Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Revisiting Santa Fe and Photo Challenge Day Two

We last visited Santa Fe, NM in May 2013, for a week. This time we chose to spend a week on the edge of town at Santa Fe Skies RV Park. Less than a mile from Santa Fe Skies is Santa Fe Brewing Company AND we arrived on a Wednesday which happened to be $2 pint day!!!!

The State Pen Porter was delicious!

Santa Fe has a variety of local trails to hike, beautiful neighborhoods to walk, and many cultural and historical sights to see. You can read my wrap up post from our last stay here.

We had a fun lunchtime meetup with Rick and JoAnne at The Pantry, where the food was delicious and the conversation flowed...and we look forward to another meetup with these two and others in May! Afterwards we took a walk through some of the lovely residential streets near the Santa Fe Plaza.

A welcoming Santa Fe style courtyard.




Santa Fe has done a great job of creating several networks of trails for their active community, and we were able to pick up a trail map for the Dale Ball and La Tierra trails at our RV park, this site has map links. During both of our visits we have hiked many miles of these trails.

The La Tierra trails are mostly smooth flowing dirt trails over rolling hills among pinion pine and juniper, excellent for mountain biking or trail running.

The Dale Ball trails are also dirt/rock trail through juniper and pinion forests, but tend to be steeper and have more views and more shade. Our last full day we did an awesome 5 mile loop that took us to the top of Picacho Peak; at 8,577 feet the views expand well beyond Santa Fe. Ponderosa pine, cacti, yucca and granite outcroppings are the reward for climbing to higher elevations, worth every bit of effort.

Seen in a wash at La Tierra on a cloudy day.
Pincushion with offspring on the way to Picacho Peak.

Looking North from Picacho Peak.

Another excellent hike in Santa Fe is the Sun Mountain trail. Less than two miles out-and-back, this trail gains about 800 feet of elevation and offers up 360 degree views of Santa Fe and the foothills East of town. We were pleasantly surprised to be scrambling over rose granite boulders cut with veins of rose quartz and claret cup cacti and yucca just beginning to bloom. Parking is extremely limited at the trail head.

Sun Mountain looms above the trail head.


The trail gets steeper and rockier the higher you go.
It was a bit slippery coming down later.

Expansive views in all directions from the top of Sun Mountain.

Yucca and claret cup buds.

After the short but satisfying hike up Sun Mountain we drove a few miles to the Randall Davey Audubon Center and did another short hike in this surprisingly riparian canyon just East of the Plaza in Santa Fe. Here's my post from our longer hike in this area in 2013.

The Santa Fe River emerges from this canyon just East of downtown Santa Fe.

One afternoon we drove about 15 miles South to the artist community of Madrid. We met up with friends Glen and Eliane who live in this vibrant town, and along with a few of their friends, had a fantastic dinner at The Hollar (highly recommended) and attended the very unique Free Box Fashion Show. Locals donated and performed dance numbers in clothing that was then auctioned off to much hilarity and audience participation AND benefited the community. What a fun night!

Very good Southern style food at The Hollar.
Excellent company too on this night!

Madrid's Free Box Fashion Show is a blast!

Campground Review

We visited Santa Fe, NM in the spring of 2013 and stayed in town (our RV park review is here). This time we chose to stay on the edge of town at Santa Fe Skies RV Park.

Santa Fe Skies was a terrific place to stay, especially since we had site 19 in the southeast section of the park. The northwest part of the park has sites in rows that are pretty close together. The southeast side has more randomly placed sites, and some of those along the East edge are spectacular...in particular, sites 17, 18 and 19.

The main road into the park is paved, all other roads and the sites are gravel. Each site has a cement patio with a picnic table. Site #19 was a large curved pull through with a wide open view to the East. There is .75 mile walking loop around the perimeter of the park, easily accessible from our site, though you have to watch out for goatheads off the trail.

Another great thing about staying at Santa Fe Skies instead of Trailer Ranch is the quiet. It's very peaceful at night. The Verizon signal is excellent. Also, being at the West end of town you are strategically located with a couple of options to bypass the center of town and its stop and go traffic. We'd definitely stay here again.

View of our site from the walking trail.

The view from site 19.
We LOVED watching the clouds change from our patio.
The view morphed constantly, enchantingly!

Day Two of the Black and White Photo Challenge:

It always makes me happy to photograph Rosie, in color or not. Her snow white belly really works well in B&W! This shot was taken at Picacho Peak State Park in AZ. Rosie loved that park and so did we!

Rosie is a happy kitty when she can stretch out in the sun and fresh air!

We're moving on tomorrow...Las Vegas here we come!

31 comments:

  1. You guys seem to find great hikes with terrific views everywhere you go. Really nice picture of you with the brew and Hans with the view. Thanks so much for the campground review. Sounds like in the right site it has everything. Madrid looks like a fun place with fun people. I'm amazed at all the "artist" communities in the west. Must be easier to make a living as an artist out there. Love the B/W of Rosie. Really nice choice of picture.

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    1. Land is inexpensive around Madrid, and kind of inhospitable...good territory for the artistic mind!

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  2. Excellent summation. Good to know about the RV park. We've stayed at the KOA (too far!) and had heard about Trailer Ranch. One of these days I'd like to return to Santa Fe, it's just lovely there.

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    1. Given the right site, Santa Fe Skies is much better than Trailer Ranch, in our opinion!

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  3. Sounds like you had a great time once again in Santa Fe. We were only in New Mexico once and that was a couple of years ago in our Little Blue Car. We had bypassed Santa Fe but look forward to seeing it some time in the future when we will pass through the area in our motorhome. There is so much to see in this state.

    www.travelwithkevinandruth.com

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    1. One thing we did not do is hit up any of the many museums...they seemed very expensive to us.

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  4. We also hiked La Tierra trails on one cold day and that was our only hike while there. If not for Hans recommendation we would have missed The Hollar, food was really great.
    We also liked staying at Santa Fe skies even if we were assigned next to the office and was broadsided during the wind storm. It was one scary minutes for me.
    I would recommend staying at Villanueva State Park, and you saw my picture of the park in my last post and the hiking trails. We stayed however at a KOA in Las Vegas. NM.

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    1. Villanueva looks quite nice but we're going to stay at Storrie Lake instead, decided we wanted to be that much closer to town and to our next destination.

      I thought the La Tierra and Dale Ball trails were kind of boring until we went to the higher elevation trails! Though kind of blah, they are great for getting some exercise and fresh air!

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  5. You captured some beautiful cacti plants and blooms Lisa! Clouds sure do add a lot of interest to pictures...I love watching them too.

    Rosie is quite photogenic...

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    1. Way fewer flowers in NM than in TX...gotta make the most of the few we see! At 7,000 ft very few flowers are blooming yet.

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  6. Santa Fe continues to be one of our favorite towns. We've always visited in the fall, but your photos of the flowering trees and fresh greenery makes a spring visit mighty enticing! The fashion show evening must have been a blast! We love finding community events in our travels.

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    1. Santa Fe would probably be a neat place to live. There are some fabulous properties in the foothills.

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  7. Great pictures, Lisa ! They make me want to go back to Santa Fe. We've been there briefly and didn't care for it, but I think we were just so tired of travelling. Thanks for the campground review, one day we'll check it out also. Z.

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    1. There is good and there is bad here, we were fortunate to find some really great sights!

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  8. what a fun event you stumbled upon in Madrid...

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    1. It was really unique and entertaining...but that is how we have always found Madrid, it's a very cool town!

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  9. I must have lived in Santa Fe in another life - the adobes, the rich colors, the rugged terrain, the sopapillas, the art - all of it feels so comfortable to me. Not so much the traffic and the prices, but all the places in your pics for sure! The dinner and fashion show sound like a great evening, and just the variety of head gear at the table tells me you had a lively group :-)))))

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    1. We LOVED some of the properties we saw around Santa Fe...but the prices not so much.

      :-) we did have a really fun group. Glen and Eliane are both accomplished artists in different mediums and really fit in with the Madrid community.

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  10. What a beautiful place and great hikes too. I'd love to join you for a glass of that Porter! :)

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    1. :-) I do hope we are able to meet up sometime!

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  11. It was indeed fun to meet again and "catch up" - Already looking forward to our "mashup meeting" in Colorado. And next time we will know better and stay at Santa Fe Skies.

    - Safe Travels

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    1. It's always fun to meet up with you two! We're up to 10 for the end of May, John & Pam will be in town.

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  12. Great post! We need yo revisit Santa Fe with the Motorhome. I like the sounds of the trails. Those cactus were beautiful!! Love the perfect babies with that Pincushion and that mega huge Claret Cup is so neat. Looks like a fun evening at The Hollar!

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    1. I could eat at the Hollar every time I go through Madrid!

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  13. Loved the post. You captured well my adopted state. I love the blooming cactus of the spring. I'm off to Taos in another week where I will spend a week painting plein air. Have you gotten to Taos yet? Smaller but even more interesting than Santa Fe (IMHO).

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    1. We have not visited Taos yet, it's a place I'd like to get to some day...but it won't be this year.

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  14. We stayed at Santa Fe Skies in October last year and felt the same. It's a great location but you have to be careful to pick the best sites. We stayed away from the museums but did find the brewery. Funny how that goes ;-). Still hoping to catch up with you guys in the summer somewhere in Wyoming or Montana. Interested to hear your impressions after Vegas. We were there just a few weeks ago. We recommend a visit to the Hofbrauhous!

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    1. Hee, hee....we're in Las Vegas, New Mexico!

      The Santa Fe museums seemed too expensive and not necessarily the types of museums we'd splurge on.

      It would be great if our paths cross again!

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    2. Darn it!! You got me! Thinking about it now I remember seeing a Facebook post from Las Vegas NM.

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  15. Santa Fe Skies is where we stayed two years ago - we loved it too. Except that was where Nikki got attacked in the dog park! But we would go there again if we go back to Santa Fe. Great pics!

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  16. We seem to be a few weeks behind you. My mom will be visiting us in Santa Fe, so we'll be using your post as a trail guide! And I didn't see your review before I booked, but I'm glad your park last year was good. I booked it to be close to the hotels.

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