Day Trip from Taos

Day 22: Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Areas Visited: Taos, Rio Grande Gorge, Earthships, Ojo Caliente, Abiquiu, Red Rocks, Abiquiu Lake
Miles Driven Today: 159
Total Miles: 3,303

As Tom expressed in his blog post yesterday, we weren’t terribly impressed with the town of Taos. But we’re certainly enjoying the area around Taos, and the discovery of this beautiful landscape.

Today’s adventure was a testament to the phrase, “It’s not the destination, but the journey that matters.” Taos wasn’t our primary destination, but the home base we decided to use to explore the area. We definitely made a great choice.

We started the day at the Taos Pueblo. Incredible, but according to one of the inhabitants, the lands were only returned to the Native Americans that have been inhabiting the Pueblo for the last 1000 years in 1970. The lands were taken from the inhabitants in 1906. While the Pueblo is a tourist destination, it IS the primary residence for many of the tribal members. We loved the tribal members we met and the beautiful handcrafted items we saw.

Throughout the Pueblo, “Pueblo dogs” were running around everywhere. We had the foresight to put Jasmine and Juliet in the doggie stroller. While the Pueblo dogs were calm and friendly, our “non-barking” dog Juliet decided that she wasn’t too keen on some of the dogs; she barked at them. Juliet has become more bold and headstrong since we started this trip, and this assertiveness is another change in her. It’s fun watching her come to life.

Taos Pueblo

Taos Pueblo. Breathtaking views, incredible adobes, friendly people.

Taos Pueblo Chapel

Taos Pueblo Chapel

Creek running through Taos Pueblo

Creek running through Taos Pueblo

After we left the Taos Pueblo, we headed for the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. We had heard about the beauty of the Gorge and the heady views from the bridge, and we weren’t disappointed! As I’m afraid of heights, I had a bit of a hard time walking across the bridge and taking these pictures. It’s disconcerting to be that high and that close to ‘falling over.’ I don’t get the people who bungee jump here; um….NO. But the view was spectacular.

Rio Grande Gorge Bridge

Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. SCARY to walk across!

Rio Grande Gorge

Rio Grande Gorge

Just a small drop to the bottom

Rio Grande Gorge–just a small drop to the bottom!

After I stopped hyperventilating…er…admiring the view, we headed on to the Earthship community. Earthships are energy efficient dwellings that are self-sustaining and made with green materials. Their foundations and walls are built of tires and concrete. They are extremely energy efficient and built to naturally sustain a normal temperature of around 70 degrees without the need for additional heating or cooling. They have solar for electricity. They collect rain water and snow as water sources, and have a system to use grey and black water. There are three Earthship communities near Taos, but people all over the world have been building them. Very cool! You can rent one for a vacation stay; we thought about doing it, but the pet fees were too steep. It was fun learning about these unique homes and seeing one in person!

Earthship

Earthship Visitor Center

Earthship Front Door

Earthship Front Door – Fun, Functional, Funky

Earthship

Earthship – Beam me up, Scotty!

After we left the Earthships, we headed towards Ojo Caliente and Abiquiu. Ojo Caliente is known for its mineral springs and resorts. We stopped in to see the Inn and Spa, and then moved on to Abiquiu. While there wasn’t much to see at Ojo Caliente, we really enjoyed the drive and the open road.

Today's Open Road

Today’s open road

Abiquiu was the home of Georgia O’Keeffe. We stopped at the tour office of her home and studio at the Abiquiu Inn, but there were no tours open until the end of May! We tried to find Ghost Ranch, the place O’Keeffe loved to go to gain inspiration for her paintings, but…well…we couldn’t find it! It wasn’t where the GPS said it was supposed to be (from the address on their website). Oh well…again, it was about the journey, right? 🙂

However, in our search for Ghost Ranch, we came upon Lake Abiquiu and the Abiquiu Dam. All was not lost; in fact, I think the beauty of this place was yet another great discovery for the day.

Lake Abiquiu

Lake Abiquiu

On the way to/from Abiquiu, we passed through the Red Rocks area. On our way back, we stopped at a little turnout and saw this lovely view. We watched (what we thought was) a bald eagle soaring over this river, flapping vigorously to stay in place. It was a magnificent sight.

Red Rocks area

Red Rocks area

Red Rocks

Red Rocks

We took Route 68 back to Taos. We had gone up the High Road to Taos on the way up from Santa Fe. We were so lucky to not have missed the breathtaking vista of the Rio Grande Gorge going North on 68. Had we not gone to Abiquiu, we would have missed it altogether. My photo doesn’t do the view justice. When we came up over a ridge and saw this…Tom and I were both in awe and so happy to have seen this vista.

Rio Grande Gorge from Route 68

Rio Grande Gorge from Route 68

After a hard day of running around, we decided to go back to the Downtown Bistro for dinner. Once again, we had the Red Chile Soup…yum! This time, I remembered to photograph it before it was gone! I also had a couple of glasses of Stark Raving Red wine…yummy!

Red Chile Soup from Downtown Bistro

Red Chile Soup from Downtown Bistro

Tomorrow, we plan on checking out the Taos Mountain Ski area and sightseeing around town. We were going to go to Bandelier National Monument, but since it’s on our way to Albuquerque, we’ll visit when we’re on the road.

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