We woke early with a 6 hour drive ahead of us, as the storm approached us. It was drizzly and very foggy so we couldn’t see much of the landscape view out the window, but we passed by the La Sal mountains that I am quite curious about. They seem to constantly hover over Moab and Arches, always off in the distance, and quite often hidden in the clouds. Next time mountains!
The drizzle turned to freezing rain somewhere near Durango, and then to warm sun as we drove closer to Santa Fe. Our first stop was to the Georgia O’Keefe museum. If you don’t know anything about Georgia O’Keefe, well frankly, you have been living under a rock. She is best known for her “feminine” or “Freudian” flowers, which she never really intended to be, and actually once critics started associating her flowers with womanly parts, she shifted her painting to other things. She was very interested in line, shape and looking at things up close. Most likely critics thought her art was Freudian was because her husband was a photographer and took hundreds of portraits of her to exhibit, some nude, and so they just lumped her into being an outspoken sexual person, which she doesn’t seem to have been. Introvert seems to be the description many use when describing her. In fact she moved from NYC to a small ranch in NM to be away from people and have privacy, while still married to her husband who continued to live in and work at his gallery in NYC.
I was a tiny bit disappointed about the museum. She was such a prolific artist, but much of her art is scattered around the world in different museums, so the collection was rather small. I was still glad we went though, just a little break from hiking.
Since we only had a half day we grabbed some dinner and went back to the hotel.
Day two of NM started with a hike up Santa Fe Baldy. What a change in temperature/weather! In town it was decently warm, but up at 12k+ it was super windy and cold! Like 30 degrees at the top cold! The puffy jacket came back out. Above 11.5k breathing was still hard for me, and we slowed down considerably. When we got to the saddle I was just about blown off. That front that we drove through in Moab was on its way bringing some wind and much cooler temperatures in town.
The hike started off somewhat steep with some switchbacks, but the Aspen trees were amazing! In a way I feel like we were Aspen tree chasing. From Aspen where they were gorgeous, through western CO, down to NM, and then back up to eastern CO again. Each place there were golden Aspens.
Back to Santa Fe Baldy-looking at the map there is quite a large network of trails around Santa Fe Baldy and the Sangre De Christo Mountain range. Santa Fe Baldy is the southernmost peak in the mountain range that runs up north into Colorado. It was busy, full of hikers-their dogs , and several runners, which was really great. I’m not certain, but would assume from the hike there is a vibrant outdoor community in Santa Fe. We passed through a wonderfully scented pine forest, and then up above tree line finally where the wind really blew!
We hiked a trail out and back, and after driving back down the mountain we went straight to lunch.
That night we went on a walk in town on one of the local paved path and watched a beautiful pink and purple desert sunset. Seriously, since college in Tucson, AZ I still think there is nothing better than a desert sunset.
The next day we planned to drive up to Colorado Springs so we woke up early and ran some of the local trails in the foothills, my first run post Run Rabbit Run 100. It felt a bit weird, but really great! We did only 4 miles, but it was wonderful.
Soon after our run we were back in the car and heading to Colorado Springs and to see Ben! Of course, this was the vacation of adventure, so we had to take the scenic route and stop at a lesser known hot springs and the old downtown Taos. The hot springs pools were really cool. According to some articles I looked up, it used to be used by a commune but was abandoned and left in ruins until the town of Tahoe and the local neighborhood fixed it up. It was a one mile walk into the foothills and we had it all to ourselves.
Ten more minutes up the road we entered the old town of Taos and poked around some of the art galleries. As an artist that studied in the Southwest I have a love for the bright colors often used in southwestern art, the desert vistas, and the use of local stones (turquoise) used in silver jewelry.
We only stayed in town for an hour, getting up to Colorado Springs by 7pm.