- Santa Fe,
Taos, and the Enchanted Circle
- We arrived in Santa Fe April 1st to a
blanket of snow. It was cold, but beautiful.
Fe Skies RV Park has great views in all
directions. We spent nearly two months in
Santa Fe and look forward to returning again.
It's one of our favorite RV parks in the US
with family hospitality and a great walking
- The downside of Santa Fe is the small
airport. On the other hand, we heard that
jets are on the way, so it may get much
- Although we'd visited the area once
before, there were lots of places to visit.
This time we explored a local park and took
trips north and northwest.
- The pictures below were taken in two
directions from our campsite.
- There are many great parks and hiking opportunities
within an hour of Santa Fe. The Santa
Fe National Forest and Pecos Wilderness are a good
place to start. We decided to stay close to home and took
a hike just north of Santa Fe in the watershed area off
Hyde Park road.
- One of the advantages to traveling is seeing
different wildlife. Being used to midwestern squirrels,
the Abert's squirrel looks a bit odd. It looks like it's
having a bad hair day. We also enjoyed identifying
different types of trees on the loop trail.
- Trip to Taos
- Often called the Enchanted
Circle Drive, we headed north out of Santa Fe toward
the "high road" to Taos. This mountain road led us
through many small villages that gave us an interesting
"small town" flavor. We were amazing how much the small
towns reminded us of so many other places we've visited
from Idaho to Kentucky. Of course, these small towns had
old adobe homes, cows wandering the streets, and
tumbleweed unique to the Southwest. However, they also
had prefab houses and run down trailer parks, closed gas
stations, and beautiful old churches like any small town
- Our first stop was Chimayo, a small weaving town.
Early in the nineteenth century, Santa Fe residents
requested that Spain send over experienced weavers to
teach their craft to settlers in the area. Two skilled
weavers, brothers, made the trip and settled in Chimayo.
The village has been know for weaving ever since. Our
first stop was at Ortega's Weaving Shop to look at their
excellent wool products; blankets, rugs, clothing, and
more. The Ortega family has been weaving here for eight
generations. Next door we also shopped in the gift shop
with great books and artwork. Annette purchased some
'antler' earrings; Larry picked out a quail woodcarving
for his dad.
- Chimayo is also famous for its church, the Santuario
de Chimayo, built by Don Bernardo Abeyta from 1813 to
1816. Legend has it that Abeyata was ill when a vision
led him to the site of the church, where he was
immediately cured. Filled with gratitude, he built the
small sanctuary. Pilgrims still collect small samples of
sacred earth from a hole in the floor in a back room,
believing that the dirt has curative powers.
- Up the road we found the small town of Truchas where
Robert Redford's film called the Milagro Beanfield Wars
was filmed. It was particularly interesting because Larry
had just been reading the book.
- Following route 76/518 from Chimayo, past Cordova to
Truchas -- once a Spanish outpost high on the mesa below
Truchas Peak (13,102). Truchas was founded by the Spanish
in the 1700s, More recently, the hamlet was the setting
for Robert Redford's filming of The Milagro Beanfield
War. On the Southwest edge of town we passed an adobe
building with a cross; our guidebooks pointed out that
this is the meeting place for the Brotherhood of the
Penitents, a secret religious society famous for
- Continuing on toward Taos, the winding road enters
the Carson National Forest. About eight miles on, we
stopped in another small Spanish town on the mountain
slopes, Las Trampas. When you think of "history" in the
US, you often think of the Northeast. Actually some of
the oldest structures in the US are in the southwest
including Native American pueblos and Spanish constructed
missions and churches.
- We visited the Church of San Jose de Gracia,
completed in 1776. It was dedicated to the twelve
Apostles; legend has it that only twelve men were allowed
to work building it. First defended against Apache raids,
the Church is one of the finest surviving 18th century
sanctuaries. We were awed by the paintings, the worn
floor boards, and the history surrounding this almost 250
year old church. The church is kept open with donations
and is still used as the local church.
- Across the parking lot we visited a small shop
featuring woodcarvings by a local family; some nice
walking sticks and bird and animal carvings fashioned by
a local man (Manual) and his son.
- As we headed to Taos we discussed what we thought
we'd find. We were surprised to find a very quaint small,
southwest town. In many respects we enjoyed it more than
Santa Fe. The shops were more inviting. Although
expensive galleries were found throughout, we felt
comfortable wandering and felt no pressure to buy.
- We continued on the Enchanted Circle Drive from Taos
through Eagle Nest and Questa, then back to Taos. We
enjoyed the great views and stopped in the Red River area
for some exploration.
- Shopping the "full-timer"
- During our first year of full-timing in
the motorhome, we've invented a fun shopping
game. Since we enjoy looking, but don't have
anywhere to store purchases. We pretend that
we're buying. On this trip we "spent" nearly
$15,000 pretend dollars. We found a $4000
dark brown buffalo leather love seat, a
matching contemporary metal sofa table, and
an original painting by a local artist. We
discussed how nice they'd look in a mountain
retreat made of adobe and log. One of the
first things we learned on the road was how
nice it is not to be bound by material
things. Most of the fun in shopping is the
anticipation of buying, not the buying and
- Updated 5/02.
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