by Bob Ackenhausen | May 19, 2020 | Footnotes
I need fresh air. We are still locked down. The NYT has published stories that sun, warm temperatures MAY not kill this virus. Never mind that it kills all known viruses and fresh air and sunshine has been good for people for centuries.
Where to Go?
A beautiful day to be on a trail in the Galisteo Basin. You can see for 50 miles.
The main question I had was where to go. Last week I had led a group up into the mountains and hiked among the trees. This week I wanted semi flat and wide-open terrain. I knew the trails at Galisteo Basin were just the ticket. The Galisteo Basin is only a fifteen-minute drive south of Santa Fe.
Old windmill stand silent along a trail in the Galisteo Basin.
I began the hike at 8:30 am. I need fresh air and it was plentiful. The temperature was just right. Not to cool and not to hot. The sky was clear and the sun was shining bright. The views extended for 50 miles in all direction. I like these trails because as I said they are fairly flat. At least they start out that way. The view is un-interrupted for 360 degrees around you. Starting a hike on this fairly flat terrain allows your mussels to flex and stretch. You fill your lungs with fresh clean air and spirts begin to lift.
The trails at Galisteo Basin are not all flat. After you get your legs working and you breath in copious amounts of fresh Santa Fe air you begin to go up hill. The ridges are not too high. Just enough to work the legs a bit more. The climb makes me take some deep breaths. I take more deep breaths. I need fresh air! I’m getting that fresh air!
The ridges are certainly not the top of the world here around Santa Fe but they do provide and unobstructed view for miles around. I never get tired of these fantastic views which hiking around Santa Fe provide.
Three hours on the trial has revived my spirts and given me hope for the future.
A hike with Santa Fe Footprints is just the ticket for you.
by Bob Ackenhausen | May 12, 2020 | Footnotes
The group on the Borrego trail
Yes! Get out and hike! The COVID panic has utterly destroyed the tourist season here in Santa Fe. The panicky governor and hysterical mayor have shut-down all of the art festivals that make June, July and August in Santa Fe so enjoyable. Never mind that a virus can not survive in the sun and 80+ degrees temperatures. Not satisfied with destroying the art fairs they have closed all the wonderful shops. If you want to go to Home Depot or Lowes, fine. If you where interested in Indian art or the excellent Santa Fe shopping scene, forget about it. So what can you do? Get out and hike!
Are you in Danger?
Now it is true that the virus effects virtually no one under 50. If you are 60+ there is maybe a .5% of catching something. But don’t worry our hospitals have plenty of room! True they are laying off staff but on the .05% chance you need the hospital you will be welcomed with open arms!
The Santa Fe economy
The economy of Santa Fe is based on three main pillars. The art scene, tourism and state government. The government has deliberately destroyed the first two. So, what is a likely tourist supposed to do? Get out and hike!
Hiking trails are open!
There is one activity that the COVID dictators have not been able to crush. It is also one of the best parts about visiting Santa Fe. This activity is hiking the many trails around the city. They have closed the National parks like Bandelier and Tent Rocks but the hiking trails in the surrounding mountains are open.
Were can you hike?
A few days ago, I drove up Hyde Park Road towards the ski area. Cars filled the parking areas at the numerous trail heads along the road. I finally found a space at the Borrego trail head.
Free at last!
It was a beautiful day for hiking. The temperature up in the mountains was about 60. The sun was shining and creating incredible shadows through the trees. Everyone on the trail and in out of our Santa Fe Footprints group observed proper, if in my view unnecessary, distancing. The pure mountain air was invigorating and the exorcise got everyone’s blood pumping.
Don’t be a prisoner!
The lesson is don’t be a prisoner! The mountains and hiking trails of Santa Fe are waiting for you! GET OUT and HIKE !!!!
by Bob Ackenhausen | Apr 20, 2020 | Footnotes
I decided before my Tours of Santa Fe business picked up (this was on Feb 28, before the corona virus brought the tour business to a stand still) we should get out of town. A Grand Canyon road trip was just the ticket. I-25 being a north south route has some traffic but mostly cars so when we got on I-40 I was surprised at the heavy truck traffic. Trucks in front, back and beside me.
Arrival at the canyon
We arrived at the El Tovar a little after 5:00. El Tovar is the classic hotel right on the canyon rim. It is the first hotel built on the Grand Canyon and it was built by the Santa Fe railroad. As with all old Santa Fe railroad hotels it was managed by the Fred Harvey company. We could not get a room in the El Tovar but we did have a canyon view room in Kachina Lodge. Kachina is next to El Tovar and was built in the 60s. You check in at El Tovar and then try and I emphasize try to find a parking place. It was surprising that there is so little parking.
Grand Canyon Day 1
We got up a bit late on our first day at the Grand Canyon. This was a relaxing trip so we relaxed. We walked the short distance along the canyon rim trail to El Tovar for a nice breakfast to start the day. After breakfast we walked to the Verkamp’s Visitors Center for more information. The man in the center advised driving along the rim road (AZ-64) to the Desert View tower with stops along the way. Now on our Grand Canyon road trip we will see the canyon!
We got the car and headed out for our rim trail adventure. Out first stop was the main park Visitors center. It is a big facility with five parking lots. Very up to date unlike the Village where we are staying. Again, I was surprised at the crowds. This is the off season but the number of people there made us wonder what it is like during the high season. It must be difficult to even get close enough to see the canyon!
We walked out to Mathers point and the view was spectacular. Most of the people there were Asians, speaking Spanish or some strange European language. Occasionally we would hear English, but not often. Everywhere there are signs saying don’t feed the squirrels or any wild life. Of course a large group of Spanish speakers were feeding a squirrel! He was standing on his hind legs begging for food. Squirrel bites are the most common injury at the canyon. Maybe they need signs in all languages!
Desert View Tower
Desert view is a stone tower at the end of the rim road. It was designed by Mary Colter in 1932. It is a round stone tower 70 feet high and provides the highest viewing along the south rim. The interior is covered in fantastic Indian murals. The tower is designed to look like an ancient ruin. The climb up the inside with all the murals and lookout windows was one of the highlights of the trip. The Desert View tower is not to be missed.
Road to Hermits Rest
When we arrived back at the village we decided to continue the drive west to Hermits rest. This was the last day the road will be open to private cars. Starting on March 1st only shuttle busses will be on the road.
We started from Bright Angle lodge and drove along the road. The viewpoints were smaller but the canyon drop off were more dramatic. From several of the viewpoints you can see the Bright Angle trail leading down the canyon to the river and Phantom Ranch. One particular view point is called the Abyss. The walls go straight down in a dramatic fashion.
Ready for a steak and some brews
After a fantastic day along the canyon rim we were looking forward to a steak dinner. Also a few good cold brews. We were going to the Arizona Steak house at Bright Angle lodge but when we arrived it was closed! Remodeling don’t you know. Nothing on any of the websites about that. This is the time of year when they do a lot of work such as a remodel but they should tell people and not just let them find out when they try and go there!
Food at last !
So, we went to the Harvey Burger Café in Bright Angle lodge. What a complete disaster. The place was mobbed so we waited almost 45 minutes to get in. When we finally did we sat in an area that was supposed to be the bar. The bar was being remodeled so this was just a few tables plus a table with plus a table full of booze bottles. The service was terrible and the food mediocre at best. Not a good way to end a great day of our Grand Canyon road trip.
by Bob Ackenhausen | Mar 27, 2020 | Footnotes
In a strange turn of fate, I have discovered the upside of coronavirus. First of all, my tour business, Santa Fe Footprints, has been destroyed. At least for now. All bookings from March 14th through the end of April have been cancelled. One hardy group with a booking for May 1st is still hanging on. Hang in there guys!!! The dark night will pass! Morning will come! Easter may bring resurrection in more ways that one!
Start of the Upside
You may be saying; Bob I’m not quite seeing the upside. Once I accepted the situation I found I was sleeping like a rock. My mind had been full of tour issues. How to schedule the bus. New bookings for the historic walking tour. Arrange transportation for the shopping tour. What shops will the ladies enjoy most? Which trail is best for a group of hikers? Now all of those issues are gone. At least for now and hopefully not for long.
Now I must admit I am luckier than many. I will survive without the income from Santa Fe Footprints but it did provide a very nice supplement.
Now for the real upside. Being unable to just stay inside I have begun taking long walks. I have hiked and walked the city before but the coronavirus has given me time to discover much more of the city. It appears many others have been unable to stay inside and have taken to the trails. I pass many others, at a safe distance of course, on these trails.
The River Walk
One of the most enjoyable city trails that I have discovered is the El Comino Real Walking Trail. This is a paved trail along the Santa Fe River. The pavement is wide enough for good social distancing. Bikers are generally courteous and let you know they coming. I enjoy watching the big machines working in the river bed setting up dikes and falls to repair the damage from the thousand-year flood of a few years back.
I found the most enjoyable and surprising part of the trail was heading east from Ricardo Rd. Murals have been painted on the walls along the trail. They were painted by a youth group and they are incredible. I discovered John F Ray Griego Park with its moving Vietnam Veterans Memorial. A little further down the trail is Bicentennial Alto Park. A lovely place I plan to visit more even after the coronavirus is just a memory.
The coronavirus panic has caused much pain and loss but it has force me and I hope others to reconnect with the little pleasures of life. Remember, morning will come.
by Bob Ackenhausen | May 21, 2019 | Footnotes
Now is the time to get out and hike the trails around Santa Fe. For the next few weeks the varieties of cactus from Claret Cup to Tree Cholla will be blooming. Yes, cactus does flower and when they do it is a sight not to be missed. In addition to the splendid cactus there are many colors of wildflowers lighting up the hillsides.
Sign up for one of the Santa Fe Footprints hiking tours and experience the flowering magic.
it’s time to stop shopping, put away the credit card and head for the hills. Natures beauty is unparalleled and best of all, it’s free!