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.
When a friend asked if I would like to do a road trip to Death Valley this past January, how could I refuse.
This was the best time to experience Death Valley due to the temperatures. In the summer it is the hottest place in the USA. Temp should range from 38 to 65 so we had to bring warm and light clothes. We weren’t sure what to bring, but we are guys a pair of jeans, hiking pants, couple of shirts and warm jackets were all we needed. No need for four or five pairs of shoes !!
Off to Death Valley
We fly from Santa Fe to Las Vegas then our road trip begins as we drive toward Death Valley. The Nevada town of Pahrump was the last stop in Nevada before California and Death Valley. You just have to love a town called Pahrump!
We are in Death Valley. The lowest, hottest and driest place in the USA. This is truly a unique and odd place. I expected interesting scenery but I was taken aback by the incredible and uniqueness of the place. Only the pictures of the Artist Plate, The Devils Golf Course and Bad Water Basin can do Justus. They are in the slide show. It is a truly incredible place.
We had dinner at the Ranch Steak house which is quite the place. Lots of old west stuff on the walls. We were both a bit shocked at the prices. This is the only place for miles around and everything has to be shipped in but still, $48 for an ok steak. Well the beer was cold.
Day 2 in Death Valley
Today we started out on the Salt Marsh and it was cold. 30 some odd and windy. The little salt stream is supposed to have puppy fish. We saw none.
Next was the Keane Wonder Mine. A gold mine from the early 1900s. Fun to visit with an old mining engineer.
Then the Ubehebe crater. This is a volcano and the landscape is amazing. I was surprised that there were about 8 cars in the lot because we had seen none on the drive out. We hiked about half way around and up to Little Ubehebe. We had our lunch, PBJ sandwiches made in the morning, as we sat overlooking this amazing sight.
Next stop was Darwin falls, the only water in Death Valley. We hiked up to the falls, which are not big, maybe 12 to 15 feet but still nice. We found a photographer from Santa Fe there with a pro camera. His studio is in Santa Fe but I have not stopped in to see his work or the picture he took of the fall. On the way back, I wondered what happens to the river, stream actually. We followed it and eventually is just disappears into the sand.
Day 3 in Death Valley
The Mosaic Canyon trail leads up a canyon with many colored rock formations. A nice hike up a fairly flat canyon. We climb a bit then decided that it was late and well we didn’t want to climb the big rocks. One interesting thing is we kept running into the same groups of people at each stop. All nice folks and we all headed to the Mesquite Sand Dunes for a sunset docent tour.
The docent pointed out various tracks of the little critter that live on the dunes. Beatles, Kangaroo rats and other stuff. We saw a bug but no rats. We stayed until after sunset. With the setting sun the mountains become purple. Purple mountains, majesty.
Final Day in Death Valley
The final stop in Death Valley was the Golden Canyon trail. Again, we run into several groups from the day before. The trail leads up a canyon to the Red Rock Cathedral. Impressive sight. We got to the base and climb up a bit but decided we didn’t have time to go to the top. Also, it looked really hard. All the young kids did it so more power to them !!!!
An excellent road trip. It was colder than I had expected and I sort of would like to experience Death Valley in July when temperatures can reach 120 degrees. Then you would know you were in Death Valley !!!
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Window shopping in New York
New York City. This no place like it in the world. We did a stop over in New York City for a few days there before our trip to South Africa. The big new thing is ‘The Vessel’ in Hudson Yards. The Vessel is a public art project meant to attract people to Hudson Yards. It worked !!
Hudson Yards is the new high end (this is New York after all) mixed use development. The Vessel is this amazing thing and you can climb to the top, if you dare. It is eleven stories tall but climb is easy and fun. There are many landing areas as you go up. Each area give you a different view of the city, the river (Hudson) and the surrounding area. The stores at Hudson Yards are the same old high end stuff and frankly, not that impressive but the Vessel is a must see item.
Walking Down Fifth Avenue.
We of course walked down Fifth Avenue and there the shopping is, well very New York. The picture above is a display window at Bergdorf-Goodman. Now, as I said, there is no place like New York but the same is true for Santa Fe. We lived in New York City, Brooklyn actually, for three years but when the time came to leave we had the entire country to chose from and we choose Santa Fe.
New York vs. Santa Fe
I like to say Santa Fe is just like New York minus the crowds and super high prices. Come see us this Christmas season. You will not be disappointed ! Of course, if you do get the chance, you must do a stop over in New York City!
While you are out here in Santa Fe and you need to take a day off from the fantastic skiing or the incredible shopping, consider a tour of this historic city. Click here for more information about a great Historic Walking Tour.
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!
It’s spring and that means the record snow fall is melting. A wet spring and the melting snow means the rivers and creek are raging. A perfect time to hike the Bandelier National Monument Falls Trail. Sunday was a sunny day. Not too warm and not cool. In short, just right for a hike.
I had heard from a guest on a Historic Tour that the Bandelier Fall were raging. Last year I twice tried to hike to the falls. The first attempt was stopped by rain and lighting. It’s not a good idea to be hiking in Frijoles canyon with heavy rain in the mountains behind you. Evidence of flash floods are plainly visible. The second attempt was frustrated by a lack of water. Frijoles Creek was almost dry so there was no point in hiking to the falls.
This trip the water was roaring over the falls. First and 80 foot drop followed by a 40 foot drop. Quite a spectacular sight! On the hike back the cool waters looks so inviting I just had to take off my boots and dip my toes in the cool refreshing waters.
Bandelier National Monument is just one of the many delights that are only 30 minutes from Santa Fe. It’s just one of the items that make this city a great place to live or visit.