As the Wildebeest pulled into Santa Fe Skies RV Park, our home for a week, we know that it was appropriately named. The majestic views seemed to call us to explore the enchanted lands of New Mexico that lie under these colorful skies.
Exploring Colorful Santa Fe
The skies of downtown Santa Fe framed the beauty of the southwestern architecture. Splashes of color was seen on the building faces,
in the surrounding plants and landscape,
and in the many shops hoping to sell us anything southwestern!
We weren't within walking or biking distance of downtown Santa Fe, but we did drive into the central city a couple of times. Our walking tour took us past San Miguel Chapel, the oldest church in the United States.
Its beginnings can be traced back to around 1610. While much of it has been redone, the colorful influence of early Native and Spanish people is still evident today.
Knowing that Santa Fe is the capital of New Mexico, we searched the skyline for the customary dome. But it is not to be found. The New Mexico capitol building is nicknamed "The Roundhouse" due to its unique round shape. Its four story design blends in nicely with the surrounding southwestern architecture.
If viewed from above, the capitol building looks like the Zia Sun symbol, highlighting New Mexico's colorful Pueblo and Hispano roots.
Loretto Chapel with its mysterious staircase was our next colorful discovery.
Its fascinating history includes the story of the mysterious carpenter who built the circular staircase up to the choir loft with no visible means of support.
After he finished, he disappeared without requesting payment or thanks. Many believe the expert carpenter was St Joseph.
On Sunday we went to Mass at The Cathedral Basilica of St Francis of Assisi.
There we enjoyed the colorful southwestern influence in both the artwork and the worship.
Our colorful Santa Fe tour would not be complete without a visit to a local brewery or two.
Craft beer and the traditional red and/or green chile ... we enjoyed the classical New Mexican cuisine making our trip to Santa Fe complete.
Being in the high desert, we did not expect much rain. But we did get a few brief downpours that seemed to "green up" our surroundings, whitened the distant mountain tops with snow and reinforced our belief in the "colorful" skies of this beautiful area!
Exploring Colorful Bandelier National Monument
During our time in Santa Fe, we took a day trip to Bandelier National Monument. The walls of rock, cut by the Frijoles Creek, bear evidence of the native cliff dwellers who made the area their home many years ago.
A series of ladders lead us up 140 feet to Alcove House for a glimpse of the ancient dwellings as well as a beautiful view of the surrounding canyon.
Ancient stone work intermingled with naturally blooming colors preserve the beauty of this sacred place of the Pueblo people.
Discovering the Colorful Volcanic Beginnings of Bandelier
After touring the cliff dwellings, Doug was curious about the volcanic beginnings of this area. He studied the park map and found a trail that would take us to an overlook of the original eruption area, the Valles Caldera. So we drove up a narrow, winding road that lead to the Cerro Grande Trail.
Once we got to the open grasslands, the views became more spectacular, but I became increasingly focused on getting to the top ... this was a lot harder feat than I was first anticipating!
Finally, after a grueling (in my mind) 1200 feet assent, I celebrated with outstretched arms ...
... and enjoyed the colorful skies and spectacular views of the Valles Caldera with my favorite hiking partner!
Exploring a Dark Past and Colorful Future
The controversial bombs, whose replicas are shown here, were successfully tested in the desert nearby on July 16, 1945 and used a few weeks later in Japan to force an end to WWII.
Fortunately, we hope, the nuclear science developments today are being used for the benefit of humankind. Colorful displays showed how nuclear advances in the areas of medicine, energy, and communication (to name a few) work to improve our world in a positive ... and peaceful way.
For it is only by working together in peace, that we can preserve these colorful skies for future generations.
Until next time ... be the peace in the world around you ... and enjoy the adventures in your life!Print this post