Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Western Vacation - Day 3: Ghost Ranch and an Evening in Santa Fe

Day three of our trip was probably the best Monday I've had in a very long time. We started with a perfect breakfast at Cafe Abiquiu. I had poached eggs on top of corn cakes, topped with a creamy chile sauce, goat cheese, basil, and bacon. O.M.G. If you are into spicy breakfasts you would love this one. After photographing some of the local fauna at the Abiquiu Inn (grasshoppers and lizards) we headed off to Ghost Ranch. They have a great hiking trail there that is free and open to the public. It is not terribly difficult but I would not recommend this hike to grandma.

We started at the bottom (photo on the left, see Chimney Rock in the background?) and ended up at the top, right next to Chimney Rock (photo on the right). It was about 3 miles, roughly 2 hours, round trip. We saw quite a bit wildlife, though on a smaller scale that I had hoped (I really wanted to see a mountain goat :) and, as you can imagine, some beautiful scenery. Click here for the panorama. And then click through the photos.

a lizard on the trail

I had remembered to put sunscreen on all exposed parts of my body part except my feet. And I was not wearing traditional hiking footwear. My chacos helped me get to the top! Miraculously, the tops of my feet were not burned. Steve had somehow missed a small crescent shaped spot on his neck when applying sun screen. That is how he got his Native American name - Red Moon Neck. He wouldn't let me take photos of it.

the magnificent chaco sandals

After that I had the fabulous idea to visit Ojo Caliente, a local hot spring. My vision of a natural hot spring (a small dirt trail leading to a a cluster of rocky, warm pools surrounded by a wooded forest area) and what we actually encountered (a resort with a restaurant and a handful of kitschy, tourist-trap shops) were two totally different things. I might have paid to soak in the pool of diverted natural hot spring water had I packed my own beach towel. I should have done my research. Anyhow we had a nice lunch. I think I might want to go back there some time.

Then it was on to Santa Fe! We checked into our room at Hotel Santa Fe, a very nice place that was just a quick jaunt on foot to the plaza area. I wanted to go swimming right away, but Steve wanted to shop. So we started wandering around town. First we found Kowboyz, a vintage western wear place. It was somewhat pricey but the woman gave us a good deal on some things. I bought a pretty skirt and Steve picked out an elephant skin belt with a beautiful western belt buckle (photos to come) and a vintage shirt. There were tons and tons and TONS of other nice looking shops. Santa Fe is definitely a shopping town.

We eventually made our way over to the Plaza where there was a live concert taking place. A beer seemed in order so we decided to go into a place called the Ore House for some libations. It had a large veranda upstairs over looking the plaza that seemed like the best place to enjoy some drinks and the live music. Steve had one of the best margaritas I've ever tasted and I had a local beer. However the service was TERRIBLE. I'm definitely going to yelp about that place.

Finally we enjoyed a late dinner at Tomasita's, a recommendation from Kaitlyn (a native Santa Fe-an). It was really good. We consumed large quantities of margaritas, blue tamales, and various desserts, all served by an extremely entertaining native Chicagoan who had been waiting tables in Santa Fe since 1990. If you see Adrian at Tomasita's, tell him we said hello.

a view from Chimney Rock


Laura said...

That's so awesome!

Krista said...

I have some Chacos too and I absolutely love them. I would wear them everyday except for the weird tan lines they are giving me!

Bob said...