The first time that I went to New Mexico, I was in my fifth year of college. I drove from Buffalo to Chicago, flew to Albuquerque, spent a week hiking and camping, flew back to Chicago, drove to West Palm Beach for spring break, and drove back to Buffalo. I can’t really explain the itinerary but must have made sense to my twenty something self.
In any case, that was also the first time I was enchanted by New Mexico. Started in Santa Fe on a warm and sunny spring day, three of us stood on a street corner without talking or crossing the street. We just stood there for seconds or minutes. There were many colors to see, people to watch, and so much energy.
At a hot springs in the Gila National Forest two of us walked back to the car ahead of the others. Through a window crack, we unlocked the door and set off our car alarm. The canyon echoed with the alarm as the sun was setting in the canyon. It continued until our travel partners hiked out and gave us the keys.
Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
Truth or Consequences local convenience store offered soda and a pay phone. My parents were excited for our call and asked if we heard about the woman that escaped a kidnapper in the same town that day. We didn’t see anything unusual and hadn’t watched the news.
Crossing into Texas, we hiked Guadalupe Peak at sunrise. Forgetting sun screen, we ended up with the remarkable sunburns of tourist. Skunks woke us up at night as a mother and her liter spent some time ransacking our campsite. Disaster was narrowly averted.
The Trinity Site wasn’t even on my radar but we found ourselves there on a random day that was open for tours. I learned more than I wanted to know and left with more questions than answers.
Fast forward a few years to me living in Summit County, Colorado. We enjoyed several mud season weekends at La Posada and indulged in all the resort had to offer. We drank wine and shared appetizers with other guests while local artists gave guided tours of their work. The Tunnel of Trees from Northern Michigan was my favorite painting. Proximity to restaurants, art galleries, hiking, and my all time favorite consignment store are the best features of La Posada.
Taos, New Mexico
Since New Mexico consistently treated us well, we tossed Taos out as an option for our annual friends ski trip. The opportunity to check out the Earthships tipped the scale and we headed to Taos.
We stayed at the Burch Street Casitas. They offered a great downtown location, were locally owned, clean, and spacious. I would stay there again for sure.
Taos and Green chili
We took advantage of being able to walk to town by immersing in the local food scene. Our meals looked like this: Green chili beer, green chili bread, fried green chiles, green chili smothered burritos, pork green chili, vegetarian green chili, fresh lime margaritas, wine tequila margaritas, more green chili beer …
The drive to the ski area was easy and relatively brief. The skiing was good – I think – or at least the hiking and skiing was nice. The wagon shuttle service from the parking lot to the base area was a bonus.
The next day was cloudy and we were lazy. We looked to the Earthships for inspiration.
Earthships are built with natural and repurposed materials. You really need to go there to understand the architecture and commitment to sustainability. The tour left a bit to be desired but the purpose of the community was obvious. I felt equally inspired and conflicted.
The next day, on the way out of town, a friend wanted to buy some green chiles. CD asked the gas station attendant. An unusually long amount of time passed and he returned confused and empty handed. He had asked about buying green chilies and was offered a hook up of the family stash. In the end, he was pretty sure he was not longer buying green chilies and he walked away from the deal. We left empty handed, conflicted about living in an Earthship, and still loving New Mexico.
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