A magical place in New Mexico is Santa Fe. Somehow returning here is like coming home. Yet, we haven’t stayed here since 2013. With the National Parks behind us, our plans can take us to some favorite spots and this is definitely on the list.We usually come to Santa Fe at the end of April or early May. This time – July – brings a different feel and actually thunderstorms. There always seems to be a terrible drought occurring here; and this year is no different. Winter snowfall this year was 17% of the normal. Of course, the year before was way over 100%. Seems like it is just the way everywhere.The high desert landscape is rich in color when contrasted with the bluest of skies and reddish mountains in the distance.After breakfast, we take a short hike on Camino Encantado with a former National Park guide. The hike is offered every morning at 8:30 am. The guide (forgot his name!) takes us on a loop trail right from the hotel.
Looking down on to our resort.
A view of Valles Caldera in the distance – near Los Alamos NM.We learn a few things about the area:
- The hotel was once a dude ranch until Four Seasons bought it and renovated it in 2012.
- The surrounding hillsides are filled with the wealthiest of homes and a few ‘movie’ starts reside here part time (Robert Redford is mentioned).
- The mountain ranges seen in the distance and nearby are all named and described.
- Piñon trees, juniper trees, cactus – are all named and described to us.
- The geology of the area is pointed out.
- What Santa Fe has to offer – the arts, restaurants and diversity of the people.
- Places to hike in the area – and unfortunately, some of these are now closed because of the very dry season. National Forest hikes aren’t open. However, Bandelier National Monument is mostly open – yay, we had planned to hike there.
- Relatives of the Anasazi peoples no longer want to be called that – they want to be called Ancestral Puebloans. (This is something we don’t remember from 5 years ago!)
- Over 22 Native American groups live in the area in Pueblos – not to be confused with reservations as they were given the land to live on way before the US government came up with reservations.
Quite a nice hike and some history to boot.Since we have a rental car, we decide as we adjust to altitude 7,198 ft today to drive to the grocery store and pick-up some bottled water and a few other items. When we get in to the rental car, the AIR CONDITIONING and everything on the dashboard – like the SPEEDOMETER – are not working. Yikes! With that, we drive to the airport and exchange the car for one that does work.Then run we our errands and are now back at Rancho Encantado, enjoying the relaxing environment and afternoon monsoon. Tonight we have dinner and the opera “Candide.”