Saturday, July 5, 2008

To New Mexico's Mountains

Ned and Joe Watch the Divers at the Blue Hole of Santa Rosa

Even though we were an easy drive from Santa Fe we were a day early. Mary and her brother Neal were not going to be in Santa Fe until Sunday afternoon. Prior to 1937 Route 66 went from Santa Rosa to Santa Fe it was then rerouted along the current path along I-40 straight to Albuquerque. Looking at the map I decided to head to the mountains northwest of Taos, NM in the Carson National Forest.

As we left Santa Rosa we made a quick stop at the Blue Hole, a natural, bell shaped pool 80 feet deep with clarity to the bottom and a constant water temperature of 62 degrees. It is popular with scuba divers and while there we watched some. There were also some kids jumping off the rocks.

We entered Las Vegas, NM around 10:00 am and found the plaza decked out for a Fourth of July fiesta. We walked about the plaza and watched the Fourth of July parade. After leaving Las Vegas we stopped at Pecos National Historical Park.

Pecos National Historical Park preserves the remains of the Pecos Pueblo and a Spanish mission church from the 1600’s. The Pueblo was once one of the largest in New Mexico but after the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 began to lose population and importance. Now it and the Spanish church are ruins. They do have two kivas, underground Puebloan ceremonial and social spaces, that the boys explored.

A Real Live Hot Wheels Car

My Favorite Part of the Parade

The Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas, NM

Joe Descends Into a Kiva at Pecos National Historical Park

The Remains of the Spanish Church

The Cholla In Bloom

Since we hadn’t eaten yet we quickly made our way to Santa Fe and had a filling late breakfast at the Plaza Café. Afterward we walked a little about the plaza then got back on the road Taos, NM.

We took the High Road to Taos, climbing into the mountains northeast of Santa Fe. Along the way we stopped at El Sanctuario de Chimayo, the Lourdes of America. The Sanctuario de Chimayo is a holy site where a small room off the church contains a hole in the floor where you can scoop up the holy dirt. When applied to an afflicted spot on your body you can be healed. I rubbed some on my bad shoulder.

We arrived in Taos pretty late and I was worried about finding a campsite for the night. After checking a National Forest map I found out that we could camp almost anywhere in the forest. I had hoped on seeing the Kit Carson Museum but it was closed. We made a quick stop at a grocery store and kept going.

On the way out of Taos before getting into the Jémez mountains you cross the Rio Grande. As you approach the river it looks like a large plain and then you see a bridge ahead. The bridge crosses the gorge about 800 feet over the river. We walked out onto the bridge and watched the river flow far below. Continuing on we passed an interesting development called Earthship Biotecture whose buildings looked like something out of Star Wars.

After a driving high into the mountains we found a campground and a site. It was very late so we quickly set up the tent and since it was raining off and on we just went to bed. I awoke in the middle of the night and noticed the clouds had cleared. The stars shown brilliantly. Without any ambient light the Milky Way was clear and I felt I could reach out and grab it.

El Sanctuario de Chimayo

The Plaza at Taos

Joe and Ned Sit for a Spell in Taos

The Rio Grande Gorge

Santa Rosa, NM to Carson National Forest, NM, 266 miles 6 hrs 45 min

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