Posts Tagged ‘Taos’

In New Mexico, sights and heights

March 19, 2008

“Where they Went” by Diane Daniel
(Published March 16, 2008, in the Boston Globe)

From Di’s eyes: If you’ve never been to New Mexico, truly a “land of enchantment,” do everything this foursome did. You will not be disappointed! If you have only a few days at least make the drive from Santa Fe to Taos. The scenery is some of the most stunning on this planet.

WHO: John and Carol Carver of Winthrop, Mass., and Paul and Nancy Camposano of Naples, Fla.

WHERE: New Mexico.

WHEN: Two weeks in October.

Foursome did six hikes in two weeks

Foursome did six hikes in two weeks (Click to ENLARGE)

WHY: “We love hiking, and we love mountains, and it’s one of the few states we hadn’t been,” John Carver said. He and Paul Camposano grew up together in Watertown, Mass., and the couples have been traveling together since the 1980s.

THE BEAUTIFUL LIFE: Through Villa Rentals by Owner, they stayed in an adobe home near bustling Santa Fe plaza. “We were also within jumping-off distance of many mountains,” Carver said. “In the course of two weeks, we did about six hikes, and when we didn’t hike, we went to tourist attractions. And every day you breathe beautiful air.”

John Carver and Nancy Camposano sampling New Mexican cuisine

URBAN ADVENTURES: Friends in Santa Fe gave the group a walking tour, while the women, both runners, also explored the area while getting a workout. “Canyon Road is where all the galleries are. You can browse, but keep your checkbook in your pocket,” Carver said. “Santa Fe has a farmer’s market on Saturday and Tuesday, and you can smell the roasted chili peppers a mile away.” A favorite spot to eat was the Shed. “They have the usual spicy foods, with a lot of fried beans and rice. We liked the food a lot, but it took a little bit to get used to it. Whenever they say, ‘green or red?’ they’re talking about chili peppers. If you want both, it’s ‘Christmas.’ ”

FEAST FOR THE EYES: A scenic 90-minute drive took them to Taos. “It’s surrounded by mountains. The main business is art. It has its own little plaza and all the T-shirt places you could imagine,” Carver said. “When we were there the aspen trees were turning yellow, and there was snow in the mountains. Take a blue sky, white-capped mountains, and yellow trees, and you’ve got a feast.” Then they drove the 84-mile Enchanted Circle loops through villages and mountains. “It’s as gorgeous as any place I’ve seen in the country.”

Carol Carver and Nancy Camposano at Puerto Indian Caves

Carol Carver and Nancy Camposano at Puerto Indian Caves

HIKING HEAVEN: The foursome went on several hikes at Bandelier National Monument park. “We hiked along Indian trails up into Indian ruins, where you have to climb ladders. On one, we climbed a half dozen ladders and up into caves where we could walk around.” Another hike was in Abiquiu, where artist Georgia O’Keeffe worked and lived. At the nearby Echo Amphitheater, they stopped for a holler. “It’s a natural chamber where if you yell, it yells back, and it’s beautifully painted by nature.”

The foursome on one of several hikes in New Mexico

The foursome on one of several hikes in New Mexico

POINT TAKEN: Along the Turquoise Trail, connecting the high country of Santa Fe with the desert of Albuquerque, they stopped at wineries and soaked up the scenery, especially at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. “It’s very rugged landscape, with these jagged formations. Some are as high as 30-story buildings. We took a hike there following a riverbed and then up to a bluff with a beautiful lookout.” In Albuquerque, they particularly enjoyed the adobe-styled University of New Mexico campus and the area’s highest point, Sandia Crest, at about 10,600 feet. “It was beautiful but chilly.”