuweKasha KatuweKasha Katuwe

This was at the beginning of our hike.
Perhaps I was mistaken when I said yesterday that my boots were not made for walking. Or perhaps they were just made for hiking because today we hiked for several miles and then walked in town for a few miles and my feet were fine. Or perhaps it was the massage that I had halfway through the day…but I am getting ahead of myself in this story.

This morning it was hard to get out of bed. Matthew was tired and reminded me that 6:30AM Santa Fe time was still 5:30 back home, and while he has no problem with getting up early on a vacation the whole idea of up before 6:00 was just a bit much. I agreed. After waking up every two hours because my back was in agony, I, too, was tired. We decided to ask if for the next two days we could have breakfast at 8:30 instead of 7:30 and were very happy to receive our desired response. No more rolling out of bed before the crack of dawn!

It turned out, however, that it was good that we had an early start to our day. We were on the road just after 8AM and headed to Kasha Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, between Santa Fe and Albuquerque. The monument is still relatively new, opened to the public less than ten years ago, and it’s a beautiful drive to reach it. We read that there are two trails available, one that’s a little over a mile and an easy loop, and the other that’s a 1.5-mile climb to the top to get a view of the valley. Of course we decided to go for the climb to the top – who can refuse a view? We knew that neither one of us had hiking gear or the “proper shoes” and that the climb was labeled “steep,” but we wanted to try anyway. We succeeded! It was just a bit harrowing in spots.

Okay, it wasn’t actually that bad. There were sections that had several feet of snow covered in a layer of ice. Part of the trail was about as wide as my shoe, which made for an interesting passage. And yes, it was rather steep in sections. Thankfully we did not meet anyone else on the climb up until we were near the very top. The family of hikers told us that the view was worth it and keep heading up and we took them at their word. They were so right! At the top we could see for miles and miles and miles. It seemed as though we were on top of the world. And it felt as if we were the only people there.

On the way down, I realized that Matthew and I have different fears. Whereas I was quite nervous at the top because I worried that he was getting too close to the edge when taking pictures, he was concerned about my ability to descend safely. “I don’t want to carry you all the way down, honey,” he said. It is harder to climb down than it is to get up certain hills and rocks. This was no exception. On the way down we started meeting more hikers, even a few families with pre-teen and teen kids. This convinced us that we made it to the park just in time, right before it started getting crowded. We climbed down, then took the easy loop to the car, and all in all hiked a bit over three miles that morning. I was hungry. We raced back

Yes, I'm wearing boots to hike in the snow...city slicker boots.
to Santa Fe to find food.

My success at finding restaurants in Santa Fe has been a mixed bag, perhaps because some places like running on their own time. (We even saw a store’s hours posted as “10-ish to 4.”) It’s not quite like when we’ve visited the South and things were even more laid back, but it has proved a bit challenging to find food when we’re ready to eat. Thankfully today when we returned to Santa Fe we found that Felipe’s Tacos was open, even though it was just after 11AM. We each had two street tacos (so good!) and then went back to our B&B.

We left our room with a bit of an issue this morning. When we awoke we found that there was a slight plumbing problem. We hoped that time would fix it, but our return to the room showed that patience does not solve all problems – at least not when the problems are structural in nature. The proprietor came in to try and fix it, but it looked like the problem would be stubborn. We had to leave because of an appointment and we said we’d check when we came back. If there was still an issue, we were told we could move to a different room.

The appointment I was rushing to meet was for a massage. It had been over four years since I’d had a massage and I was definitely looking forward to this! (Especially after the previous evening of extreme back pain.) Matthew found that another local brewery (only a few blocks from the spa) offered a dark beer aged in bourbon casks. Of course he had to try this, and so I left him happily at the brewery while I walked to the spa. We both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and met up again about an hour and a half later so that we could walk to a late lunch.

Our lunch plans were thwarted, since La Choza’s closes mid-afternoon, but that’s okay: our afternoon was still lovely. I found some jewelry (yay!), we walked a bit more, and then returned to our room to discover the plumbing was even worse and we would have to move rooms. We moved to a room that is actually a suite – large enough for a family, complete with full-sized appliances, a private balcony, and a loft bedroom. It’s amazing! Normally I would think that a room like this would be very expensive, but apparently it’s not much more than our first room because it has an interesting feature that most people don’t like: the toilet is in the shower stall. I have no idea why. But that does not bother me. After being in several countries and locations where one feels lucky to have a toilet or a shower, as long as the plumbing works here I am happy! And the new room really is beautiful.

This evening we are headed back to La Choza’s, this time when it’s open, so that we can find some dinner. Looking at the menus of all of these places makes it really difficult to decide where to eat. The food here is so good and I love to eat, so this vacation is working out well!

Additional photos below
Photos: 18, Displayed: 18


Top of the TrailTop of the Trail
Top of the Trail

We could see for miles!
On top of the world!On top of the world!
On top of the world!

We made it to the top of the trail at Kasha Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument!
These shoes are made for walkingThese shoes are made for walking
These shoes are made for walking

Yes, I realize we may look/sound a little crazy. But on the way down we met an older man who told me "You are the best-dressed woman in Tent Rocks!" Why thank you.
Man CaveMan Cave
Man Cave

Apparently this was a man-made hole in the rock wall. We think there was soot on the ceiling inside.

This is the private balcony in our new room. Nice! If only the temperature was above freezing...
Cool KnobCool Knob
Cool Knob

I have no idea how old the door to our new room is, but I love the lock and key!
New roomNew room
New room

This is the view of our new room from the front door.

28th December 2010

Enjoyed your photos
It is nice to read a blog about a US location. You've taken some nice photos. Thanks for sharing.

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