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Month: June 2009 (page 1 of 3)

santa fe adventures

We’ve been quite busy the past couple days hanging out in the greater Santa Fe area. Today is the first day we’ve really just hung around the house, venturing out only for dinner and a walk through the downtown area.

The past three days, though, have been filled with adventure. On Wednesday we visited El Rancho De Las Golondrinas (The Ranch of the Swallows). This place is rich in history. It dates back to 1710 and [singlepic=463,250,250] Mountain Gravescomprises buildings and artifacts that range over a 250 year span. The historic records indicate that this site was the last encampment before reaching Santa Fe after the long trip on horseback from far away Mexico City. It is here where Mexican and Native American culture mixed, contributing much to the culture of New Mexico today.

Thursday we took a drive to the Randall Davey Audubon Center to do some hiking and get in a little birding. This wildlife refuge covering 135 acres at the mouth of Santa Fe Canyon is the home of over a hundred species of birds, 120 plants, and a wide variety of mammals. We hiked along the mile-long loop trail and thought we had scared all the birds away, as we saw very few. (I’m sure it had little to do with our louder-than-most five-year-old.) We did observe some beautiful views, though, an amazing dragonfly up close, an interesting array [singlepic=464,250,250] A Patient Dragonof cacti, and more beautiful rocks than you can imagine. (We were walking all over them.) Just as we were about to leave, we noticed a small garden through an archway and beyond the restrooms of the visitors’ center. Apparently, this was where all the birds were hanging out. We saw a bunch of hummingbirds (which was cool for me, because I had only seen one once before in my life.) I snapped a bunch of pictures, but they are fast little buggers, that’s for sure. The Audubon Center proved to be a nice little escape–and just a short drive from downtown Santa Fe.

Friday we ventured out a little further and made the hour-long drive to Bandelier National Monument to [singlepic=465,250,250] Hummingbirdhike and visit the ruins of the ancient cliff-dwelling ancestral Puebloan culture. This was amazing. We climbed amongst and even into wonderfully preserved cave homes dating back between 1100 and 1550 AD. On the way to Bandalier, we stopped at a White Rock Overlook, just off state highway 4. Nestled within an otherwise typical suburban neighborhood, we found a small park with stunning views of the Rio Grande River Valley and faraway red mesas dotted black with distant Junipers and Ponderosa pines.. On the way back, we pulled off highway 285/84 to snap a couple photos of “Camel Rock.” It really looks like a camel.

We took so many photos over the past three days, it’s difficult to share them all here. To give a little better taste, I’ve assembled some of the highlights below in this quick slide show.

santa fe, nm – day 1

We rolled into Santa Fe, NM early this evening. The ride was good; we finally ventured off the interstate [singlepic=461,200,200]From Amarillo to Santa Feand took some secondary highways for the last three hours or so of our drive into Santa Fe. We meandered through the mesas dotted with Ponderosa pines, the scents actually filling the air as we sped 75 miles per hour (the posted speed limit) into the hills and then through the high lonesome planes. We drove three hours and passed scarcely as many cars in that time. The only signs of life were the occasional heads of cattle grazing in the distance.

Once in town, we grabbed some fish tacos from a local establishment and just relaxed on the upper deck of our rented house. I made a few photos. Here’s our view.

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from the yellow rose of texas

[singlepic=458,200,200]From Tulsa to Armarillo…

We rolled into Amarillo, TX this evening. They call it the yellow rose. The drive in east on Interstate 40 took us .
through a barren and vast landscape. A real sense of loneliness overtakes you in such places. We drove for miles, seeing scarcely a fellow motorist–let alone an open gas station which we desperately needed. We saw several abandoned on the high planes, but it took us nearly to fumes before we rolled up to a Texaco station. We saw no one, paid at the pump, and moved on. I don’t know. The vast emptiness was oddly comforting, but eerie at the same time. I took no pictures until arriving into Amarillo, which had the uniqueness of the land give way to the ubiquitous strip mall. Granted my time in Amarillo has been limited to just a few hours around the hotel strip off the highway, but I haven’t been too impressed. I long for the openness of the lonesome highway. I think we’ll hit the road early in the morning.
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