My Life as a Traveler

Do You Know the Way to Santa Fe?

Glowing silver-green bushes on the Atalaya Trail

I always love adding a new place to my list of places traveled. On Facebook, there’s an app where you can fill in all the places you’ve been. I’m working on filling out the world, and last month, I added New Mexico to my list.

I had come back from Paris with the kids 3 days ago and George was still in Europe, set to come home the day I leave for Albuquerque. I’m attending a 5 day conference to update my R.A.D. Systems instructor status. I dropped Morgan off at his friend’s house the day before, so all I had to do was drop the car off at the airport (Level 7, see my Facebook post at DEFY the Bad Guy fan page and like me if you haven’t already!) and go.

I’m a little early, and being a frequent flyer, I can stand by for any earlier flight for free (I think they charge non-frequent flyers $50). Looks like my confirmed flight is late anyhow, so I talk to a free person at the gate and get on the earlier flight to Philly. This time of year is thunderstorm season, and it’s good to at least get out of Norfolk, and ideally out of Philadelphia, before 3pm, when the worst weather usually comes. My new schedule now goes through Denver, and I get into Albuquerque about bedtime.

It’s Sunday, and the conference doesn’t start until Monday, so I have a free day. I rent a car and head up to Santa Fe. The weather is warm but dry. Albuquerque is 5000 feet above sea level; Santa Fe is 7000. I had no idea. I really want to be out in New Mexican nature, so I did some research and found a walk on a popular trail over Santa Fe. After my wanderings, I will drive up to Gabriel’s, a restaurant recommended by the guy on the rental car bus. I find the trailhead (without GPS!) and start walking up. It’s beautiful! Red rock, glowing silver bushes, blooming cacti, and little lizards everywhere. However, there are not as many people on this “popular” trail as I would like, and I turn around and head back to the car, not wanting to be featured in tomorrow’s headline: “Self-Defense Instructor Assaulted on Deserted Trail.”

I find another more heavily traveled trail up to the top of the hill. Wow.

Down the hill, I drive around the downtown area and head north to Gabriel’s Restaurant. Right off the freeway, it’s at the base of the mountains heading up to Taos. Yum with a view.

Wishing I had more time to explore downtown Santa Fe, I head back south to Albuquerque as black clouds roll in and random drops hit the windshield. I’ve a bit of a sunburn and my tummy is full. All in all a good day.

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