I am not really great at sitting still. I have always had an abundance of energy, kind of like a puppy that you need to run until it passes out. That being said, here is a day in the life of me and New Mexico.
I made my way from Santa Fe to Bandelier National Monument around 7 a.m. in a foggy down pour. Moral was high but I was convinced I would be exploring in the rain. The park is 48 miles northwest of Santa Fe and has some beautiful archaeological sites, but has been ravished by fires and floods. I watched a 10 minute video on the flash flood of 2013, it was epic. The cave dwellings, ancient foot paths, and mesa houses were built out of the flood zone. The ancestral Pueblo people were smart.
I must have good karma because as I parked the rain tapered off and the sun poked out. There was only one other car. The park was mine for the taking. The first thing I did was run Falls Trail. This trail used to go all the way down to the Rio Grande river but numerous flash floods ravished the area preventing hikers from going any farther then Upper Frijoles Falls which is a total stunner.
This was one of the most peaceful runs I have ever had.
The clouds were beginning to build again but I decided I should take the self guided tour and experience the history Bandelier boasts. The main loop trail behind the visitors center did not disappoint.
On the way back to my car I stumbled across a sign pointing towards the Alcove House, meaning, I had to investigate. This ended up being the coolest thing I did all day. First off, rain deters people from going outside which is great if you enjoy having special places all to yourself. In order to attain the Alcove House you have to climb four 40-60 foot ladders and make your way through some ancient narrow foot paths. I had an absolute blast.
After I left Bandelier I drove Route 4 through the Jemez Mountains in search of a natural and free hot spring. What I got was a surprise blizzard (and eventually a hot spring). There was snow…. a lot of snow, accidents…a lot of accidents, and suicidal birds (I think they liked the salt on the road).
With some effort I found Spencer Hot Spring. It was a difficult and slightly dangerous hike (steep and slick) but SO worth it.
After a good amount of soaking and relaxing I braved the cold snowy ground and changed out of my bathing suit for the slip and slide out. At this point I planned on going back to Santa Fe and doing Santa Fe things but instead decided to check out Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument.
Tent Rocks is a small national monument located in the middle of privately owned sacred land. The ranger who greeted me was very nice and told me to go run Slot Canyon Trail. Once again I was outrunning the rain. This trail was an absolute gem. It winds through narrow canyons, passes underneath the tent rocks, and then aggressively climbs to the top of a ridge. A nasty storm rolled in as I summited.
At this point I was happy, dirty, hungry, and ready to pass out. And that’s a day in the life of a halfpint.
“Life is not a problem to be solved but an adventure to be lived”