Pecos National Monument and National Forest, NM

We’ve spent the week at the base of the Pecos mountains, just a few miles outside of Santa Fe, NM. The hiking has been fantastic, and we’ve put in many miles on nearby trails during the week, in after-work adventures.

This weekend, we’ve focused on the Pecos National Wilderness, on the reference of our friend Wendy, who described the area as one of the world’s magic places (my paraphrase). So we’ve spent this weekend in the area, and certainly have not been disappointed! First off, we visited Pecos National Monument, NP where we saw a wonderful archeological example of a pueblo, as well as the ruins of the spanish mission that was erected on the site. Photos to come, but it was a great hike through history, and standing on the ridge looking out to the distant mesa took me to a place where I could envision what this space looked like 300, 500 years ago.

We then continued our journey up State route 63 to ‘the top of the world’ (translation, end of the road) to Jack’s Creek wilderness trailhead; the drive up into the wilderness was spectacular, as we followed the Pecos river higher and higher into the mountain. As we started hiking, I quickly felt the drag of the 9000 ft elevation – I could either hike or talk, but not both at the same time. We gradually became acclimatized to the elevation, though were surprised to have been so impacted after so much hiking around Santa Fe this week.

Snow in the distance

Snow in the distance

Jesse the wonder-hiker

Jesse the wonder-hiker

Dan in the aspen forest

Dan in the aspen forest

Yep, it's cold up here at the top of the world!

Yep, it’s cold up here at the top of the world!

On our way back down, we followed old Route 66 (our campground is located on the route, too!), and saw this great marker of a bygone time. I’ve looked at books that followed the old Hwy 66 route (check out Kent Baker’s book), so this was a particularly sentimental marker for me to find. Score!

Old Route 66 marker

Old Route 66 marker

As I write this, I’m back in the camper, all snug and warm as a storm comes in. The winds are howling and the raindrops have turned into snow and hail. We’re expecting winds up to 60mph through the night, so am grateful for the timing that we didn’t feel the storm when we were at higher elevations. But really, snow??? In April-almost-May??? You’d think we were in the mountains 😉

And so what’s in store for the rest of the weekend? Colorado, here we come!

Albuquerque, NM, Whoosh… Santa Fe

I feel like I barely experienced Albuquerque. We came in on Sunday night and I flew out Monday for Mountain View, California, for work. I just got back in on Friday in time for Dan and I to pull out and head to Santa Fe, NM. So other than a great vegan sushi dinner and a few hours to roam the Nob Hill district on Sunday, I really didn’t see much of the city at all. Dan will have to share his insights from the area, as I am a bust.

On another note, I did have a good work session in Mountain View, and gave a presentation to a large group and was videotaped for it. Our work group also got to do an improv session with team members from second city. That was so much fun! I also had time for a quick visit over the hill on Thurs night to visit good friends in Santa Cruz and share some sushi with them, as well as have some time to say hello to my beloved Pacific ocean.

It was a whirlwind week, and by the time we got to Santa Fe I was completely confused whether I was coming or going. We found a great dog-friendly restaurant and have been enjoying our resort birthday weekend at La Posasda de Santa Fe very much (thanks Mom!). People all over this town, as well as restaurants and the resort, are so dog friendly! Jesse gets treats every time we leave our room as the staff ply her with snacks. We started the day at a yummy French restaurant, nibbling pastries while Jesse got hand-fed egg and bacon. We also found a great hike this afternoon and climbed up to 7800 feet. It took a while as I was slow as molasses after a week of sitting on my butt and eating so much good food.

View of Santa Fe from 7800 feet

View of Santa Fe from 7800 feet

Super-nice dinner spot by the fire (and Jesse's curled up behind the table)

Super-nice dinner spot beside the fire (and Jesse’s curled up behind the table)

And as if my day couldn’t get any better, I visited that Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, where I saw an exhibit of Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams’ works. They were presented side-by-side and I saw the contrast of both of their visions presented. Fascinating stuff!

Words of wisdom from Georgia O'Keeffe

Words of wisdom from Georgia O’Keeffe

Tomorrow… A rough day of spa treatments at 10,000 Waves, then we’re off to the Pecos National Forest to get set up for our work week and next adventure.

Special thanks to our friend Wendy who’s from the area and has given us so many recommendations while in New Mexico. We’ve definitely been on the ‘locals tour’!

Paddleboarding and Blue Dog

After a rocky start to our time at Elephant Butte, we ended up having a great time here.

In a classic karma scenario, after being plucked out of our sand-pit in order to arrive at fab camp spot, we ended up being woken up at 5 am to horrible noises outside. Turns out a couple of guys in giant truck got stuck right near us. So Dan went out with our tow system and pulled them out in our little 2wd. Paying it forward 🙂

When we woke up later, the howling winds had died, and we enjoyed the most amazing paddleboarding since we’ve hit the road. Dan even circled a distant island.

Paddleboard-maestro

Paddleboard-maestro

As we headed out of Elephant Butte, we met Blue Dog and heard his amazing story. This was a stray dog, adopted by a community, and who now has his own lawyer and support crew to make sure his canine-citizen-rights are maintained, after an attempt to lock him up. Great story, and it was picked up by many major newspapers! Read about Blue.

Elephant Butte, NM

What are the chances that at the precise moment that we bog down not one, but two, vehicles in the sand, a military 5-ton cruised across the dune and asked if we wanted a tug (or two). Uh, sounds good. Thanking the universe and final pic is our lovely camp spot for the night at Elephant Butte State Park. The adventure continues…

Stuck in the sand

Stuck in the sand

Help arrives - about two minutes later!
Help arrives – about two minutes later!

Our fab campsite for the night

Our fab campsite for the night

 

Farewell Silver City, NM

We had so much fun in the Gila national forest, and loved the region, as well. The first time we visited Silver City, I saw this sign and discovered how rich the town’s history was. Woot, woot, Billy the Kid!

Billy the Kid's First Jail Escape

Billy the Kid’s First Jail Escape

Oh, and that’s our truck in the background. A paddleboard makes for a great conversation-starter in the desert 😉

A Good Pair Of Shoes

5-toe shoes after roughly 3000 miles of hiking over 3 years.

5-toe shoes after roughly 3000 miles of hiking over 3 years.

This is what a pair of Vibram shoes look like after about 3K and plenty of water time.

My Uncle told me about these wonky 5-toe shoes about five years ago. Being the shoe hound that I am (joking) I decided to give them a go.

They can be tough on the toes as you have to watch where you’re walking/running quite a bit more than other shoes. Roots can be a major source of “owwww”, as well as pine needles, etc., getting in-between the toes. Even so they’re still the best on-trail hiking shoes I’ve ever owned.

Will start wearing out my next pair today.

Dan

A second week in the forest

We have been having so much fun in the national forest that we decided to stay for another week. That was a great decision as it gave us last weekend to just play and relax, which felt quite needed after a number of weeks of work and then weekend travel. Not that we’ve had such difficulty in squeezing in fun times!

Kimbo in the tree

Kimbo relaxing in the tree at camp

We visited the San Vincente trails near Silver City on Saturday, and explored some of the old mining area.

 

Old mining area

Old mining area

Kay on the trail

Kay on the trail

After a wonderful hike we went to town to do groceries etc. and found the most fab restaurant that had lovely patio, dog biscuits and water for J-dawg, excellent menu and gourmet home-made chocolates. Huzzah to the Curious Kumquat, my new favorite restaurant!

The Curious Kumquat

The Curious Kumquat

Sunday, more hiking in the Gila national forest, finding new trails and revisiting some favorites. Spent some time looking at maps to plot the next few weeks travels, and I managed to curl up with a good book. Perfect weekend!