Hiking Tent Rocks, New Mexico

Hiking Tent Rocks, New Mexico is like being on an alien planet.  According to Wikipedia…

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, located 40 miles southwest of Santa Fe, New Mexico was established as a U.S. National Monument by President Bill Clinton in January 2001.

The area owes its remarkable geology to layers of volcanic rock and ash deposited by a volcanic explosion. Over time, weathering and erosion of these layers has created canyons and tent rocks. The tent rocks themselves are cones of soft pumice and tuff beneath harder caprocks.

A 1.2 mile (1.9 km) recreation trail leads up through a slot canyon to a lookout point where the tent rocks may be viewed from above. A 1.3 mile (2 km) loop trail leads past their base.

This is my favorite photo from the day…

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Positive Energy Adventure – Colorado/New Mexico – 8/2011 – Day 9

Today was a big day!  First, we drove 1 1/2 hrs. North to Abiquiu to a “real” cowboy’s land to horseback ride!  His name is Fred Espinola…and I learned more on this 4 hour ride than I’ve ever learned.  Having rode in Spain, Costa Rica, Texas, Indiana and Hawaii…not to mention a variety of places in Ohio…I discovered why horses usually gave me a difficult time.  They want you to show them who’s boss…(kind of like men).  I fell off of a horse in Spain because he wanted to eat grass on the side of a cliff and I let him.  A horse laid down with me on top of him (of course I had to jump off quickly) in Texas.  On the Loveland Bike Trail in Cincinnati, a horse tried to buck me off of him.  They used to love to scrape my legs against trees and fences.  At least I’ve followed the advice of getting back on a horse if you fall off!

I hadn’t ridden in 4 years so I asked for a nice steady horse.  Meet Charlie…the one-eyed horse.

Fred had us take a minute to close our eyes and visualize what our ride was going to be like…and to sense the connection between ourselves and our horse…pretty cool!

This is Fred…

This is Mitzi…visiting Fred from California.  She’s a sweetie!!

This is Tony Llama!

His horses are rescued Mustangs!

At times, we were riding along some higher hills/cliffs and I was afraid that Charlie (since he was missing an eye) wouldn’t be able to see where the cliff dropped off!

We got to trot/canter/gallop a lot…so I’m still sore a week later!!

Fred made me a little nervous when he said if Charlie starts to paw at the water…to pull him away from it…because that means he’s going to lay down in it!

Next, we stopped at Ojo Caliente Hot Springs to hopefully help with the sore muscles from riding.  Their sulphur-free, geothermal mineral waters have flowed from a subterranean volcanic aquifer for thousands of years. Over 100,000 gallons per day come to the surface, revitalizing those who soak in the long believed, healing waters.

SPA is the acronym for the Latin phrase Salus Per Aquas, which means “health through water.”

There was a European guy that hit on me…as I’m telling him about my bruises from horseback riding…he said I was sexy and he would kiss them for me…oh la la!!  I told him he had something in his mustache (a “booger”).  I’d want to know!

We only spent about an hour there…because we had a schedule to keep.  Next…we went to a piano bar called “Vanessie”.  The pianist’s name is Doug Montgomery and he is very talented.  It is a local’s hangout…if you want to sing…you tell Doug ahead of time and it’s great fun!!

Positive Energy Adventure – Colorado/New Mexico – 8/2011 – Day 8

This morning we hiked at Tent Rocks…as you can see from the photos it was amazing!  From Wikipedia:

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, located 40 miles southwest of Santa Fe, New Mexico was established as a U.S. National Monument by President Bill Clinton in January 2001.

The area owes its remarkable geology to layers of volcanic rock and ash deposited by a volcanic explosion. Over time, weathering and erosion of these layers has created canyons and tent rocks. The tent rocks themselves are cones of soft pumice and tuff beneath harder caprocks.

A 1.2 mile (1.9 km) recreation trail leads up through a slot canyon to a lookout point where the tent rocks may be viewed from above. A 1.3 mile (2 km) loop trail leads past their base.

 

Always look up…

 

It reminded me some of Cappadocia in Turkey.  There they call them the fairy chimneys…

I love hiking in beautiful places…it’s one of my most favorite things to do!  We went back to our rental to shower and made a healthy lunch of fish, broccoli and salad.

Next on the agenda…Cowgirl Bar & Grill in Santa Fe for a margarita and some chips/salsa.  Kathy’s friend…Chris…met us there.

We wanted to dance…so we checked out Evangilo’s, but the band hadn’t started yet.  We ended up at La Fonda’s again and the band Soulman Sam was playing.  It was so much fun…great band!

Positive Energy Adventure – Colorado/New Mexico – 8/2011 – Day 6

We got a late start today…left the rental at 9:45am…had breakfast in Santa Fe at the Zia Diner…nice place…good food!  We parked in the free public parking lot situated about 4 blocks away from the “plaza”.  The native Indians sell their jewelry/pottery under the portal of the Palace of the Governors Museum.  Since I’ve adopted the mind-set of “Collect Experiences…Not Things”, I was a good girl and only bought a shirt and some essential oil lotion on the trip!

This is the oldest house in Santa Fe…we took about 5 minutes and walked through it.

I went into this Cathedral…

There are some outdoor statutes and galleries around the plaza area…

This is the work of Bill Worrell…

a local artist that my traveling companion, Kathy, is friends with.  They are his signature “Shamans”!

We were invited to John Farnsworth’s house/studio.  We met online through my blog, which I think is pretty cool!  He’s also a local artist, who has a great spirit and personality!  His home was located only about 5 minutes from where we were staying.

That evening we went dancing at La Fonda…I wasn’t feeling great…probably the drinks in Durango the night before…and the altitude!

Positive Energy Adventure – Colorado/New Mexico – 8/2011 – Day 7

We went to the Santa Clara Corn Festival today.  The Indians from that particular Pueblo dress in their traditional garb and do dances.  There is drumming and it is a spiritual occasion.  It was a hot day and I didn’t have an umbrella…so I baked a bit.  We were there for about 5 1/2 hours…whew!  You’re not allowed to take photos…in fact I witnessed the security guards taking away a couple of the attendees cameras.  Kathy had met one of the Indian women who invited us to have lunch, so we located her home and enjoyed dining with them.

Photo courtesy of New Mexico Magazine

After cleaning up at the rental from the hot and dusty day, we walked along Canyon Drive, where all of the upscale art galleries are and enjoyed the variety of creativity that is alive in Santa Fe.  You’re not allowed to take photos inside…so I took them of the outdoor works of art…

As we were walking from gallery to gallery…something beautiful to look at everywhere…I looked up at this tree and found more beauty!

That evening we went to the famous outdoor “Santa Fe Opera“.  We had standing room tickets, but since they didn’t sell out, they let us sit down.  The backdrop of the setting sun was gorgeous.  This particular opera, “Wozzeck”,  wasn’t very good…but I enjoyed it anyway!

Positive Energy Adventure – Colorado/New Mexico – 8/2011 – Day 5

We left our rental near Durango, Colorado about 9:30am to drive to Santa Fe.  Along the way we saw some stunning scenery…

The route we took was through Pagosa Springs…Chama…Abiquiu and the photo below is of Chimney Rock.

We stopped at “Ghost Ranch“…

We arrived at our VRBO…which was another great deal…$59.00 per night with great views…

This was in the backyard…

I understand why so many artists live in Santa Fe now…

Positive Energy Adventure – Colorado/New Mexico 8-2011 – Day 1

My friend Kathy, from a hiking club through Meetup.com, picked me up from the Albuquerque airport.  She had been in New Mexico for a couple of weeks with another friend who left the day before I arrived.  She usually comes to Santa Fe every year.  She’s a school teacher and this is her escape from reality.  We were spending four nights in Durango, Colorado, five nights in Santa Fe, and the last evening in Albuquerque, where we would fly home to Ohio from.  We set off for the 4 1/2 hr. drive to Durango and stopped at the Aztec Ruins National Monument.  The Indians prefer that we refer to them as “ancestral grounds” rather than ruins.  It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and dates back to the 11th century!

 

This shaft of light coming through the ceiling was cool!  A tourist was throwing sand into the path of it, as you can see in the second photo below…

 

After leaving there, we drove on to Durango.  The drive was nice…the skies were blue and the rock formations varied in colors of pink, salmon, beige and brown.  We stopped at the grocery and then arrived at our VRBO (Vacation Rental by Owner) in the Cascade Village Resort, located 30 minutes north of Durango.  We got a great deal…$55 per night!  I made us a drink with Vodka and Mango Martini mix…so we named it the “Durango Mango…I want to Tango” martini.  While sitting on the patio soaking up the clean pine sky, we met some neighbors and spent an hour or two talking.  Two lovely couples – Craig, Steve, Sandy and Kay.  They gave us a tour of their beautiful condos.

It was a great start to our trip!

I’ve been to Colorado and New Mexico, snow-skiing, but never in the summer and not to these areas…so I was looking forward to the trip!