On my last adventure I hiked up Atalya mountain. An excellent adventure. It was also a strenuous work out. But it was worth it. Now it was time to hike among the cactus. Aren’t cactuses those thorny things that stick you? True but this time of year all the cactus varieties are blooming.
Where to go
One of my favorite places to hike among the cactus is the Arroyo Hondo open space. This is a nice easy trail located only a ten-minute drive from the heart of Santa Fe. It is just down the road from the world-famous Harry’s Roadhouse. Well I’m not sure it is world-famous but it is a popular watering hole for movie stars and Santa Fe notables. You can see Harrys from the top of the trail and it is a great place for breakfast before or lunch after your hike.
Prickly Pears and Dogs
The most ubiquitous cactus that I find on the Arroyo Hondo trail is the Prickly Pear. They have large flat paddle shaped pads with thrones that can be two inches long. For those concerned about their dogs, there is no need to worry. I have hiked with a dog, with groups who had dogs and seen many hikers on the trail with dogs even off leash. Dogs seem to instinctively know to keep their distance.
This time of year, late May and early June is a special time to hike among the cactus. The Prickly Pears have a bright yellow flower. Scarlet Hedge Hogs have a red blossom among its many thorns. The Claret Cups are a personal favorite. This year they covered with red flowers. Of course, let us not forget the tree Cholla with its unique yellow blooms.
If you would like to hike among the cactus, contract Santa Fe Footprints for a hike or historic tour of Santa Fe.
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.
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.
Last month I had a group of guest in town and they express and interest in taking a photography tour. As only one of the group had a real camera and the rest of us had smart phones of various type, I looked for a photographer who would give a tour/class for both a Nikon camera and those of us with smartphones. Steve Bundy of Taos agreed to do the tour and help/teach the people with ‘real’ cameras and brought along his friend John Farnsworth to show the rest of us how to take full advantage of our smartphone cameras.
Our group drove to Ghost Ranch. We meet Steve and John at the Georgia O’Keefe center and then headed out to some of the most spectacular scenery in the USA. I had brought along my old Canon G10 and Steve kindly spent time showing me how to use the features. Don’t just put it on Auto ! Warning! It becomes addictive. I experimented with camera settings and scenes.
John showed the others how to use a smart phone camera. In short, just take lots of pictures. Then review and edit and edit and correct. He had us all download Snapseed, a photo editor and graciously offered to help with any questions.
The picture above is me experimenting with my I-phone. If you are interested in a tour of Santa Fe, photo or historic your can contact us via our website WWW.Santafefootprints.com
Blankets have long been important for both Indian and early Spanish settlers of New Mexico. They provided warmth, shelter and possible most important, status. Many tribes had long established weaving traditions. Indians began to acquire machine-made blankets in the late 19th century. This was done mostly as a matter of convenience. These became known as Indian trading blankets. These trade blankets became a standard medium of exchange in the old west trading post.
Pendleton Woolen Mills was founded in 1889. They became a well-known manufacture of these trading blankets. Pendleton designers gathered information from tribes across the country to determine the preferred designs, colors and geometric shapes for this market.
The Navajo are celebrated for their excellent hand weaving skills. The Pendleton blankets are still considered an enduring symbol of their culture.
Your Santa Fe Footprints guide will provide you with the history of art in Santa Fe and also advise on the locations for excellent Indian blankets.