New Mexico

My Summer

Monsoon brewing, Taos, New Mexico

Hello, everyone,

Darcy, Pat, and I are fresh off our vacation to Taos. Sure, we had fun, but we worked as well—on CLON-X. We’re making good progress and can’t wait to send it out for the first round of professional edits. Woof woof!

I love Taos—the chilly mornings and nights, and the stormy monsoons that cool the warm afternoons. I also dig the unique smells—sage, piñon, chamisa, and the dusty earth tamed after a good rain. The plaintive cries of the wandering bands of coyotes hot on the hunt, the occasional jackrabbit that scurries across my path during an early-morning walk, and the noisy crows perched on the parapets of our house—all keep me entertained. On our patio, hordes of hummingbirds swarm our feeders, but I’ve grown used to their zooming hums as they buzz back and forth, and their constant, pleasant chirps, so they no longer hold my attention. What I enjoy the most is the silence, broken infrequently by some distant human or canine.

I also had fun taking day trips from Taos. On one, I saw my first pronghorn. He was pretty cool. I thought he was a statue until he turned tail and ran. No way could I keep up with him, so I didn’t try. We also visited El Bosque Garlic Farm in Dixon. I wasn’t the least bit interested in produce, but the owner, Stan, had two heelers and we hung out for a half hour until we were off to La Chiripada Winery. And I always look forward to dining on the patio at Bent Street Cafe for breakfast and Medley for dinner. Again, I got plenty of attention.

The only downside to our Taos visits? Slow or no Internet, which also has its pluses. Our house is located in Taos County and is surrounded by mountains, with the nearest cell tower well out of range. We’ve tried several alternatives, but all have failed, or the download speeds have been incredibly slow, which is why we’ve been off the social radar for a few weeks.

In the past, we’ve worked around this obstacle. A few years back, our favorite hangout for Wi-Fi was the Wired? Cyber Cafe. A bit of a drive from home, but worth the visit for Internet and good food and drinks in a pleasant environment. We would always try to show up early to beat the crowds drawn to the popular coffeehouse set in a former convent. If we arrived late and the masses had already beat us there, we’d experience a wait downloading our emails or conducting any online business for our LLC such as scheduling or reviewing blog posts. Forget any frivolous social media dabbling—keeping in contact for sheer fun. But never mind—sometimes you need to disconnect from your devices and reconnect with nature and see people face-to-face. While in Taos, we usually spend our mornings hiking, our afternoons taking a siesta, and our nights socializing—in person. Unfortunately, Wired? is permanently closed.

These days, we hang out at Koko (Koko Coffee/Deli/Carry-Out). They have a small collection of brightly colored tables and chairs on the walkway outside their establishment. I’m comfortable there in the morning hours, and the comings and goings of their patrons entertain me. As I keep hearing, giant schnauzers are not a common sight, so I get a lot of attention and I love it.

Perfect ending to a perfect day

During our last visit to Taos and Santa Fe, we learned to seize the moment, as in use free Wi-Fi whenever we could find it, but we refrained from using unsecured networks for anything vulnerable to a hack. Yesterday, we ate lunch on the Santa Fe Plaza and availed ourselves of free Wi-Fi, unburdening our mail outbox. I think they call this multitasking. Lunch over and emails sent, we went sightseeing, took a walk up Canyon Road, and ended with a stroll along the Santa Fe River before piling back into our SUV for the return drive to Taos. Ironically, our fastest download speed in Taos was while sitting in our SUV outside Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, Inc. Kit Carson also offers Internet service, and Pat was checking on the availability of fiber optics in our area of the county. Hopefully, Kit Carson can locate a fiber hub close to our property.

Now that we are back in Texas, we’re ready to launch our new blog post series. Next week: we go Down Under, back to New Zealand, to revisit some South Island haunts and to see the North Island for the first time.

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Taos Hike: The La Vista Verde Trail

The La Vista Verde Trail, in the Orilla Verde Recreation Area, runs from State Highway 567 to an overlook point with the Rio Grande Gorge rapids far below. The steep-walled gorge trail has dramatic changes in elevation and draws many species including raptors (such as eagles and hawks), songbirds, waterfowl, beavers, cougars, ring-tailed cats, and mule deer. The trail is 1.2 miles long. We started at 6,243 feet, with an elevation gain of 88 feet as the trail climbed—a gradual gain in elevation and an easy hike.

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