Sunday, August 02, 2009

Day 2 of the New Mexico trip.

It's hard to believe that I've been home for one week and I'm only writing about day two of the trip. ~ In 2005 I ran the Marine Corps Marathon in D.C. and it took me 6 months to recover completely, so I turned to running 1/2 marathons in Ottawa, Canada because it only took me a week to recover. This trip was like a 1/2 marathon; it's taken me a week to recover.~

On the morning of day two our bus driver, Bob Davidson USMC, picked us up early and we were on our way north; towards Taos. Two stops were on the agenda: first we would stop at Tent Rocks for the morning, and after lunch we'd head for the Rio Grande river where the Los Rios river runners would take us white water rafting.

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

The national monument includes a national recreational trail. It is for foot travel only, and contains two segments that provide opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, geologic observation and plant identification. Both segments of the trail begin at the designated monument parking area. The Cave Loop Trail is 1.2 miles long, rated as easy. The more difficult Canyon Trail is a 1.5-mile, one-way trek into a narrow canyon with a steep (630-ft) climb to the mesa top for excellent views of the Sangre de Cristo, Jemez, Sandia mountains and the Rio Grande Valley.

Kasha-Katuwe means “white cliffs” in the traditional Keresan language of the Pueblo.

This site provides a nice hike through scenic rock cuts and curious layered and sculpted rock formations. We took the 1 1/2 hr., 3 mile, round trip hike first and then the shorter loop trail when we came down. The first of many "gee, what a small world," episodes occurred after we reached the summit of our climb. When we arrived, we were greeted by two Young women already enjoying the panoramic views. One of the girls said: "didn't we see you guys yesterday on the Sandia Peak Tram?" We admitted that, yes in fact, we were on the Tram yesterday. In the course of the howdies, how-are-yas, and where-y'all-froms and so on, we learned that these young women were medical students at a school in Maine. Guess what: Their school is Leigh's Alma mater. What are the chances?

Back on the bus we leave Indian land and roll on closer to Taos to meet up with the Los Rios River Runners. We are scheduled for the 1/2 day excursion:

Racecourse Half Day Rafting Adventure
Our most popular trip. Two to three hours of Class 2 and 3 rapids. A rollercoaster ride of whitewater thrills. Perfect for first-time rafters and adventurous families.

Below is a stock photo from their brochure. Photos have been ordered (they are awesome) but haven't arrived as yet.

Our crew was divided up in two rafts. In our raft was our guide Suzie Benton, steering from the aft area of the raft. Up front; Leigh and myself, and mid raft; Karen and Jesse.

What great fun we had with one thrill after another as Suzie guided us expertly through rapid after rapid and through some pretty tight needle eyes. Our team demonstrated excellent paddling skills; we followed Suzie's directions very well:)). In the calmer areas of the river, horseplay prevailed and everyone (not just our raft but every raft in our trip) ended up in the river more than once. We were even able to capsize the raft with our guide still in it. My only surprise was that I didn't lose my glasses.

After we helped get the rafts loaded on the transport trailer we indulged in a feast of melon slices provide by the rafting company. Then it was on to Taos. We stopped short of Taos to catch a glimpse of the Gorge and for some of the group to buy some jerky from a roadside vendor.

As we were driving into Taos we stopped for a red light and Bob the bus driver directed our gaze to the rear end of a local church and asked if we knew what well know artist had painted a picture of this church.

Do you know?

The answer jumped instantly into my mind.

We checked into the Quality Inn Taos. After we were settled a few of us had decided we wanted to go to Michael's Kitchen and bakery for dinner. having been there 3 years previously we knew it was quite a walk from the hotel and it was very hot out still so I inquired at the desk as to what was available for bus or taxi service; there is no public transportation in Taos. We were able to talk our bus driver, Bob in to taking us in the big tour bus.

Michael's is where the locals eat. If you are ever in Taos, do yourself a favor and eat there at least once!



Blogger Kay said...

Those rocks are beautiful - amazing! What a wonderful trip (so far). Was the painter O'Keeffe? I have no idea abut American art, but I am interested in her paintings. Also not totally sure where in the world Taos and the River Rio is, but will look it up. Now!

7:02 AM  
Blogger Kay said...

Ah, New Mexico ... and I remember you explaining that now ... sorry, I'm being a bit thick.

7:04 AM  
Blogger Michelle Johnson said...

i wish i could have been there. sounds like you had one event after another planned. i love those rock formations. that would have been the highlight for me. and, the white water rafting looks exciting. i'd love to try my hand at that someday. glad you had a great time and that you are home safe and sound. have a great day.

8:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that you whould have specified as to how you were over taken by the horse play in the calm waters


1:47 PM  
Blogger Puss-in-Boots said...

That is one long coach, Rel. How many would it seat?

As for the painter, I have no idea.

I like the rock formations, I can see where the tents come from.

Only day 2...sounds like you're fitting plenty in. No wonder it takes you a week to get over it.

11:51 PM  
Blogger Churlita said...

It sounds like so much fun. I've never been rafting before.

12:39 AM  
Blogger Remiman said...

Yes, Georgia O'Keefe was the painter.

Jesse was the culprit who pulled yours truly from the raft into the river. I owe ya bud!

9:02 AM  
Blogger Kay said...

Wow! I'm good aren't I?! (And a little surprised that I guessed the artist right to be honest.) Altho' not knowing Taos was a bit of a slip ... :(.

7:34 AM  

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