Friday, June 10, 2005

Harvey House, Albuquerque and Home to Houston

Since Friday is my traditional rest day, I didn't go for a run. Instead I got up early, collared Dan and took him out for a morning walk. It was so peaceful out there, with the cool air and the sun just beginning to warm things up. We went to the drops, to the cemetery and back again.

Then we hung around the house awhile, eating breakfast, sipping coffee, watering the plants and just hanging out. I packed my bags and washed our towels and linens. I made Dan empty the wastebaskets, since my Dad doesn't run a hotel, after all.

Finally it was noon and we could head in to town to see the Harvey House Museum. We'd wanted to see it for years, but with their limited hours, it was tricky. "It'd better be worth the wait," Dan mumbled, having spent the morning bored and restless.

And was it ever worth the wait! For those who are interested in the early years of the Santa Fe Railroad and their wonderful Fred Harvey hotels and restaurants, the Belen Harvey House Museum is quite a treat! They have pictures, artifacts, scads of information, and what's really cool is they let you pretty much have the run of the place. Go upstairs, go in the kitchen, go behind the cigar counter, it's all just fine and dandy with them! Even though the place was quite small, we spent over an hour poking around, and I ended up buying a Santa Fe mug and a book. My father heard me gushing over architect Mary Colter's accomplishments with the Santa Fe and Harvey House system and bought me a book about her. Yay!

Then it was back to the farm to drop off my dad and load up the car. Santo Niño looked just right between the old photos and the lamp, without my various face creams blocking his view toward blessing the room. The bed was freshly made, there were a few organic soy products in the fridge that my father would probably never think of consuming, and after a hug and a promise to see him in a month when he would be in Houston, we were off.

We got into Albuquerque with time to spare, so I suggested we go back to the aquarium, since my Pisces hubby had expressed an interest in seeing the fish. Poor boy loves the desert and mountains but gets antsy when he's away from water for too long. So we went to the aquarium, and even poor little fish-indifferent me found it fascinating. It was a very small place, but extremely high quality, with several huge floor-to-ceiling displays that made you feel like you were right down there on the sea floor watching the sharks and sea turtles swim above you. I especially liked the jellyfish displays, since they included the kind that light up in the dark. Weird stuff.

Then we walked around the botanical gardens a bit, checked out the butterfly center, and then figured it was about time to go look for a gas station. We thought for sure there would be a gas station somewhere near the airport and car return, but we drove a long way before we found one. But we had plenty of time, so no pressure. We got the car turned in, caught the shuttle to the airport, got checked in and settled in to wait for our plane. For some reason, my purse set off supsicions among the x-ray people, so I had to wait around awhile while they dug around looking for who knows what. I would've been more amused if they hadn't copped such an attitude when I merely asked that they allow me to put my shoes,watch and jewelry back on while they did whatever they needed to do. Why waste time, right? Weirdos. At least they had the decency to seem embarrassed when they found nothing more threatening than my athsma inhalor and powder compact. Big-time terrorist, that's me. Last year they thought I was going to blow up the building with my Maine blueberry jelly, so we're getting somewhere now, I guess. We found our gate and settled in. There was free wireless in the building, but it was so slow that I gave up. It didn't help that the Japanese man next to me thought it would be fun to look over my shoulder. Excuse me, but aren't the Japanese supposed to be known for their good manners?

The flight home was supposed to last two hours but we must've had a tailwind because it took 1:45. On our way out we flew over the salt lakes, which looked exactly like the map the park ranger had shown me, imagine that. She had said that the lakes were on private property, but there were so many dotting the landscape that having seen them from the air, I find it hard to believe that there's no public access to any of them, unless it's reservation land or something.

Coming in over Houston, we tried to pick out familiar landmarks in the dark, locating the Williams (formerly Transco) Tower, downtown and University of Houston. I know the flight path well, and there was a lot more we should've been able to see, but it was 10:30 at night and our windows were foggy with humidity.

We found our luggage without any trouble, caught the shuttle to the car park, loaded up and headed for home. It was a hot muggy night, that reminded us how pleasant the desert can be. Yes, it gets hot in the sun, but once you're in the shade and after the sun goes down, it's always comfortable. In Houston, you need air conditioning, no two ways about it. And the traffic! Already I'd gotten used to the lighter, saner traffic of rural New Mexico, where even when someone does something stupid, it's just one person on a mostly empty road, as opposed to five people doing stupid things all around you at the same time.

But we made it home safely and the animals were very glad to see us. Our neighbor came by to drop off our grocery bag of junk mail (where does it all come from?) and give a report. Tidbit had obviously come to adore her because she ran up for an ear rub and then flopped on her side, peaceful and content to be surrounded by her humans.

Dan and I were hungry, so I scoured the kitchen for something edible. Prospects weren't too good, but I found a few tortillas, a bit of goat cheese and two eggs. I had some soy milk that was still good and some dehydrated vegetables that I hadn't yet had an opportunity to work with. No time like the present. I rehydrated them in a few seconds with warm water, whisked them into an egg and soy milk mixture, scrambled it all up and then pressed the mixture between goat-cheese slathered wheat tortillas, heating them up like quesadillas in a skillet on the stove. It turned out pretty good for a quick meal made with almost nothing.

Then it was time to unpack, read a bit of news online and have some tea. Everything was in its proper place, I had my animals around me again, and all was right with the world. In the morning, Dan took our empty suitcases down to storage.

Until next time!
Bosque Cemetery, with recent family graves in the foreground Posted by Hello
Bosque Cemetery. Note all the decorations! Posted by Hello

Thursday, June 09, 2005


I began my last full day in New Mexico with a morning run. Since we'd seen the black dog along the creek, I figured I'd try a different route. I went to the drops, going first down the side nearest our property, where we had played as children and where my cousin Laura fell through the ice when we were all in town for my grandparents' fiftieth wedding anniversary in '76.

When I got to the road, I went back up the drops on the other side, to the other road at the back, and since the near side was blocked off by fencing to keep out cars and four-wheelers, I retraced my steps back along the drops, making a sort of U shape. Then I climbed the barrier to the road behind my father's house and took off toward the cemetery road. Unbelievably, there was that stupid black dog, just a bit beyond my father's property, barking at me on the road! I found a two-by-four on the ground nearby and no sooner had I picked it up when the dog decided I meant business and backed off, but I quickly found a smaller but equally sturdy stick and ran with it until I was well enough past that area that I could lay it down in a spot where I could pick it up again later if I needed it. I contninued on to the cemetery, halfway back down the hill, around another little trail I found, then back to the paved road and to the post office and church where they ring the bell for my family's funerals. Then I went back up the road, picking up my stick before going past where I'd seen the dog, but it was gone now. Then I climbed the dirt barrier, ran around the drops again, and headed home.

Shower, breakfast, coffee, long chit-chat.

Then we headed in to Albuquerque. My father thought it would be fun to walk along the bosque trail, which apparently winds around for miles in the city and its environs, a paved way for runners, walkers and cyclists. We had trouble keeping up with signage, but finally found ourselves at an aquarium and botanical garden that also boasted access to the bosque trail.

The trail access was tricky to find, and trail was almost completely without shade (Dudes, where's the bosque?) but it was a nice walk and it took us to the river and a couple of canals leading off of it. Then we went back to the place we started, got back in the car and went to Old Town. We'd walked for a couple hours and were hungry. We found a nice little Mexican place that offered salads, then we browsed the shops for awhile. Dan did some shopping for souvenirs for his family, but I just looked.

By now it was after five, so we headed home, took a little nap, then headed over to my pay a visit to my Uncle Mike and his new wife, Emily. They live in a big house on several acres of nice land a couple miles from my father. We found Emily watering her grapes and Mike filthy and tinkering with a truck in the garage when we arrived, even though they were expecting us. Mike has always been a strange one. But their dog, Pepper, was very friendly and held up a paw for me to shake, didn't jump or bark or any of that other irritating stuff that poorly trained dogs will do. Nice critter, that Pepper!

We were finally ushered into the house and Emily gave me the grand tour. I found the place a bit too new and fancy, like Emily was trying a bit too hard. I much prefer a home that feels cozy and looks like someone didn't go to every expense to make sure every little thing matches every other little thing. But it was nice and I must've made all the right compliments, because she gave me a little statue of the Santo Niño, which had been my grandmother's favorite. Not being a Catholic myself, and not being able to think how a santo would fit into my decor back in Houston, I was a little unsure what I would do with such a gift, but since it was obviously from the heart, I was glad to have it.

We then spent an hour all chatting around the rather too big and fancy marble kitchen table, then figured it was getting late, so we headed home. I set my Santo Niño on the dresser in my room, next to the picture of my maternal great-grandparents and it looked so appropriate there that I resolved that this should be its home.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Indian Ruins

I woke up early and went for a run. I sure have come to love these early morning runs in the country! I ran along the creek, up the road one way to the dead end, back the other way to the cemetery road, up to the cemetery, back down, further up the road to the post office and church, then back to the creek road, past the house, around the other side to what we kids always called "the drops"-- a water control waterfall thing of some kind, and then walk back home. This route was about four miles.

After my shower and after we all visited over a leisurely breakfast, we piled into the car and headed north to see the Indian ruins at Abo, part of the Salinas Pueblo system near the town of Mountainair. We drove through an area called Bernard, which has no town center, and is basically a stretch of county road dotted with people living in dusty eyesore trailers with yards full of wrecked and rusty cars and campers. It's stunningly ugly and we all wondered aloud just why people would accumulate so much useless, ugly crap.

But we made our way through that stretch of road and on up the mountain, admiring the long trains, some with four and five engines at the front, as they waited their turns to navigate the mountain passes.

Finally we found the turnoff for Abo, and were pleasantly surprised to find that there was no park fee. Nor was there a ranger on duty. The sign said "Out to Lunch." We laughed. Only in such a small little corner could they get away with that in America. Luckily they had a pleasant custom of leaving guides to the grounds stamped with a bright yellow "Loaner Copy - Please Return" sticker, stacked neatly in a wooden box outside the ranger station. So armed with our guide, we headed into the ruins.

What we found was a lot of ruined pueblos, some covered over in grass, and the melting adobe remains of a missionary church. It was rather like Pecos, but smaller. The area had once housed over 2,000 people, but climate change and attacks by nomadic tribes had driven the Pueblos and missionaries away. One of the oddest things I read in the guidebook was that these Indians had been big salt traders. I hadn't seen any obvious sources of salt, so when we finished the tour and found the park ranger back from lunch, I asked. The ranger showed me a map in a book and pointed out the little dots of the nearby Salinas lakes. Of course-- Salinas. My father and I shook our heads, feeling rather stupid.

Dan bought a book about Hispanic villages in New Mexico, but although I was tempted by some of the books, I didn't buy anything. Since there were other ruins in the area and we had time, we moved on.

Next we went to Quarai, since it was closer than Gran Quivira. We zipped through the little town of Mountainair, through some nice horse country, and found the little park. Although it was 2:30 in the afternoon, the ranger at this ruin was out to lunch as well, but just like the other park, admission was free and loaner guidebooks were in a box outside, so we got a guide and went for the little tour. Everything at this site was smaller and the population had topped out at about 800. The church ruins were quite a bit higher though, and we came across some rangers and student volunteers doing maintenance on some of the walls, so they were able to tell us a lot about what we were seeing. We then followed a little trail to a creek and pool surrounded by wild roses which smelled heavenly. There was another little nature trail through the fields, but we were hungry and decided it was about time for lunch.

We headed back into Mountainair and stopped in at the Firehouse Restaurant, which seemed the least scary of our options in that dilapidated little town. It turned out to be an excellent choice. The restaurant was small, but very clean, nicely decorated and with a good menu that included a surprisingly well-stocked salad bar. No wilted lettuce here! We settled on green chile enchiladas, which were delicious, as were the beans and tortillas. We finished our luch with pie and felt very satisfied with life.

After lunch, we wandered onto the town's main street just to look around. We wandered into a crazy, wonderful shop that was sort of a catch-all emporium that carried everything from snacks to baby goods to silk flowers, sweaters and drill bits. It was all such a marvelous jumble that we had to walk every single aisle, gawking like country bumpkins and exclaiming over the surprise of finding laundry detergent in the same shop with art supplies and china figurines. I found a whole shelf full of Beatles jigsaw puzzles in tins, and bought one for my brother. I found the laundry soap I use at home at an abusurdly low price, but couldn't buy it because shipping it home would'nt have made any sense. Had I had the space in my luggage, I would've filled a basket (had the store provided them) with strange and usefull stuff, but instead I made just a few small purchases while Dan asked the owner a few questions about inventory. "Inventory?" the man asked. "There's no way I could inventory all this! I've owned this place seventeen years and never done an inventory." He seemed to think the notion was hilarious.

We also checked out a shop advertising itself as a soad fountain, but it wasn't nearly as weird and wonderful as the first store we'd encountered. And we went into a hardware store that seemed to be as much a taxidermist's as a supplier of hammers and fertilizer.

By now it was late in the day, so we headed back home, skipping the road through Bernard and going a different route instead. It was a little longer, but more scenic.

When we got home, Dan and I took a nap, then we all sat up late snacking and visiting. We went for a little walk and were surprised to find a black dog loose on the path and seemingly eager to attack until my father found a nice sturdy stick. No fool, the dog kept his distance after that.
Ruins at Abo Pueblo Posted by Hello
Our new friend at Abo ruins Posted by Hello
Mission church ruins at Quarai Pueblo Posted by Hello

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

View From The Top

We woke up feeling much better than we had the night before. We had a quick breakfast in our room then headed to the mountains. When we stopped in Hyde Park for Dan to see if there were trail maps available, I asked a young mother who looked like she had packed her SUV for any contingency if I could give her a dollar or trade her a Clif bar for a piece of foil. Of course she was happy to give me some foil for free, but I would've felt bad not offering something in return.

So when we got to the head of the Big Tesuque trail, I wrapped Dan's uneaten dinner from the night before in the foil and set it on the dashboard in the sun, thinking if things went right we just might have a hot meal waiting for us once we were done hiking.

Our first trail attempt ended badly. The trail ended after only a few minutes, and the other little trails that appeared to lead off from it were in fact only clearings in the rocks and brush. Just because I'm descended from conquistadors doesn't mean I was in any mood to make my own trail, so we went back to the trail head and chose again.

This time the trail meandered along nicely, over streams, through a small meadow and on up the mountain. At one point Dan made the mistake of asking a nice looking older lady how far the trail went and we'd still be there today if I hadn't continued on without him, providing him a convenient excuse to break off the conversation. People just love talking to Dan for some reason.

We got to the end of the trail and found ourselves at a small dirt service road. There was another small trail that continued into the woods, and I was prepared to take either one. We decided on the service road and since it was steep but fairly clear of debris, I took off, figuring if I walked fast enough I could probably count the hike as a long run because the thin air and the climb put me into a hard aerobic state almost immediately. The trick, of course, to living at sea level and hiking at or above the aspen line is good steady breathing.

Fairly soon, I lost sight of Dan, but I figured he couldn't be too far behind me. We were timing our hike, and that also gave me what turned out to be a fals sense of confidence in our arrangement. I didn't realize he hadn't worn his watch, so while my watch slowly ticked down the 90 minutes and I was thinking that Dan wouldn't be looking for me before the time was up, he lost all sense of time and became worried. We both learned a few lessons on that one.

But anyway.

The road continued up forever, with lots of turns and switchbacks. I would stop and check out the view from time to time, and once I got into the area where the snow still hadn't melted, I had a great time admiring some surprisingly deep banks, walking in it, scooping out a handful from time to time. It was amazing that the snow just went on and on, even in June. Sometimes the road would be muddy from snowmelt and sometimes the road itself was covered. I hadn't seen anyone for over an hour when I came across some mountain lion tracks in the snow. Hm. This made me ponder my situation for a few minutes. It's one thing to know from books that wild animals avoid roads and don't attack humans unless they are provoked or driven by drought to seek out other territories and food sources. It's another matter entirely to be alone on the road with the tracks right there in front of you.

I decided to trust the experts on these matters and continued on my way, but a bit more cautiously than before, keeping a closer eye out for any sounds or movements in the woods. Although there were no people around me, there were recent boot prints in the dirt and mud, so the road seemed to be fairly well traveled.

Finally, with only about twelve minutes left on my watch, tired legs and a head full of thoughts about turning back, I rounded one more turn and found myself on a high ridge overlooking the valley below. It was stunning, and seemed like more than a just reward for my hard work. I spent a long time walking back and forth, admiring the view, but eventually became intrigued by a rocky prominence higher up the trail. From my vantage point it was hard to tell if it was the ruings of a man-made structure or something created by nature. I had about five minutes left on my watch, so I figured I'd go on a little higher and see if the structure was close enough to reach.

Sure enough, it was quite close. The trail was steep and the last several feet were through a snowbank that was ankle-deep in some places, but when my watch beeped at me, I was so close that I shut it off and kept on going. Finally, breathless, I climbed out of the snow and over some rocks to find myself incredibly at the top of a peak with a green meadow sloping away to my right, tall granite boulders warming in the sun in front of me, and off to my left, the valley, the road I'd traveled and the sides of the mountain.

Words don't describe what I saw or what it felt like to be alone up there, with the most heart-wrenchingly beautiful views in every direction, no signs of human depredations except the snowed-over trail winding away back down the mountain. I've climbed to the tops of mountains before, but never one where there were no other people, nothing made by man, no sign that another human had ever been there. It was one of the great art masterpieces of the world, and it wasn't there for me or for anyone. It was just there and for a few minutes I was priviledged to see it.

I was so overcome, I laughed. I hugged a big warm rock. I cried. I placed a small rock at my feet on top of the tallest of all the boulders. My own simple monument.

Finally I started reluctantly down off the peak, running through my mind the things I would tell Dan about it. I was beginning to think he had tired and sat down to wait for me. But instead I was overjoyed to find him trudging along at the edge of the snowbank. He kissed me and hugged me, told me how worried he'd been, and then told me how he'd spotted me from below up among the rocks on the summit. "I underestimated you," he said. We went on up to the rocks again, and after he'd looked around for a bit, we sat down on a flat rock that had warmed in the sun, and had some Clif bars. We stayed up there a long time, but eventually we both were too cold and there was still the whole mountain to get back down.

So we headed down, stopping to take a few pictures along the way. This time we stayed together, as much because we were both tired as anything else. My boots were hurting my by this point, too. I really need to buy some hiking boots without ankle support because all they've ever done is bruise my achilles tendon. I'm prone to twisting my ankle on things, including flat city sidewalks, but because my ankles are so flexible I always bounce right back like a cartoon character, so I think I'll get some new boots before my next hike.

At any rate, by the time we finally found our trail down off the service road, I had a knot on my left achilles that was making my calf cramp up and causing all kinds of other weird problems, and the only thing keeping me from continuing on in my socks was the technical nature of the trail. We finally hobbled back into the parking lot, and I got my poor bruised feet out of those stupid boots! I slipped into my clogs, with a notion of soaking my feet in the stream nearby, but I quickly was set straight on that matter. Why that water was in a liquid state remains a mystery to me, because it felt like ice.

I sat down at a picnic table while Dan retrieved my food experiment from the car. He set it down in front of me with a big grin on his face. "Is it hot?" I asked.

"It sure is!"

I opened it up, and sure enough, the green chile quesadillas were hot, the cheese had melted, and the rice was exactly right. Not bad for having been in a fridge that morning, and for me not really knowing if the foil trick would work or not. We were starving, so scarfed everything down quickly and finished with bread pudding and honeydew melon. It was all single-person portions and there were two of us, so we knew we'd be hungry again soon, but it was great to have a hot meal waiting for us after a three hour hiking on a snowy mountain.

As we were packing up to head back into Santa Fe, Dan got to talking to a woman who had lost her dog and was posting flyers. Supposedly the dog had been spotted over the past few days, each time a little further down. So as we drove toward town, we kept an eye out, but didn't see Buster the dog.

In town, we went to see the Martyrs' Cross, which stands on a high hill overlooking the city. Neither of us had ever been there, and we both found ourselves sighing in mock frustration over the steeply winding path up to the cross. But the way was punctuated every few feet with a plaque that discussed various key events in New Mexico's history, so that was fun. And at the top was the cross dedicated to the friars who had lost their lives in the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. We're more sympathetic to the Pueblos than the missionaries, so we gave that a miss and just enjoyed the view. A bit higher up, on a dirt path, was a beat-up wicker chair that seemed to afford an even better view, so I climbed up there to take a look. I found a surveyor's marker of some sort and the chair, obviously put there by some local who probably likes to sit there in the evenings and watch the town below. There were other trails leading off in different directions, but I'd had enough of trails, so we headed back to our car.

By now we were hungry and it was just past five, so we went to our Indian restaurant for some tandoori chicken and saag paneer. Then we headed down to the farm in Belen to take a little evening stroll with my father and tell him all of our adventures.
This is a bridge? Posted by Hello
Crossing a stream on Big Tesuque trail. Posted by Hello
Aspens along the trail on the mountain Posted by Hello
Snowbank along the road up the mountain Posted by Hello
Print of a mountain lion in the snow, right beside the trail! Posted by Hello
Final ascent to the summit! Posted by Hello
View from summit, overlooking a mountain meadow Posted by Hello
Relaxing at the summit Posted by Hello
Dan walking in snow at summit Posted by Hello
Snowbank just below the summit, with the dirt road I took in the distance Posted by Hello
Heading back down the mountain Posted by Hello

Monday, June 06, 2005

Back to Santa Fe

Well, it wasn't our intention to return to Santa Fe. Really.

We got up early and after a light breakfast, packed the car and headed north to Las Vegas (NM, not NV), intending to make a day of it and spend the night. But once we got there, the things we had intended to do were either closed or not nearly as interesting as we had thought they would be. We packed a lunch to Storrie Lake, where we tried to eat our food before it was blown away by the local hurricane winds, and we pondered our next move.

We finally decided to check out Fort Union, a bit further north. That turned out to be a lot of fun. It's a decaying 19th century fort, part stone, part adobe, sitting right in the middle of the Santa Fe trail. Almost all the foundations are still there and just enough of the walls that with a little imagination you can see what it must've been like.

We spent over an hour wandering the grounds, trying not to let the winds get to us. Honestly, I felt like Lillian Gish out there! Nevertheless, I was game for a run along the Santa Fe trail, but Dan wanted to head back toward Espanola to see if he could catch his friend at the cybercafe. Well, okay. We had just been there two days before, but I went along with it.

We didn't find Dan's friend, but after we left with our coffees in tow, we got to bickering over whether to go on to Santa Fe and spend the night or head back to Belen. I would've preferred Belen, since it felt silly to go back to Santa Fe and it would've been cheaper to go home, anyway. But we ended up in Santa Fe, mostly because we both love each other enough to fight over who gets to give the other what they want. That led to the odd paradox of two grumpy people in an overpriced hotel. But hey, it had a hot tub and wireless, and so after I left Grumpy napping on the bed and got me some takeout, I was able to finally settle in and update this travel blog.

At some point, I'm going to get pictures posted. Really.
Castaneda Hotel, part of the Harvey House system along the Santa Fe Railroad Posted by Hello
Courtyard of the Castaneda Harvey House in Las Vegas Posted by Hello
Former mechanics' row at Fort Union Posted by Hello
Jail at Fort Union-- sturdiest building there, since it's still standing! Posted by Hello
Ruins of hospital at Fort Union Posted by Hello

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Sandia Peak

We got up, sleepy and stumbling around at 6 am and hurried to get out the door for our hike up Sandia Peak. We met my Uncle Lorenzo and he led us to the tramway, where we left his truck and then took our car to the trail head a bit up the road. We got the last space in the parking lot that wasn't occupied by cars or a prayer circle of religious-minded teenage hikers. Hey, kids, would Jesus block parking spots if it wasn't necessary? Hm?

So we took off up the trail, and for awhile it seemed pretty easy. It was uphill of course, and it would eventually top out over 10,000 feet, but when you're fit, it's just a matter of breathing properly. So I breathed and admired the scenery and views, breathed some more and pondered the gradual change in foliage from desert cactus to pine and aspen. I kept on breathing even as we got to where rockslides had covered the trail with nasty ankle-twisting rocks of all shapes and sizes. Grrr. Not fun. And then I nearly quit breathing as runners training for the annual Luz Trail Run went galloping past us like the rocks, the sheer dropoffs, the loose gravel, the tight switchbacks and the thin air were nothing at all. WTF? I was in awe.

We passed several stretches of those nasty rocks. How dare they make me think, breathe and climb uphill all at the same time? Incredibly, we even had to tramp through some snowy patches as we neared the top. Funny to be wearing a sleeveless top, feeling comfortable, yet find large patches of snow in the shade.

We finally reached the tramway at the summit, 7.8 miles and 3.5 hours after starting out and settled in gratefully to a snack of almonds and oranges. Then we bought tickets for the ride down, admiring the vistas all the way. Once off the mountain, we headed into town to see my cousin Chris, who had been spending the weekend with his parents but was heading back to El Paso in only an hour. We got to my aunt and uncle's house and were immediately introduced to their new dog-- a sweet greyhound named Tess whose coloration gave her the appearance of having borrowed a few eye makeup tips from Cleopatra. Tess had a visitor for the weekend, a little brown dog named Sadie who Chris was petsitting. The two made a funny Mutt and Jeff pair and frolicked around the yard while we all sat in the back sipping cokes and eating cupcakes.

We spent a pleasant hour visiting, but soon we all needed to go our separate directions (except my aunt and uncle of course, since it was their house). My aunt gave me a whirlwind tour of all the recent updates to their home (they redecorate more often than some people change their underwear) and told me about how she won $4K at an Indian casino after feeding $7 of a found $20 into a slot machine. No, Aunt Mercy, I'm still not tempted to go to a casino, but you do have a way with money! And what did she buy with her winnings? A fancy tool cabinet. No joke. She was the only girl among 7 boys and would rather go to Home Depot than Macy's any day.

Our visit over, Dan and I went to Whole Foods to pick up some deli food, since Dad was in Santa Fe. We got home, took a nap, then got up and had a nice dinner of chicken, veggies and salad. Then we watched the wild rabbits play and forage in the field until it got dark. We finished the day by staying up way too late watching Hotel Rwanda. I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn't seen it yet. Very moving and really makes you think about a whole lot of things.

Saturday, June 04, 2005


Since Saturday is my long run day, I got up early and headed out to the trail along the arroyo. I only planned to do six miles, but figured that would be enough. I was unclear how far the trail went, but ended up doing an easy six among the desert flowers and foliage without having to do any looped repeats-- just a simple out and back. Dan walked part of the trail while I ran and got some pictures.

Then we got some coffee, went back to the room, cleaned up and packed. Then we took off to the plaza where I bought a few things for my staff and petsitter. As it turned out there had been a little 10K run in downtown Santa Fe and we happened upon the awards ceremony. The race was so small I think I could've placed in my age group. If we come back at this time next year, I'll definitely sign up for this race!

Next we were off to Whole Foods, where we bought salads to accompany our picnic lunch of leftover tandoori chicken from the night before. Then we went to Pecos to see the pueblo ruins. It was really great-- lots of old stone walls, kivas, etc. There was also a melting adobe church from the Spanish missionary period. Fascinating stuff, and all on a high bluff with the most spectacular views. It was obvious why the natives would've built in that spot because you could see for miles in every direction. It definitely gives one an Ozymandias moment to see all those ruins and to think that once this was a thriving population just like our own.

After we toured the ruins we had our picnic lunch, then headed south for the farm. We got there in good time and took a nap. Dad had spaghetti waiting for us when we woke up and then we headed out for an evening walk in the quiet countryside. It was all very nice. We came home and spent some time chatting over tea on the patio before turning in later than we wanted around 12:30. We had an early hiked planned for the morning!
Pecos Pueblo mission church  Posted by Hello
Mission church at Pecos Pueblo Posted by Hello
Inside Pecos mission church Posted by Hello
Kiva at Pecos Pueblo ruins Posted by Hello