Last Days in Santa Fe

Santa Fe, NM

During our one week stay in Santa Fe the forecast was for a couple of days with good weather and a few with cold, rain, and wind.  The forecast was pretty accurate so we had nice days to visit the two spots on our must do list:  Tent Rocks NM and Bandelier NM (see previous blogs).  On other days we didn’t do much since it was cold, wet, and windy.  One morning we even woke up to a covering of snow!

One day as we neared the end of our stay, the temperature was just warm enough for a little bit of exploration outside.  So we headed north on I-25 about 30 miles for a visit to Pecos National Historical Park.

The park preserves the ruins of Pecos Pueblo. The first Pecos Pueblo was one of two dozen rock-and-mud villages built in the valley around 1100. Within 350 years the  Pecos village had grown to house more than 2,000 people in its five storied complex.   A 1.25 mile self-guiding trail begins at the visitor center and winds through the ruins of Pecos Pueblo and a mission church.

Visitor Center

As we entered the visitor center a ranger was about to lead a group of 37 eighth and ninth grade students on a tour of the ruins and invited us to join them.  Not a chance!  After spending our careers in education, we knew better than that and politely declined the invitation.  Instead we watched a video about the park and let the students get far down the tour path before we set out on it.

The ruins are on top of the ridge ahead

Restored Kiva next to ruins

Spanish explorers arrived in the area in 1541 looking for gold.  Finding none they moved on, but were soon followed by Franciscan friars who worked to convert the residents of the pueblo to Christianity.  In the early 1600 they built a large mission church next to the pueblo.  The church was destroyed by the puebloans during a revolt against the Spanish in 1680.  In 1692 the Spanish returned and later built a smaller church on the remains of the one destroyed.  Part of this later church have been restored.

The picture below, taken in the 1880s, shows Adolph Bandelier (namesake of Bandelier National Monument) who helped with the church restoration.

Same view today

We have followed a blog called Island Girl Walkabout for a number years and met the authors, Hector and Brenda, a few years ago in the desert of Southern California.  Since then we have crossed paths on a number of occasions.  Last July they decided to settle down and bought a beautiful house just north of Albuquerque.  During our stay in Santa Fe they invited us down to their house for a visit and dinner.  We were anxious to visit with them and see their new digs, plus we never pass up a free home cooked meal, so on our last day in the area we headed south to the town of Corrales.

Hector and Brenda in front of their new home

Their new house is just beautiful inside and out.  Plus it has a gorgeous view of the Sandia Mountains to the east.

Our real reason for this visit was to spend some time with Angel, their beautiful dog.  Angel is getting up there in years and has been experiencing some health problems lately.  But she is still enjoying life and was pleased to re-unite with the “treat lady” who always has something tasty in her pocket.

After enjoying a great meal and equally great conversation, we headed back to Santa Fe.  With rain in the forecast for later in the day, we wanted to get an early start the next morning.  We were up early and ready to head out a little after 8:00 for a 200 mile drive to our next stop, Farmington, NM.

Beautiful views on US-550 heading north

We are now set up in McGee Park, which is part of the San Juan County Fairgrounds.  We are waiting for good weather so we can drive south for a visit to the remote Chaco Culture National Historic Park.  A portion of the drive to Chaco is on an unmaintained dirt road so we need to let things dry out from some recent rains.

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16 Responses to Last Days in Santa Fe

  1. geogypsy2u says:

    Looks like more restoration on the church than the ruins. Yet another to add to my growing, thanks to you, New Mexico list. Never turn down a home meal.

  2. Debbie L says:

    Oh it’s so beautiful out there! What crazy climate, though. It just doesn’t look like snow country.
    Beautiful home and sounds so ideal. Thought you were going to say you really wanted to see if that was a place to settle down! But it was all about a precious dog 🐶!!!

  3. exploRVistas says:

    Yikes…don’t fall into the kiva!

  4. pmbweaver says:

    I love the photo with what the church looked like. And again for the hundredth time…just amazing how they even built those structures.

    Oh what a view Hector and Brenda. Everyday looking at the mountains…wow.
    What a push over the “treat lady” is….lol

    You sure your clock was running correctly? 8 a.m…maybe it stopped during the night. Better check the battery…hehe

  5. Oh you are in for a real treat at Chaco… except for the road in there 🙂

  6. Can’t wait to see Chaco photos!

  7. Snow…not your favorite, I know! Looks pretty though! How fun you got to meet up with Hector and Brenda in their new digs!

  8. Gay says:

    I’ve enjoyed your adventures in Santa Fe. Hope to make that a stop one day. Brenda, Hector and Angel look so happy in their new home.

  9. Glad you got to visit with Angel (and Hector and Brenda, of course!). They do look happy there.
    Some friends of ours are in the same area and have been waiting on the road to Chaco to dry out, too. Not sure if they made it yet but they were planning to drive their Lazy Daze motorhome to Chaco, if you can believe that.

  10. Laurel says:

    Too bad you had so many days of bad weather in Santa Fe—but glad you were able to get out on the two “good” days to do the hiking you wanted. We love Santa Fe and don’t mind when it’s snowing or raining because we enjoy exploring the galleries, museums, and cafes. It’s one of our favorite places and Eric always has to drag me away. 🙂 So fun you got to visit with Hector, Brenda and Angel!

  11. Sherry says:

    Cold and Snow in April in Santa Fe? Good thing to know. Amazing how different life building Peublos was from what was going on in Europe at the same time, namely Crusades as best I remember. Another very interesting spot you’ve added to my list.
    How wonderful that you keep up with friends you met on the road even after they go off the road. Beautiful views from their house. In our previous life as long time tent campers we spent about 5 days camped in Chaco and being there 24/7 was one of the most wonderful experiences we’ve ever had. Sure hope it dries out so you can go

  12. LuAnn says:

    I miss the museums and galleries in Santa Fe, which is what we girls did back in the day. What a treat that you got to see Hector, Brenda, and Angel again. Their home looks lovely! Looking forward to hearing all about Chaco.

  13. Jim and Barb says:

    I showed Daisy and Dakota the picture of you feeding Angel and they are none too happy!

  14. Jodee Gravel says:

    Those ruins are beautiful! I love that area and their home is so lovely – what a treat! What a pretty drive. Can’t wait to see where you stay in Farmington 😀

  15. Sometimes down days are good. Just not too many. Good thinking on joining the kids.

  16. This is the year of the ruins! I am enjoying exploring it with you and hopefully we will follow your tracks.

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