Sunday, May 17, 2009

Taos, New Mexico & the Taos Pueblo

The day began in Silverton, Colorado, having been in Durango the day before. The air is thin when you are above 9000 feet from sea level. It was easy to get winded from a little exertion the next few days, til we dropped a few thousand feet.

The day that started in Silverton, Roadtripped north on the Million Dollar Highway, ended in Taos, New Mexico. The route to getting to Taos went up and down more mountain passes than I can remember, at times with the summits well above 9000 feet.

At some point coming down a pass we came to a big open flat, marshy looking area with a sign letting us know we were looking at the source of the Rio Grande River. The Rio Grande grew bigger each time we crossed. By the time of the final crossing of the Rio Grande, for the day, it'd grown into a big river that had gouged out the Rio Grande Gorge, requiring a big bridge to cross the river to get to Taos.

As soon as you reach the outskirts of Taos you know you are in a special place. Lots of color, lots of adobe. We stayed at the Taos Quality Inn. At check-in we got a lot of restaurant recommendations. Fred's, a southwest cuisine restaurant was a 2 block walk away. Best Mexican type food ever.

We explored around Taos on bikes. Accidented upon Kit Carson's grave at the Taos Cemetery, which is called Kit Carson Cemetery. Also accidented upon the Mabel Dodge Luhan house. That's it in the picture, above, I think. Mabel Dodge was one of many in the Taos artists colony. At one point she talked D.H. Lawrence into visiting. He stayed awhile til Mabel got on his nerves. I believe he then moved to the Hotel La Fonda on the Taos Plaza.

Near the Mabel Dodge house we came upon the Lumina Sculpture Garden. There was nothing to indicate one was not free to wander around the garden, so that's what we did. As you can see in the picture it's quite a scenic spot.

The Taos Plaza has many restaurants, art galleries and souvenir stores. To me it all had a theme park feel to it. That's a good thing. You got to do a lot of walking to see it all, at times it's a bit of a maze. When darkness falls the Taos Plaza lighting turns it into even more of a magical place.

Speaking of magical. Did you know there is a phenomenon known as "The Taos Hum?" The hum is a constant low frequency sound, able to be heard by those blessed with the ability hear the hum.

Another magical thing about Taos is a short distance north of the Taos Plaza, that being the Taos Pueblo. I'd seen many pictures of the Taos Pueblo, but pictures do not prepare you for the in person experience. The Pueblo is still a living town, populated by Taos Indians, living, for the most part, like they've lived for centuries. That's one small part of the Taos Pueblo in the picture at the top.

You are restricted from some parts of the Pueblo. A guide leads group tours, ostensibly for free, but at the end of the tour he asks for donations. After the tour is over, you are free to explore the parts of the Pueblo that are open to the public. There are bread products being baked, that tempt you to buy some. There are a lot of good smells, in addition to the bread baking, like sage incense burning. The area of the Pueblo open to the public is sort of like a primitive mall. You go in the various rooms where there are opportunities to buy items made by the tribe. And other stuff.

An incongruous thing that struck me as funny, due to the guide saying they had no modern conveniences in the Pueblo, was that all the "stores" accepted credit cards. I've no idea how that worked without electricity.

Taos was being so much fun we ended up staying 3 days before heading south to look for the Trinity Site of the first atom bomb and Alamogordo.

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