Monday, February 28, 2005

05-08 New Mexico, Santa Fe

New Mexico
Week 8 of 52

Santa Fe, NM

Around the bend, down a hill, over a mountain butte, into the range where Santa Fe butts up against the Sangree De Christo Mountains. I’ve arrived at Hyde State park which is 8,500 ft above sea level surrounded by the Santa Fe National Forest. I’m in one of only 10 sites with electric. I was lucky to get a site near the only water source, so I was able to connect and fill my holding tanks. Something I hadn’t given much thought about, since most campsites I’ve been in have at least electric and water at each site. Watching the other campers carry 5 gallon containers up the hill to their campsites doesn’t look like the most fun in the world.

Along the way, I visited my second National park, Pecos. I was told a trick which I plan on using often. At my first National park, Fort Hood, the ranger told me my $3.00 entry fee was good for 7 days and I could use it at other National parks. Cool. I plan on hitting one more for my original $3 entry fee. But alas, not all national parks honor that policy. But it still doesn’t hurt to ask. All right, I know, it appears I’m getting a bit tight with my money, but I prefer to think of it as getting the most for my money. You can get a years pass for about $90 but you’d have to hit quite a few parks to make that work out.

I went to the top of the Sangree De Christo Mt today and saw snow at the highest elevation of 10,500 ft. Cool, really cool. Then it was a roller coaster ride down to the base of the mountain and Santa Fe proper. Beautiful winding small roads follow the historical paths through the city.
Everything is in harmony with the adobe style. The colors look so natural and fit the land.

I had a disappointing visit to the Santa Fe Museum of fine art. Hopefully my $7.00 entry will go towards purchasing more art. Most of the paintings were donated and only provided a small representation from the early era of Santa Fe as an art community. I would recommend visiting the numerous “free” art galleries around town to see some of the finest art in the country. The local artists use some of the most vibrant dynamic colors and their subjects are well worth the time to view and enjoy such wonderful art. Numerous gallery openings are available each week to see new art on display.

I met up with a fellow Escapee’s camping member, Christine Linn and had a great “seafood” Mexican meal in Santa Fe. What a fascinating gal with so many interests and talents.

Now I’m not into jewelry, but the fine jewelry including Indian turquoise jewelry are all on display at many of the finest galleries in town as well as sidewalk Indian vendors along the Plaza.

I just love the Aspen trees. Their white bark trunks and contrasting dark limbs with leaves that glisten like silver dollars in the breeze on a sunny day.

Tours: There are so many places to tour around and in Santa Fe, that I could never cover them all. I did go to Bandelier National Monument, Los Alamos, and Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monuments. I like all the outdoor places to tour. The mountains are just too awesome. I am just amazed at how the terrain changes within just a few miles, from mountains, to desert, to mesa’s, canyons, you name it.

Bandelier is such an ancient place for Indian culture. It’s a privilege just to be able to walk the same paths that the Pueblo people walked over 12,000 years ago, Baldelier was occupied as a permanent settlement over the past 400 years . One of the rangers, Moon, talked to a couple of us up on the high cliff Kiva or Alcove house, where I helped him measure for a new hand rail he was getting ready to build. The Alcove house is 140 ft and 4 very high ladders up on the side of the mountain. Whow, yes, I climbed to the top. It wasn’t all that bad. And the views were worth it.

In a sense, I think I appreciated the natural setting of the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks site the most. To be able to walk through these mountains that have been created by volcano’s, weathered by rain, wind and weather. Just a note though. One has to travel on a gravel road for a couple of miles. Lots of bouncing up and down. Not bad under most circumstances, but when I got to the site and exited the truck, I realized my back had been completely whacked out. Ouch! But I couldn’t leave and persevered by walking the couple miles up, along the sides and into sliver canyon. Awesome views at every turn. I took over 180 pictures in a matter of a couple of hours.

Los Alamos was a history lesson in itself. The town that wasn’t. Where the Government created this secret oasis during WWII for our scientists to develop the hydrogen bomb that was eventually dropped on Nagasaki Japan. It was dropped one month after Hitler committed suicide and Germany conceded defeat. Our scientists developed the hydrogen bomb without the aid of computers, which were developed years after the bomb was created. As I’m sure you’ve read in the papers Los Alamos is being put up for competitive bid by the government to contractors to run the scientific site. Los Alamos Labs covers a huge area around the town. I had no idea it was so massive.

Enough, I’m probably boring you to tears by now. Can you believe I’ve seen all these things in the past 8 weeks! Well it’s onto the northern and north west corner of New Mexico over the next couple of weeks.

Till the next report,

“Make good Memories, it’s the only thing you can take with you in the end”
Quote from: Elsa Palosaari

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