Santa Fe

We had such a fun trip to Santa Fe with my parents.  They told us they were going down there and I said how our family had been wanting to go for awhile.  So, being the kind hearted people they are, they let us come crash their vacation and stay at their condo. Halle had already missed her allotted days at school this year, but we decided to risk it and go anyway.  We figured with a 4.0 GPA, not too much damage could be done in 2 days 🙂
We’ve been letting all the kids pack for themselves.  Last trip that resulted in Blake having no swim suit and no pajamas.  But this time no one forgot a thing!  We make a list and then text it to their iPad/Pod.  It’s so nice not to have to be responsible for packing 4 bags.  I only have to worry about myself!
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Another State checked off our list!

We left our house on Saturday morning and ended up in Taos.  We hadn’t planned on coming here, but we made a last minute decision.  And, the Fry Bread alone made it worth the trip!  It was interesting to learn about the Taos Pueblo and about the native people who had lived there for over 1,000 years.  We didn’t have much cash, but we scrounged together $5 from Halle, me and Rusty and by raiding the change in the car.  We bought fry bread from one of the little shops and we definitely wished we had more $$!  The Pueblo still has no running water, electricity or indoor plumbing.  They use propane.  And 5ish families still live in the Pueblo full time.  Their language is only oral, and is only taught to native children in the village school.
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We asked Google Maps to take us to the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge and she led us down a very small, one lane, rutted out dirt road called Buffalo Lane. It was a fun adventure so we decided to keep going until we ran into this:

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The kids wanted Rusty to go for it, but he said he’d rather not float away in the middle of nowhere, so we turned around and found a more conventional route.

The Bridge was beautiful!  It made me want to ride my horse across the expansive land and be a cowgirl.  Blake did not venture to the middle, he said it was too scary.
Rio Grande Gorge Bridge

Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. Taos News
Photo credit: Taos News

Later that evening we checked into our hotel (G&G were arriving the next day) and Rusty was spinning the kids on the desk chair.  That, combined with a day in the car was too much for Blake.  His tummy didn’t feel good and he puked right outside the restaurant we were going for dinner.  Lucky I had a barf bag in the car!  I won’t zoom in on this pic so as not to gross you all out too much.  But yes, that is Blake holding his puke.
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The next day, on a recommendation from Meredith, we went to Tent Rocks National Monument.  It was such a fun and beautiful hike!  The slot canyon was so interesting and the craggy rock formations were unusual and beautiful.
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The boys were the best of friends on this trip.  It was so sweet to watch them, and it made everything so pleasant because they weren’t fighting all the time!

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The view at the top was expansive.  It’s such rugged wilderness and has such a harsh beauty. We are big, big fans of Tent Rocks!2017-04-23 13.36.35

That afternoon G&G arrived!  YEAH!
We checked into the condo and then walked to the Plaza in Downtown Santa Fe.  It is such a fun, hip little downtown.  The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi stands at the head of the Plaza.
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We ended the day with dinner at the Plaza Cafe.
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Bandelier National Monument was on the docket the next morning.  What a completely amazing place!  We loved climbing the ladders and exploring the tiny cliff caves carved out of volcanic tuff, seeing petroglyphs on the walls and taking in the beautiful valley views.  When I told Josh we were going to be able to climb ladders into the caves he said, “MIND. BLOWN.”

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The Ancestral Pueblo people lived on the Parajito Plateau from approximately 1150 CE to 1550 CE.  It was fun to imagine what life must have been like back then.  We walked the Main Loop to begin our exploration.
Bandelier National Park
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Then we hiked on to the Alcove house. The alcove is 140 feet above the floor of Frijoles Canyon. You reach the house by climbing 4 long wooden ladders and a bunch of stone steps.
Alcove House at Bandelieralcove-house-lightened-b-2
Photo Courtesy of Bandelier National Monument website

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My mom was kind of nervous as we started the ladders, but she made it up and down with no trouble at all.  I was really surprised that the boys didn’t complain at all.  Both of them have a slight fear of heights, but they didn’t hesitate one bit.

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We stopped by the Bradbury Museum in Los Alamos to learn all about the making of the first atomic bomb. It was fascinating and kind of sickening all at the same time.  They had a discovery room for the kids to play around and I sat down to try to solve this cube puzzle.  I gave up after 20 min.  Blake sat down and whipped it out in no time!
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After returning from Bandelier we had to take my parents to this awesome mural we found near the Railyard in Santa Fe.
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We went to walk down Canyon street and see all the art galleries but we got there too late and everything was closed.  It was still worth it to see all the sculptures and peek in the windows at all the amazing paintings.  We found clues to a letter box that was hidden in the garden of one of the galleries.  The gate was locked for the evening, but good thing Halle is spry.  She hopped the fence and did a little searching around.  Unfortunately, we didn’t find it 🙁  But Halle got her first taste of trespassing.
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And, there was pig stuff all over Santa Fe.  I never quite figured out why.  2017-04-24 19.29.18

On our drive back home we passed a sign for Ft Macey.  I had seen another letterbox clue for that park, so we decided to give it a go.  We enjoyed our walk up the hill to the cross and gazing out over Santa Fe at night.

But, when we got to the top of the hill and looked around for the park, it was nowhere to be found!  Apparently there are TWO Ft. Macey parks in Santa Fe and we were at the wrong one.  Letterbox #2 FAIL.

Our last day we woke up to rain.  It must be a trend when we travel with my parents. The heavens are sad we have to leave our vacation.  It happened in NYC too.  But that’s ok because we were off to the Folk Art Museum.  This place was really cool!  Some of the highlights were dressing up in Spanish Dancing costumes and making paper cranes.

After the museum we headed back downtown to finish up some sites on our list.  We went to San Miguel Chapel, which is the oldest church in America!  The kids got to ring a bell that dates back to the 1300’s.

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The next stop was one we’d all been looking forward to.  Drinking Chocolate! At Kakawa Chocolate House.  With a bonus surprise for me–it was dairy free!  A decadent treat without a stomach ache? YES, PLEASE!

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We walked to Loretta chapel in the rain and we are glad we did!  What a stunning little church.  The highlights were the beautiful staircase made to help the nuns get up to the organ by a mysterious carpenter, and this poignant Christus Statue.
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Our last stop was pizza at the Rooftop Pizzeria.  And I declare this the best meal of the trip! (The food was fairly lackluster in Santa Fe)  We ordered a pizza with roast chicken, green chili, toasted pin nuts, cotija cheese and alfredo sauce on a blue corn crust.  DELICIOUS!

After our two letterbox failed attempts, we needed a win.  Moon Rabbit Toys to the rescue!!  We walked in and asked if Mr. Hamm was hiding behind the counter.  He was!  It was a fun way to end our trip.
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We packed up and said goodbye to G&G and headed home.  The ride seemed loooong and we were all happy to see our house when it was over.
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