It’s been a few weeks. Lots of writing, travel, and so much more mischief! I’m going to talk about a recent trip to New Mexico in early November.
A little over a year ago, my friend texted me a photo of this place called Meow Wolf. She played dinosaur bones that made noises like a neon xylophone. She said we had to go. That was the genesis for the trip.
To be fair, I’ve been fascinated by the desert for most of my life. (And places like Mount Everest and Antarctica too. Something about harsh places). I had been obsessed with Arizona as a child and finally got to live the dream going to Tucson. But that was it. I had never been back. So when the opportunity arose to go to New Mexico, I was game.
We took an early morning plane on a Friday morning and arrived in the late morning in Albuquerque. We rented a car so we could see more of the area down there.
What beautiful country! The desert was everything I was hoping. I’m not sure I can truly describe them so here are some photos.
During our first drive out into New Mexico, we had an amusing occurrence. We were trying to find a restaurant for some lunch on a nearby reservation when we saw a small creature barreling towards us on the road. As it got nearer, we realized it was a chihuahua running happily towards us. Of course, we were charged at by a chihuahua! Fortunately, we were not its target (and it was a pretty happy dog it seemed) so it went off in search of adventure, off the road.
We had our first meal at a rest stop on one of the reservations outside of Albuquerque. That’s where I got to try my first frybread and sopapilla. I got a frybread taco, which was basically like the tacos I’m familiar with but with frybread instead of a tortilla. It was delicious! Sopapilla is fried dough that is often eaten with honey. Also very tasty – a bit like a lighter donut. A very satisfactory start to the day.
Afterwards, we took a short hike at the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. Tent Rocks look like what they are called; they are these conical looking rocks. We learned that they were made millions of years ago from volcanic eruptions. Sometimes you might find obsidian pieces, called Navajo tears (there’s something about that name). We had been told by several signs not to take them or any other rocks in the park. In addition to the tent rocks, there were shrubs of various sizes and we were walking below some beautiful cliffs. I also saw a blue bird, which maybe a Steller’s Jay or Mexico Jay. Not exactly sure.
It was exactly what I was hoping we would do! We briefly journeyed to a nearby man-made lake created with an enormous dam. As we drove away, a giant roadrunner ran across the road! Chihuahua and road runner in one day!
We drove into the center of Santa Fe to check out the downtown area. I was really excited to find a little art shop that had a lot of ledger art. Ledger art is ink or pencil drawings on old documents, like account books. This art shop had more contemporary versions of ledger art, which was really neat.
We wandered into of the main squares in Santa Fe and saw that they had already decorated for Christmas. With peppers. Throughout New Mexico, we would see these beautiful strings of peppers called ristras. I’d never heard of it before so it was neat to have that slice of culture.
After checking out the area, we decided it was time to go to Meow Wolf, which is a little bit from the center of Santa Fe. Since it is such an amazing adventure in its own right, I’ll write about it in the next post.