Walking in and out of stores and visiting museums is only part of Santa Fe’s attraction. Outdoor venues are another draw. With only two days to spend in the area, our choices were limited since we didn’t want to drive very far. We passed on gems like the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Park, Bandelier National Monument, and Valles Caldera National Preserve. Instead, we used our trip home to explore the high road to Taos with a stop at the famous Taos Pueblo followed by a scenic drive through rural New Mexico and Colorado.
Our first stop was the Nambe Falls and Reservoir area. It took approximately 15 minutes to hike from the parking lot to the falls. We shared the pathway with no one. From our vantage point, we had a partial view of the waterfall. We also took time to explore the dam and the area around the lake. The park ranger did not recommend heading toward the historical pueblo since most of the residents would be at church.
On the main road to Taos, we weaved in and out of small towns and through the Carson National Forest. We enjoyed the natural beauty of the different ecosystems. There were few places to take pictures.
Once in Taos, we followed the signs that led to the Taos Pueblo. This pueblo is the oldest continuously inhabited community in the United States. (see top picture) The antiquated structures that face the Red Willow Creek double as fine examples of a resilient adobe architecture and as shops that allow Native Americans to sell their arts and crafts. All of the shopkeepers are descendants of the Native Americans who lived in this area for centuries.
Their lifestyle remains sacred and simple. Within the village, they forego the modern conveniences of running water and electricity. Outdoor adobe ovens are used to bake bread and pastries as well as wild game and vegetables. Water is drawn from the small creek that divides the village.
We walked from one pueblo to the next hoping that we would find something unique. Ira gazed upon a handmade drum created by John Archuleta. The top and bottom were made from the skin of a beefalo, an offspring of a cow and a buffalo while the sides were carved from an aspen tree. The end of the drumstick was covered with white deerskin. We admired the buffalo that was painted on the top. As CU alums, we were attracted to the buffalo motif.
Part of life’s adventure is doing the unexpected. We did not originally plan to go to Taos. We certainly never anticipated purchasing an authentic Native American drum. Sometimes starting on a journey can lead to wonderful discoveries. If you’re interested in Native American life, enjoy a journey to the Taos Pueblo.
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Sandra’s memoir highlights her living and teaching adventure in Bangalore, India. She is a licensed Colorado teacher who has taught K-12 students in the United States and abroad as well as college level courses. Sandra is married and has four adult sons.
The memoir was a finalist in the Travel category for the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, the 2013 International Book Awards, the 2013 National Indie Book Excellence Awards, 2013 USA Best Book Awards, and a Honorable Mention award in the Multicultural Non-Fiction category for the 2013 Global ebook Awards.