Sunday, September 25, 2011

Santa Fe, New Mexico

We left Pueblo heading to Santa Fe, New Mexico,with an elevation of 7,000 feet.  On the drive up we snapped some pictures:

Entering New Mexico - this area must have had a fire a few years back because all the trees are burned.

Climbing up in elevation - lots of greenery in the mountains.

Along with mountains we also see mesas.
Santa Fe in the background.  Most of the buildings are adobe.

Santa Fe is the capital of New Mexico.  The buildings and homes are mostly adobe and usually not more than two stories high, even in the downtown area.  In the early 1900's, the city embraced the Pueblo Revival style to reflect the architecture of the Pueblo Indians.  Today you can easily see the mountains from anywhere in the city and the adobe style is a great representation of the southwest.  Once settled in, we decided to visit the Old Town part of Santa Fe which is the tourist area.  It has some beautiful old churches, many, many shops, and a street cordoned off to allow local artisans to display and sell their ware.  While there we checked for a restaurant that had authentic Mexican food.  We were told to go to The Shed.  The entrance way was a small door that led into a large patio area with several shops and the restaurant accessing it.  We ate outside in the patio and had enchiladas with chili sauce and pinto beans and posole (a type of dried corn cooked with pork and other ingredients).  It was delicious!  They also served beer from the local brewery that we just had to try, too.

The award winning Shed
The Shed - this is the place!

San Miquel Church - oldest church structure in the United States, circa 1610.

There were many expensive art studios with their work displayed outside.  These works were carved from wood.

Old Town Santa Fe.

Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis Assisi.
Another neat place called  the Rainbow Shoppe.

The closed off street with the vendors.  Most were Native American Indians.  Brett looked at a small piece of hand designed pottery that was only selling for $500.  He didn't buy it.  

Sculpture of sleeping bears made from wood.

 We decided to go hiking the next day and found a trail head in the Atalaya Mountains.  The area is close to downtown Santa Fe and many people use it for exercise.  We started our hike at approximately 7,000 feet and decided to climb Picacho Peak with the pups.  The trail is a series of switchbacks that climbs to over 9,000 feet.  Along the way we met people who were also hiking with their dogs, people who were climbing it during their lunch break, and several really buff guys (very young, I might add) who were running up the mountain.

We hiked at a reasonable (doctor approved) pace because we didn't want to show anybody up.  The first hour wasn't too bad......even saw a lizard.......and the weather was comfortable with shade from the trees keeping us cool on the path.  Did I say path?  It was maybe a foot wide and much of the time it was climbing over a series of rocks that represented the trail.  Now how can you run on that!  The trail was marked at junctures which  showed different climbing areas of the mountains but it was confusing so you had to be careful to not get lost.

The second hour was more aggressive hiking because the trail was much steeper.   With a higher elevation there was less oxygen so our hearts were really pumping.  I won't even mention that most of the people who passed us going up were now coming down!  We continued on with me having to stop every few minutes to gasp some air.  I am proud to say we made it to the top and took some wonderful pictures of the Santa Fe Valley to share with you. 

It took us two hours to climb up and I won't even mention that we got lost on the way down, which took another hour and a half.  Yes, we took the wrong juncture and wound up doing some extra hiking but finally made it back to the car.

Climbing the Atalaya Mountains.
Our little lizard friend.  Can you see him?

View of the Santa Fe Valley from Picacho Peak.

Another view of the city from the top.

The 'mountain man' at 9,121 feet.

Wild flowers high up in the mountains.
Next we are heading down to Albuquerque which is 60 miles down the road.  I hear they have some wonderful hiking trails. too.  Hmmmm......        Peace to all.

For our trivia buffs:
The city of Santa Fe has been around for over 400 years and is the state capital.  But how long has New Mexico been a state?
New Mexico  was accepted as the 47th state in 1912.  This coming year they are celebrating their centennial anniversary and have already redesigned their vehicle license plates to reflect the occasion.

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