Tuesday, June 14, 2016

day 8 (santa fe and albuquerque) and going home

after los potrillos the night before, we went to our hotel in santa fe. the next morning, we went first thing to a nearby audubon park. an entire park devoted to birding. we drove up into the sangre de cristo mountains, parked at the entrance, and then explored the park. (as an aside, i have to say that i love the name sangre de cristo--it is such a religiously vivid and poetic name for a mountain range.)

 our updated list of birds.

 it was nice up there--with lots of high desert trees.

 of this series of shots, this one is my favorite. i turned it into my screen saver. i always like pictures of me and b when we just look happy.

 we were disappointed to find that we weren't really seeing any birds as we walked through the trails. we may have seen a juniper titmouse, but we didn't get a good enough look at it to be sure. at the end of the trails, we came to an overlook. it looked down on to a patio area behind the visitors center. there were lots of bird feeders back there. and that's when we realized that this was the place to look for birds. we saw a lot of birds there. including the broad-tailed hummingbird--which is the one hummingbird we had been hoping to see. it's on top of the tree in the foreground. it has a very bright red throat. 

 this one just hung out on top of this tree for a long time. as it would move its head from side to side, you could see the sunlight catch its red, shimmer throat. it was really nice.

 we walked around the garden/patio area.

 we then crossed to the other side of the park and walked along a little stream. but we didn't see any birds over there.

 we did end up seeing a black-headed grosbeak though. it's on the edge of the feeder.

 that is always a nice sighting too.

 after the audubon park, we drove back into santa fe proper and went to some shops. 

 if only you could take home several--or even one--ristra. the problem is they would fall apart in your luggage.

 they're so fun though.

 we found lots of cool files.

 we bought a few, but it was hard to decide on which ones to get.

 there's nothing like being in nm too to make you feel like you need a cow skull. we didn't get one, but you do want one.

 i liked this man figure among the chickens and donkey.
 we spent a fair bit of time trying to decide what type of metal sculpture we should get. 

 we liked this parrot but knew it wasn't practical to bring home. finally, we decided on either a cactus or quail. it was a tough decision, but we opted for the quail. it's now outside our house, and we love it.

 the rugs! so many rugs. i wanted dozens of them (and also that mustard yellow couch). but, alas, navajo rugs are expensive. but i enjoyed looking at them.

we also went to a salvation army. we found a few things--including an awesome vintage polyester blouse and a cool vintage sweater. i love them both so much. whenever i see them and wear them, i can think fondly of our trip to nm.

 we went into the downtown part of santa fe. we heard that the palace of the governors would have a lot of artisans selling their jewelry. we parked in a parking garage and found this very familiar site. a becak! although in the us they are called pedicabs and are not nearly as affordable as they are in indonesia.

 while we were out and about, we saw a few drivers out. we talked with one driver who agreed that they were overpriced. he thought there should be a different price for tourists than for locals--where tourists could pay more than locals. we all agreed, though, that tourists probably wouldn't like that.

 a nice entrance to the public library.

 we liked the painted columns here. and in the bag, i'm holding a rug we bought. it wasn't a navajo rug--they're so lovely but so expensive--but it was hand-made by indians in oaxaca mexico. and so it was affordable. i wonder if you were in oaxaca, if navajo rugs would be affordable and locally-made oaxacan rugs would be expensive. the rug is really nice--it has a tree of life bird design on it and is now sitting comfortably in front of our gong.

 we stopped in the big downtown cathedral.

 and were surprised to see a woman becak driver. the whole time we were in indonesia, we only saw one female becak driver. chalk that up as another difference between becaks in the us and becaks in indonesia.

 outside the church was a nice statue of a native indian woman. (note her boots--i came to learn that those big, thick white boots are very traditional around this part of nm).

 who had on jewelry and was holding corn and other items.

 the inside of the church was much fancier than the other, more rustic catholic churches we had seen throughout our travels in nm.

 i can enjoy a nice cathedral. and i did very much enjoy the paintings behind the front alter. but i almost always prefer a church that's a little rougher around the edges. 

 look at those macaws.

 and the native-looking woman with the turtle at her feet. they were cool images on the back wall.


once we were done in the downtown area, we made our way to kakawa, a chocolate cafe. they specialize in hot chocolate drinks. b and i shared a chili chocolate drink that was enak sekali. dark and rich with a spicy chiliness to it--a bit sweet, but not too sweet. it was nice. then we thought we should probably get the hard-core aztec drink that is 100% chocolate with no sweeteners at all. the kind folks there let us sample it first though, which was nice. because it was very interesting to try a sip of, but i didn't need a whole cup full of it.

 it was a small cup of the chili chocolate drink, but it was remarkably just right. don't get me wrong--i could have happily had more--but it was so rich and intense that it was enough.

 a close-up of the coyote fences we came to admire in santa fe. maybe we will choose to have a coyote fence at our house.

that evening, we drove back to albuquerque. we went to one last goodwill and then went out to eat our last meal at a local favorite new mexican food place near unm. it was good, and we got to eat outside in the mellow evening air. it was a great way to end our new mexican adventure.

 the final tally of birds.

 early the next morning, we returned our rental car, caught the shuttle to the airport, and made our way home. we were back home and working by about 9am. 

ah, new mexico. really it was every bit as great as i always knew it would be. it was the perfect way to celebrate 15 great years of marriage. we had a wonderful time, and i'm positive we will go back!

days 6 and 7 (los alamos and bandelier / taos and santa fe)

we woke up sunday morning and enjoyed the breakfast part of the b and b. it was a really nice breakfast. we both had blue corn pancakes with scrambled eggs, fruit, etc. 

 i know it looks like i'm drinking coffee, but it's just water. the owner of the place had some very large jade plants.

after breakfast, we made our way to one of the wards in town and attended church. it was ward conference. after that, we went back to our b and b quickly to change and throw our stuff in the car and then headed back to bandelier.

 we went on a hike on top of the canyon and made our way down. on the hike, we saw a lizard.

 and some beautiful cacti.

 i like these two shots of the curling leaf.

 we got down near the visitors center and saw the abert's squirrel. b had hoped we'd see one. they are funny little creatures--bigger than your average squirrel with big, tall, bushy "ears." we actually ended up seeing a lot of them.

 we then went on a hike that took us further down frijoles canyon in the other direction. we walked near the stream most of the time. here is a series of shots of me bouncing up and down on the little bridge.

 as you can see, i was having a good time. (and, yes, these are in fact three different pictures.)

 we saw a pretty mangy looking deer.

 some beautiful flowers.

 and, of course, some of our beloved yucca.

 we made it to the waterfall (which is the destination on this hike).

 a thistle.

 it was a really pretty hike and waterfall.

 i like the shadow here.

 the green ribbon off in the distance is that old rio grande. it was our first view of it.

 we enjoyed having our binoculars on this hike and all over bandelier. we saw lots of new birds here. while in the monument, we saw western tanager, virginia's warbler, pygmy nuthatch, hermit thrush, white-breasted nuthatch, canyon wren, american goldfinch, warbling vireo, chipping sparrow, hepatic tanager, and grace's warbler. all of those birds in just 1.25 days. wah! the best bird we saw--and, undoubtedly, one of the best bird sightings we will ever have, was when we were almost done on this waterfall hike. we looked up and saw a flash of red and then the bird itself. it was the hepatic tanager! it was a beautiful and rare bird. at first i thought it was a vermilion flycatcher, which based on its appearance was not a bad guess, but as soon as we saw the hepatic tanager in our book, we knew that was the bird. it was a highlight of the trip for sure.

 when we made it back to the visitors center area, we were greeted by more abert's squirrels. they are fun little animals.

 we camped that night at the bandelier campground. it was a beautiful night. we went for a little walk (i'll admit i was hoping to see an owl) and enjoyed the fading light.

 during our trip, we kept a little business card-sized paper attached to b's jacket, and that's where we kept track of all of our birds. here you can see our progrss as of may 22nd.

the next morning, we woke up, packed up our stuff, and hit the road. we were on our way to taos! along the way, we stopped and looked around the rio grande recreational area. these folks look like they were in for a fun time.

 feeling the rio grande. it's such an iconic american river.

 some lovely bush flowers at the visitors center.

 we drove into the recreation area and decided the best way to try to see birds would be to just park and walk along the side of the road/river. so that's what we did. we saw an oriole, but, unfortunately, didn't see it well enough to know which of the two orange orioles in the area it was. that was a bit painful. it would have been nice to add an oriole to the year's list.

 what a patch of cactus. although we weren't able to id the oriole, we did see the rufus hummingbird, black phoebe, yellow-breasted chat, and yellow warbler. the black phoebe was new new for us, and a chat is always a fun bird to see.

we got back into the car and drove on the rest of the way to taos. just outside of taos proper, we stopped at a neat mexican ceramic/tile shop. we both really love mexican ceramics.

 and they had this super cool roadrunner/catcus metal sculpture. how fun would it be to own this?! sadly, it wasn't for sale though.

 we drove on to the taos pueblo. this was where we paid our entrance fee (which was substantially more than our guidebook had told us it would be).

 cool supporting beams.

 we were able to walk right into this pueblo and then could join a tour if we wanted to. there wasn't a set fee for the tour--you just paid a tip at the end.

 this was b's favorite pueblo we visited; i couldn't really choose between the acoma and the taos--they were both great but in different ways.

 the back side of the taos catholic church.

 it's a striking church.

 the courtyard in front of the church is where we met our tour guide.

 there were lots of gift shops in the pueblo.

 an horno and ramada-type covering. i'm not sure what these are called, but we learned they are used to dry out meat. you put the meat on top of them and let the sun do its work. 

 we weren't able to take pictures inside the church, but i loved seeing the catholic statuary inside dressed up in clothes, shawls, ribbons, etc. our guide told us that they change the statues's clothes for each season. the springtime clothes are all pink--so mary, jerome, and the other figures were all in pink. dressing up the saints was something i wrote about in my paper way back in college--so it was cool to see this in practice.

 taos is so picturesque. we loved seeing all of the ladders and ristras (dried chili pepper decorations).

 and b liked all of the shadows they made.

 we both like old cemeteries, and this one was no exception. the crosses in the foreground with the mostly-destroyed old catholic church in the background is something.

 our guide, luis, telling us about the hornos.

 some of the old, falling apart structures. 

 this is looking toward the oldest part of the pueblo. these structures date back hundreds of years. (and check out those mountains in the background. the taos own that land for dozens of miles. they have access to the headwaters of the red willow stream that flows into the pueblo. luis told us that the water is clean and that the people in pueblo can just drink straight from it.)

 the taos people are also known as the red willow people. both seem like lovely names.

 these colored corn kernel necklaces caught our eyes.

 i'm sure i would have bought some if the owner would have been around.

 we liked the bison on this door.

 clay/adobe bricks.

 the structures are really beautiful with their clean lines and earthy colors.

 what appears to be an interesting kiva-type structure--perhaps. the tall wooden beams stretching into the sky are impressive.

 we were able to freely walk around much of the pueblo, but not everywhere. 

 we ate a fry bread taco in the pueblo for lunch. it actually wasn't the best meal ever, but we got to talk to a young woman who was working there with her grandmother. the young woman told us how she likes to go fishing and hunting in the mountains behind the pueblo. we told her a bit about how we like to go fishing in utah.

 i just love the look of this place. no wonder georgia o'keeffe and others were drawn to this area. (note the drum leaning against the wall. we did see a lot of drums in this pueblo--more than any other pueblo we went to.) 

 i love this ristra--the chilis and corn. 

 i liked this door a lot. it looked like a watercolor experiment.

 b asked this man if he could take a picture of him and his horse. he obliged us. 

 we made our way back to the cemetery. 

 a close up of some of the things that have fallen by to the ground from the headstones. you'll see that the flower in the middle of the picture has the visage of the virgin on it. we thought that was interesting.


 after the cemetery, we walked out of the pueblo. we went to the bathroom. we liked this sign in front of the bathroom--about the reserved parking for the governor and warchief staff only.

 we also liked the name of this road.

 we stopped in the town of taos and looked around a few shops and then made our way to ranchos del taos, which is where the iconic chapel is that georgia o'keeffe painted. it was being re-adobed on one side of the building, which meant we couldn't go inside it. but the outside was beautiful.

 the shape, lines, color--it's lovely.


 not all of the buildings around the church are taken good care of.

 it was cool to see some people working on scraping off the old adobe, prepping the wall for a new plastering.

 we stopped by the gift shop, which had neat little catholic trinkets at it. 

 i always love the interesting artistic representations of mary that catholics make and sell. i often think how i'd like to own some--for its artistic merit--but i just can't ever figure out how to do that. so i just admire it when i see it.

 i nice little candle alcove near the chapel.

 look at that! it's clear why georgia loved this church. how could you not.

after seeing taos, we drove down to santa fe. we found a hotel to stay at, went to a goodwill, and then looked for a place to eat. thankfully, we found los potrillos.

 los potrillos didn't look extra special from the outside, but it had plenty of ambiance inside (burlaps curtains and big, fake cactuses). but the really great thing about the place was its food. b ordered sopes, and i got an al pastor dish. both of our dishes were so good! this was one of the best mexican places we've ever been to, and they served dishes you don't often see. 

 we were sad to leave los potrillos, but once all of the food was gone, it was time to go. we will always think fondly of our little colts!