Our visit has been too short, it has been wonderful to reunite with friends and spend time together in the beautiful cold but sunny southwest, escaping the wet, dreary and gray northwest for a time.


Old Town

We have time to explore some of  Albuquerque before our flight home so we parked in Old Town and to wander the streets bordering the plaza and little shops tucked away in the alleyways off the plaza.  The streets were void of people, odd so close to Christmas time but just like at home maybe they prefer the convenience of the outlying malls and big box stores to the smaller shops of old town.

San Felipe de Neri


Cactus Garden



Plastic Bottle Tree


Alley of Artists



Sun and Shadows





Tent Rocks

Cori & George at the trailhead

Cori & George at the trailhead

About an hour west of Santa Fe is the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, our hiking spot for today, another beautiful sunny day.   Tent Rocks is a remarkable wonderland of cone-shaped rock formations, a consequence of local volcanic activity. Six to seven million years ago, the Jemez Volcanic Field produced a pyroclastic flow that left pumice, ash, and tuff deposits over 1,000 feet thick.


Erosion rates varied according to the density of the rocks. Tougher rocks endured better, creating the precariously perched boulder caps on many of the tapering hoodoos that protect the softer pumice and tuff below.  Some tents have lost their hard, resistant cap rocks, and are disintegrating.  While fairly uniform in shape, the tent rock formations vary in height from a few feet up to 90 feet.


Another fascinating geologic feature are the slot canyons, narrow, twisting passageways carved over time by rushing water. Ponderosa and piñon pines grow along with desert plants like Indian paintbrush and Apache plume.




We explored the 1.2-mile Cave Loop Trail, an easy trek that leads to an above-ground cave and the Canyon Trail (3 miles round-trip) that ascends a narrow canyon with a steep 630-foot elevation gain. We were turned back by snow and icy trail conditions near the top and were not able to reach the top of the mesa. From the top a breathtaking 360-degree view of the tent rocks below, the Rio Grande Valley and the Sangre de Cristo, Jémez and Sandia mountains looming rewards the hiker.


Cave Loop



Nancy & Cori



Ghost Ranch

Awaking to sunny skies, we got a fairly early start, driving north about 1-1/2 hrs north to Ghost Ranch, near Abiquiú, NM.   The landscape is high desert and sprinkled with snow is more interesting than normal with the snow giving definition to the surrounding hills but it is not until we near Abiquiú that it really begins to get interesting. Sandstone cliffs begin to rise from the desert floor in layers of, red, pink and white.





We had planned to hike the Chimney Rock trail but on talking to the gentlemen in the visitor center we learned about a landscape tour on a restricted portion of the property to points where Georgia O’Keefe had painted and that sounded interesting to us so we signed up. Our friends continued with their plan to hike.

We had about an hour before the tour so George and I headed down the Box Canyon trail passing three Native American hogans en route. It is a really lovely trail, easy walking and well maintained.


Box Canyon Trail



Native American Hogan


Some of the buildings on the property were open and we had time to check out a few of them before the tour.






Back at the Visitor Center we watch a short film on the ranch and then took off in a van to different sites on the other side of Chimney Rock.









Canyon Road

We spent the afternoon strolling through the downtown plaza area and then headed to Canyon Road to check out the galleries and the wonderful sculptures.  It was cold but a beautiful day for walking.


Santa Fe Plaza Market


Itty Bitty Snow People


It’s Santa Fe . . . peppers are everywhere


Cathedral Basilica Saint Francis of Assisi

Canyon Road was not very busy, surprising so close to Christmas, where were all the shoppers?



A day at the beach brrrr


Standing tall and proud


A helping hand





Shadow Play

The Colorful Doors & Windows of Canyon Road














Museum Hill

A beautiful sunny day, still cold but it is sunny and we’ve been missing the sunshine!  When we have been to Santa Fe in the past we have been without a car, getting around on foot so we never made it up to Museum Hill and while not everyone is interested in spending too much time in museums we chose one, the Museum of International Folk Art. The Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian and the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, share the same hilltop location, as does the Santa Fe Botanical Garden.



Sculpture Garden


Apache Mountain Spirit Dancer


The Museum of International Folk Art displays items from more than 100 countries around the globe through their folk arts. The Girard Wing showcased folk art, toys, miniatures and textiles collected over the lifetime of Alexander Girard, an architect and designer who not only contributed his amazing collection but also designed the entire exhibition.


Pueblo Life



Festival Day


La Cocina




Beaded Figures

Beaded Figures

Another gallery featured flamenco from Spain to New Mexico with vintage videos and beautiful dance costumes.





One of the more touching exhibits was the in the Gallery of Conscience devoted to social issues.  Between Two Worlds: Folk Artists Reflect on the Immigration Experiences explores the human side of immigration through paintings and works on paper about immigrant journeys and the challenges of transitioning to a new home. Visitors are invited to partake in the current exhibition by telling their own stories; notebooks are stationed around the room.


A large trunk holds note cards you can fill out . . . the question to answer “If you could take only one thing with you to a new land what would it be?”   The card on top said “courage”. It was very thought provoking and moving.   A poem also caught my eye written by a 16-year-old girl whose family immigrated making Santa Fe their home.


We Survive

Every day as you wake up

People are already up and working

Up and waking

Up and running, for their lives

Crossing deserts, crossing rivers

Under the hot, burning sun

Through storms and rain

With thirst, with hunger

Overwhelmed, depressed, crushed, torn

Overall terrified, frightened

Scared that that will be the last day

Scared to be caught, because

They left their family; lost memories

They left their land, their language and culture

Because there weren’t enough jobs

Therefore no money, therefore no access to good education or to good nutrition for their

Family; no opportunities

They left to “the land of opportunities”

“the land of the free”

“the land of the brave”

They left and when the arrived

They were criticized, they were discriminated against

They were called ugly names like “wetbacks, beaners, aliens, illegal’s,

Brown people, brown people because we are not humans we are just colors

Yet, they still keep going

They still survive

We survive

I have a question, If Latin Americans are called ‘wetbacks’ for crossing a river

Then what are you ancestors called for crossing an entire ocean?


Santa Fe, New Mexico

We were invited by friends who were house-sitting in Santa Fe to join them for a few days and well, the idea of a sun break in December was quite appealing and the opportunity to visit with friends who, while they live in our area (Poulsbo), we don’t see often enough; it didn’t take long for us to say yes.

Santa Fe had received a few inches of snow just before we arrived and the temperatures had plummeted so it was still on the ground and the surrounding hills and mountains looked as though someone had sprinkled them with powdered sugar.

Our friends met picked us up in Albuquerque and we made our way north to their friend’s house located in the hills on the outskirts of Santa Fe.   It was a lovely home nicely tucked into its surroundings and offering beautiful views from every window to the juniper-covered landscape. The yard was filled with bird feeders and I would guess keeping them filled is full time job as they were rarely without visitors; under the trees the quail cleaned up whatever was spilled from the feeders.


Our home away from home in Santa Fe

The homeowners had left piles of books, magazines and maps of the area to aid in our exploration, it was overwhelming but with the help of Cori we settled on a trip north tomorrow to Ghost Ranch where Georgia O’Keefe called home for a period of her life and where she painted many of her most memorable scenes.