I finally got a chance to upload my vacation pictures and since there are so many of them, I decided to split them up into two posts for the two parts of our trip!
What did I wear on vacation, you may be wondering? I went for very casual and easy on this vacation since I knew we'd be spending a lot of time in the mountains hiking and staying in a cabin, and didn't feel like much in the way of high-maintenance routines or clothing. I brought a couple of dresses, moccasins, cowboy boots, a stack of Bakelite bangles, one purse, a few pair of earrings and some separates. It turned out to be a lot cooler most of the time than weather forecasts had led us to believe, so I ended up wearing my jeans and cardigan much more than I planned.
But it was warm and sunny on this day, so I threw on a favorite tie-back dress and cowboy boots for dinner out with family. I did a quick hot sticks set for a little bit of curl and eschewed my usual red lipstick (which I did pretty much for the whole trip).
New Mexico is a beautiful state, and we spent our time in the high desert in the mountains around Los Alamos (where we were visiting my dad and family) and Taos (where we stayed in a cabin). I've been going to New Mexico for my whole life and love it there.
One thing that was unsettling was seeing the landscape after the enormous Los Conchas wild fire that ravaged the Jemez Mountains earlier this summer, burning over 150,000 acres. My family was evacuated for several days while the fire approached the town (it didn't reach town, fortunately). To put it mildly, it was A Big Huge Deal. I didn't talk about the fire on my blog at the time but I did at least want to mention it after our visit.
The photos above were taken on a hike that was less than 2 miles away from the starting point of the fire (I'll spare you photos I took of some of the forest destroyed by the fire). In fact the trail is called the Los Conchas trail. It's in a beautiful location and fortunately was in the opposite direction the fire traveled. However the stream that runs through it obviously had become a raging torrent at least once due to post-fire flooding, which you can see by the wide muddy area and murky-looking water in the below photo.
Anyway, I was so happy we could still hike that trail! :)
One fun new experience we had was roasting chiles. Chiles are, not surprisingly, huge in New Mexico. It was chile season, so we tried our hand at roasting them at my dad's.
Well, Mel roasted. We watched.
While it was neat, this is the real way to get chiles, roasted by a professional! See them tumbling around in the roaster? They crank the handle periodically and around and around they go. The smell is intoxicating.
That was taken at a little roadside market, where they also had a seemingly unlimited variety of dried chiles to choose from. We brought home a couple of bags... that should last quite some time!
One interesting thing about their town is that there's a public stable, where residents can keep horses. There are also goats, chickens and even a few llama there, too. My dad's wife has two beautiful horses. This is Cinnamon doing a cute little dance with her foot as she eats. So dainty for a big horse!
There are more animals at their home. Two cats, a dog and two rabbits! This is Lucy.
And here we are in front of one of the barns back out at the stables. I just loved the weathered red paint.
One day we went on a little road trip into Georgia O'Keeffe country around Abiquiu. We stopped at the Ghost Ranch, famous for paleontological finds as well as being the inspiration for many Georgia O'Keeffe paintings and appearing in several movies (most recently Cowboys & Aliens). The vistas there are breathtaking. My pictures can't even begin to do it justice.
While there we visited their two small paleontology and anthropology museums.
The paleontology museum was named after paleontologist Dr. Florence Hawley Ellis. It was fascinating reading about her life and her work. The first job I remember saying that I wanted once I reached the age where kids say "I want to be ... when I grow up" was a paleontologist. In reality I went nowhere near that path, but I definitely still have a soft spot in my heart for it. So of course I loved a little museum named after a famous female paleontologist who started her career during the Great Depression.
This is a bad picture since this sign was above my head, but look how spunky she looked in 1941!
After Ghost Ranch we went to Echo Ampitheatre, a natural rock formation where you can hear amazing echos when you're right up next to it. It was raining when we first arrived, so we looked at it up through the rain drops...
The sky soon lightened, and the rain started to fade (though you can still see rains as white spots in the photo below)...
And then it stopped. Blue skies! This happens all the time during summer in New Mexico.
While we were leaving a couple walked up to the ampitheatre and started singing. Hearing their voices echoing was pretty amazing.
Here's a photo from a scenic viewpoint on the way back. Literally, it's one of those places where there's a sign that says "Scenic Overlook" by a wide spot in the road.
Stay tuned for the next part of the trip, including our little cabin in the mountains, a bit of thrifting, knitting, hiking, a double rainbow and amazing adobe buildings. :)