Friday, the 30th, we headed for Santa Fe bright and early to try and avoid the crowds - nice try but no cigar. We mainly just wanted to go to the plaza and stroll around it. I cannot imagine how crowded this place is during the regular season as it was very busy the morning we went. Of course some of the crowd is due to the balloon festival being held in Albuquerque since it is less than an hour away. The Santa Fe Plaza is a small plaza with many shops around it on the side streets radiating out from the plaza center. We spent a couple of hours walking the streets and seeing what the shops had to offer. We found the main offering was high prices. I guess it is because many of the items are one-of-a-kind but with prices going up to several thousand dollars we will just spend our money on the Mothership - it's a lot more fun!
Saturday and Sunday were football days but Monday we got our hiking gear on and went to the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument
where we hiked the two trails available there. The first was the canyon trail which weaves it way up a slot canyon
. It was a hike with fantastic scenery as we walked beneath the tall walls of contrasting stone layers. Of course a slot canyon by definition is very narrow and we found many obstacles had washed into the bottom of the canyon that we had to climb over. In our younger days it would not have been so difficult but both of us have fallen enough that we are very careful now as we traverse rough terrain. One of the hardest parts was going over areas where the bottom of the canyon had washed out the stone so that there was just a small "V" in the rock to walk in. It was just wide enough at the bottom for one shoe width and the walls were not wide enough to allow you to bring your back foot forward over the front foot. We finally developed the technique of skipping so that we would take a large step with the front foot and then bring the back foot up directly behind the front foot and then repeat. It was a great hike of about two miles and though difficult the views were well worth it.
We then walked the cave trail up around the tent rock base. It involved a pretty good climb on the rising terrain so that we got a good look at the valley around us. The caves themselves were man-made a long time ago by the same peoples that occupied the Bandelier National Monument - the Cochiti people are the descendants of those early people. After the two trails we took another drive up to the Veteran's Overlook which gave us an even better look at the countryside, including the tent rock area. Libby liked it because she got to ride down another gravel road. That road had been closed until that morning due to being washed out by flooding waters.
Tuesday we worked on the Mothership inside and out, doing a deep cleaning she sorely needed. Of course since I washed her, it started raining in the afternoon and continued all night.
We head for Albuquerque tomorrow for a four night stay to see the Balloon Fiesta before beginning our trek back East.