Our drive from Durango, Colorado to Taos, New Mexico was about five hours through rolling countryside and over the Continental Divide. We actually drove through Taos and up the Taos Canyon to Angel Fire Resort. That meant pulling the trailer through the narrowest section of the historic downtown and up the winding road, but Doug was up to the challenge and did fine. Here’s a photo of the narrow street, taken the next day.

Taos_street

The Angel Fire RV Resort is part of the Angel Fire Ski and Summer Resort and is the most impressive RV park we have ever stayed in. The large sites are paved with an expanse of grass. The clubhouse, gatehouse and bathhouse are all decorated in a western lodge style. Here are some photos of a couple of mirrors; one is in the clubhouse hallway, the other in the bathhouse lobby. The bottom photo is the fireplace in the clubhouse lobby.

We had long views to the mountains around and heard elk bugling most nights. Here’s a photo of one evening sky with billowing clouds. (No rain that night)

clouds_angelfire

The Rio Grande River Gorge near Taos flows in a rift valley. The gorge was not formed by water like many of the canyons that we have visited, but rather by two continental plates shifting. There is a beautiful bridge that spans the gorge that allowed us a brief glimpse of the gorge when we first crossed it with the trailer. We went back with just the truck to get a closer view.

The day before, we found a bike trail a little farther down the gorge appropriately called “Rift trail.” It was full of flowy dirt tracks interspersed with “not-too-rocky” downhills and wash crossings. Wendy was especially excited at being able to stay on her bike the whole route, now that her hand and concussion were fully healed and she had adapted to the altitude. The views near the edge were fantastic.

We also had to do the typical tourist stuff while in the Taos area. We visited the Taos Pueblo, the oldest continuously inhabited community in the United States. Many of the homes now operate as shops, with the shopkeepers living in regular houses outside the pueblo and only living in the ancient adobe homes for special occasions. We were more interested in buying products that we knew were made from the shopkeepers or their family, rather than imported from outside the area.

The bottom right photo is of an oven that they still use for feast days. Once the oven is hot, they burn cedar to get a high heat to bake biscuits and cookies.

That same day seemed to have an architectural theme, because we also visited the Earthship Biotecture Visitor Centre. Taos is their world headquarters for homes that are built with natural and recycled materials and include thermal/solar heating and cooling, water harvesting, contained sewage treatment, solar and wind electricity and food production, all with a funky style. Photos right to left: Visitor Centre: “standard” Earthship; greenhouse along front of house; wall in front of yard to allow the back to be in the earth and the front to have sunlight.

The only Earthship that you were allowed to enter was the Visitor Centre. We took a drive to try and get a better look at the other homes. They don’t allow you to drive on to their property (understandably), so this view is with a telephoto lens from the highway. They were all very unique.

Earthship2

Even the brewpubs we visited had interesting architecture. Taos Mesa Brewing had a labyrinth in front and a bandstand made with “Earthship” techniques in the back. They had live music most nights; some free, some with an entrance fee. The Enchanted Circle Brewing Company in Angel Fire was made to look like an adobe home.

It rained on and off for the last day we were in the area. Luckily there was an Environmental Film Festival at the community auditorium. We saw Coral Reef Adventure (amazing photography, made originally for IMAX) and Groundswell, a surfing/environmental project filmed on the BC coast. Somehow it seemed to be fitting to watch ocean movies on a rainy day in the South West. Back in camp that afternoon, Wendy set up her sewing machine, and cutting and ironing boards in the expansive clubhouse and sewed a small handbag. She had the whole place to herself.

Wendy_quilt

The plan of this September trip was to get to Colorado to catch the fall colours. The fall colours around Taos and Angel Fire were also great – a bonus for us. Next blog post will describe what we saw near Aspen, Colorado.

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