Our two weeks in Santa Fe gave us the chance to relax after seven weeks of what seems like constant travel. We wanted to reacquaint ourselves with the charm of Santa Fe Plaza, visit a few favorite restaurants and hike the Black Canyon trail as often as possible. Aside from that we looked forward to some “0” days just hanging out at home.
In this case home is Black Canyon Campground. We’re seven miles out of town but 1200 or so feet above Santa Fe in the Santa Fe National Forest. Shaded by aspen and large evergreens, the camping sites are mostly set back into the open woods and widely spaced for privacy. The sky, the breeze in the tall trees, the hummingbirds and chipmunks, and the Black canyon trail leading up to the ridge at near 9000 ft make this just about our favorite place in the world.
The weather is good and bad. It’s not too hot down in town, but up here it’s cool at night and perfectly sunny, breezy and pleasant every day. The bad is that even though it’s verdant – it’s nearly as lush and green here as at home in NC- it’s dangerously dry. There’s talk of the entire recreation area being closed if the predicted rain doesn’t come next week. The fire restrictions and the fact that the wells are dry so we have to carry water from town are a small price to pay to stay in such a luxurious outdoor setting.
Almost every day, there’s Santa Fe. The old town is no doubt urbane, with artist galleries, design studios and iconic restaurants in abundance, but it retains a serene and fully authentic southwestern ambience. One of the best new places we visited was the sculpture garden at the Cathedral of St Francis. We didn’t notice the “no dogs allowed” sign until we were leaving so we got away with a more enlightened dog. I think St Francis would like Sydney anyway.
Jennifer visited Mariam’s Well, a lady who teaches weaving classes in her home right off Marcy Street. Jennifer bought some yarn and learned a blanket stitch while Syd and I sat under a pole arbor and marveled at her tiny walled garden set just off the edge of the parking lot. There are a few small trees, some herbs or maybe flowers here and there, stones, metal objects, and a tiny statue or two. Everything is placed simply and maintained casually, almost randomly. But altogether the place is full of character and perfectly peaceful, giving me the feeling that I wouldn’t change a thing. That’s vintage Santa Fe.
After staying the maximum allowed in the national forest we set out on a stormy Monday for Pagosa Springs, stopping for a while at Ghost Ranch. As we always do, we make definite plans to stay at Ghost Ranch for a couple weeks sometime, and enjoy birding classes, or silversmith training or any of the wide variety of life skills we’ve always wanted to acquire. Soon, it’ll happen.