Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Day three of Acclimatizing for Philmont high altitude hiking:
The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge is a cantilever truss bridge across the Rio Grande Gorge 10 miles (16 km) northwest of Taos, New Mexico, United States. At 650 feet (200 m) above the Rio Grande, it is the fifth highest bridge in the United States. (Wikipedia)

The Morning of day three we get down to the motel's breakfast room at 0630 opening time. It's already full and not with scouts, but rather scads of construction workers. I did over hear the desk clerk last night tell a prospective client that they were full. To make matters worse; one of the waitresses had called in so the staff was short handed. When our waitress came to the table she immediately recommended the french toast breakfast. Believe you me, if a waitress makes a recommendation it would behoove you to pay attention. So Leigh, Steve and I scrapped our bacon and eggs plan and ordered the french toast. WE, being coffee drinkers noted immediately that the waitress did not have a coffee pot with her when she took our order, nor did she return to the table with coffee for 5 to 10 minutes. Leigh got up and sought her out and offered to make the rounds of the room offering coffee to everyone seated there. She was most appreciative of his service. Our french toast breakfast appeared a good 10 minutes before the bacon and eggs order appeared at the table next to us, the folks there had ordered before we had even arrived.

Lesson: When the waitress makes a recommendation; listen up!

Continuing on with a short story long; Bob the bus driver drove us out to the west rim of the Rio Grande Gorge for our appointment to do an 11 mile mountain bike ride along the Gorge Rim.

Steve and some of the crew on the bike trail along the edge of the gorge.

The bike ride is fairly flat and mostly an easy ride. There are a few segments that are quite rock strewn requiring some skill to negotiate. These are mostly along the first mile or so. At the end of the trail is a mile long winding dirt road descending to the gorge floor. At the bottom we had a picnic provided by the biking company.
The gorge is a spectacular vision and the opportunity to see desert wildlife abundant. Mostly, on this trip, we witnessed many raptors riding the updrafts.
No untoward incidents occurred this time around and that is a good thing.
Just so you know, our guide informed us that the rift continues to move apart at a rate of 4" a year.
After our picnic lunch we bussed along the scenic Rio Grande, passing the areas we had rafted yesterday. We returned to Taos and some of the goup returned to Michael's for lunch of a more substantial nature. And then it was back on the bus and a short trip out to the Taos Pueblo.

Taos Pueblo is the only living Native American community designated both a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and a National Historic Landmark. The multi-storied adobe buildings have been continuously inhabited for over 1000 years

The present San Geronimo, or St. Jerome, Chapel was completed in 1850 to replace the original church which was destroyed in the War with Mexico by the U.S. Army in 1847. That church, the ruins still evident on the west side of the village, was first built in 1619. It was then destroyed in the Spanish Revolt of 1680 but soon rebuilt on the same site. St. Jerome is the patron saint of Taos Pueblo.

The Pueblo is made entirely of adobe -- earth mixed with water and straw, then either poured into forms or made into sun-dried bricks. The walls are frequently several feet thick. The roofs of each of the five stories are supported by large timbers -- vigas -- hauled down from the mountain forests. Smaller pieces of wood -- pine or aspen latillas -- are placed side-by-side on top of the vigas; the whole roof is covered with packed dirt. The outside surfaces of the Pueblo are continuously maintained by replastering with think layers of mud. Interior walls are carefully coated with thin washes of white earth to keep them clean and bright. The Pueblo is actually many individual homes, built side-by-side and in layers, with common walls but no connecting doorways. In earlier days there were no doors or windows and entry was gained only from the top.

The Original Church, Taos Pueblo, New Mexico
After we left the Taos Pueblo, on our way back to the motel we were forced to take a detour due to road work. If you've been to Taos, you know how narrow the streets are. We had a little scrape with a car as we were negotiating a turn. No injuries but Leigh and Steve did write out a report of what happened, defending our bus driver.
At this point I should insert a photo of Wal-Mart, but if you have one in you area, go take a look. Truly; "if you seen one, you've seen them all. After we got back to the motel we walked the couple blocks to Wal-Mart so that I could purchase a camera.
While shopping at Wal-Mart a couple of us were curious as to our weight, and found the bathroon scale display and weighed ourselves. Why, you may ask. Well, there is a weight restriction for hiking at Philmont. One of our crew became quite despondent after weighing himself; being considerably over the limit. Being a scout he was given some leeway, but still he was worried.
I passed along some advice I'd learned years ago as a wrestler: drink a couple gallons of water and eat no (zero) carbs from now 'til weigh in. With weigh in less than 24 hours away this may have seemed too little too late, but in the morning said scout had lost 8 lbs.
Following Wal-mart, we followed Bob the bus driver's recommendation and stopped at the Five Star Burger place for supper.

Following my advice, our overweight scout ordered two burgers with green chile. No bun, no fries, just protein. Oh yes and a copious amount of water, no soda.
Zeb, myself , Jamie and Leigh ordered the burger. OMG; they were enormous. In fact Leigh was so hungry, he ordered two but bowed to the waitress' advice to try one first as she thought he might find that it would be enough. Remember: listen to your waitress!
The rest of our group ordered salad. I mean, one salad would have fed all three of them adequately!!!!!!!
Karen, Kate, and Steve with their salads.
Tomorrow were off to Angelfire and then the Philmont Scout Ranch



Blogger Churlita said...

the Taos Pueblo is so gorgeous.

Living this close to the Mississippi River, the Rio Grande looks so tiny.

2:30 PM  
Blogger Michelle Johnson said...

Hello Remiman~ I can't believe you guys went on an 11 mile mountain bike ride. You have got to be in the best shape of any person I know. I'm impressed. Your pictures are wonderful. Especially the original church. Hope all is well. Looking forward to seeing and reading more about your vacation. Have a great night.

10:55 PM  
Blogger Kay said...

Oh Boy Oh Boy! I have got one more Must Go See place to put on my list now! I LOVE the buildings, the landscape ... the food sounds great too! Just amazing - thanks for the report and photos Rel. I am really enjoying the trip!

7:36 AM  

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