March 30 – April 9
We love Santa Fe! Mainly, because we had the best tour guides. Our friend Todd’s parents live there and they really set us up for success. We soaked up city life for a full week. We saw an acoustic set Todd’s dad, Fred, played within hours of arriving in town. Todd’s mom, Debbie, highly recommended the Farmers Market, so the following morning we went and it did not disapoint. There was live music, flamenco dancers, a fellow roasting peppers on a big rotating drum. Santa Fe has lots of hikes right around town, so after we ate plenty of breakfast pastries from the farmers market, we headed for a trail.
The following day, Easter Sunday, was the last day of the ski season. The ski mountain was only 45 minutes from where we were staying. We left downtown Santa Fe in full spring-mode…flowers everywhere, 65 degrees. We couldn’t believe after the short drive up the mountain, we were on a ski lift. We joined Debbie and Fred mid-mountain at Totemoff’s for a beer. We’d never been around for a final day of ski season, but it was a ski show complete with costumes and karaoke.
After several recommendations to go to Taos, we decided to take the suggestion. On our way from Santa Fe we stopped at Sanctuary de Chimayo. People travel to the church for its supposed healing powers and there was a huge pilgrimage there just a few days before on Good Friday. Its a modest structure, but still really beautiful. Pictures weren’t allowed inside, but we sat there for a bit in the quiet. Its certainly a moving place. I’m glad we stopped.
We found a small campground alongside a river outside of Taos. What we lacked in cell service was made up with our bedroom window view and unbelievably starry nights. Taos is small and since we were staying 20 minutes away in a canyon, we didn’t do too much exploring of the town itself. We did drive up the mountain to the ski resort to do some hiking. Their ski season had wrapped, but it still looked like a full-on winter wonderland. There were some dedicated skiers who were hiking up with their skis and skiing down – crazy people. We weren’t really expecting a hike in the snow and were only outfitted with normal hiking boots. We gave it a go and it was insanely challenging, but the pups were all over it. They loved it. It was perfect way to enjoy the last bit of “winter” before moving into the drier desert.
These little buddies were hanging out near our campground
March 26 – March 30
White Sands is rather remote. We stayed in nearby Oliver Lee Memorial State Park, half an hour away from the park. Going to White Sands was really the only thing on the agenda during our stay, so we went twice! A mid-day and sunset stroll. White Sands just pops out of nowhere thanks to an ancient sea, very old lake, and the elements breaking down gypsum into beautiful sand dunes. We loved our time walking the dunes with the pups during the day, but our sunset trip was the highlight. The shadows and light were completely breathtaking. Surprisingly, there weren’t that many people there. We wandered the dunes, practiced some tricks and took a seat for a top-notch sunset.
After leaving White Sands, we drove to a lake near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. T or C is a tiny town with hot springs and a Flintstone’s themed bowling alley. So, I guess what else do you need? We rung in my birthday and our anniversary with those action-packed activities. We stayed in Elephant Butte State Park on a hill overlooking the mountains and lake. Still a smidge too cold to swim, but it worked well as a backdrop for our short stay.
Tupelo prefers to dig in the sand rather than pose on it with me
Recovering from the endless digging
Lakeside Birthday Fun
March 10 – March 26
We began our travels heading west in mid-March. After celebrating the nuptials of Chris’ brother, Cory, and our new sister-in-law, Lindsay, in Wimberley, Texas we had the good fortune of some fun evenings in front of friends’ and families’ houses in Austin. Then, the training wheels came off and we were on our way west to Big Bend National Park. We stayed in a campground in Study Butte complete with an old timey graveyard. The Starlight Cafe in Terlingua was a short drive away and it was the perfect place for post-hike happy hours.
Big Bend is wildly beautiful and after lots of flat driving, it was a welcomed surprise. We did some morning hikes on the Lost Mine and Window Trails. Strolled through Santa Elena Canyon and completed a long hike with a vertical scramble (one of my new hiking terms) to the top of Emory Peak. We were warned about the mountain lions and bears, but thankfully did not cross paths with any. The warnings did not stop me from practicing my bear scaring skills when we heard a rustling in the bushes.
We stopped in Fort Davis for a couple of days and it was way. too. hot. We tried a hike, but the pups kept flopping to the ground and we drank all of our water too fast. We were so tired after our hike that we didn’t even stop to see the largest live rattlesnake exhibit. Filing that under “Regrets”.
The next stop was just down the road in Marfa. We finally Marfa-ed! We were able to spend an entire weekend enjoying the town while parked at the Tumble In RV Park. Delicious dinners at Stellina and Al Campo, a free fireside concert at El Cosmico, Pizza Foundation’s magic pizza. We learned how to make kale its very best self at the The Water Stop – add bacon jam. A celebratory end to a week of hiking in Big Bend. We strolled off our many meals, checking out the cute shops and galleries. Keep your eyes peeled in the pictures for the hat Chris bought at Communitie, a lovely shop with a charming shop owner who had some amazing trip advice for us. Chris also created a new mustachioed-look while in Marfa, but it did not last long.
West Texas was an amazing start to our trip, but we were super excited to put some miles behind us and roll over the New Mexico state line.
Our very hot hike in Fort Davis, home to the largest live rattlesnake exhibit.
Sitting in a tree at Al Campo in Marfa
In a field with Fritz