We packed the car and looked up Taos on my phone’s navigation app. It reported a drive of slightly over 3 hours ahead. The environment shifted slightly from lush green to a more desert like appearance over those three hours, but mountains in the distance kept a constant eye on us. The speed limit was usually 75 mph on old worn roads with spattered asphalt lines zig zagging, as if Jackson Pollock’s brother became a paver. The journey was smooth and peaceful, my head kept looking left and right, enamored by the landscape. At one point we saw an antelope walking a field in front of a mountain, we thought they only lived in Africa, so we were pretty excited to see him in New Mexico. We also saw lots of signs for horse and cattle crossings, the farmers don’t use fences in many cases so be prepared to stop for animals. The one sign we saw often warning us of their presence but we did not see the actual animal was an elk.
As we were minutes from Taos, we saw signs for a trout hatchery and I pulled over against the wishes of my family. The first 3 pictures above are from that stop, there was a lake filled with trout, but we got distracted by a fresh mountain stream and dipped our toes in the freezing water.
As we approached Taos, we saw a colorful cemetery, it was the most vibrant cemetery I’ve ever seen. I pointed it out to Jaclyn and she said that is where her grandfather rests. Our hotel was a block or two away and she visited it later by herself.
In the afternoon, we went to the Taos Pueblos which I believe are over 1,000 years old. We got caught in a trembling thunderstorm with icy rain. We explored the buildings where people still live, bought bric-a-brac and then we entered the church on the ancient grounds. The church was very dark (no electricity in the village), candles provided the only illumination. Winston and Dalia bought a candle each for a dollar, lit it by the light of other candles and placed it in the sand with the others. I encouraged the kids to stare at their candles for a minute and think about their grandmother who grew up in Taos, as far as I could tell, they were remembering and seemed touched by the experience.
It is already tomorrow and there’s much more to report on, but we still have lots to do. We are safe in Santa Fe now.