When the caveman and I took a trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico, we spent a day at the Nambe Pueblo. I enjoyed photographing a pretty church with old mission style architecture. The highlight of our day, however, was hiking to the top of Nambe Falls of Rio Nambe and seeing a panoramic view of the Pueblo stretched out before us. The hiking paths were quite rugged and the river rushing full and muddy after receiving record rainfall just days before we arrived.
This spectacular waterfall is situated amidst 20,000 acres of high desert. A recreation area centered around the falls is open to visitors for camping, hiking and fishing. Although at the time of our visit no fishing was allowed as they were undergoing a restoration project of the fish population after a catastrophic fire affected the Nambe Reservoir and resulted in a devastating complete fish kill.
The hike to the falls is a quarter of a mile, uphill, in rough, rocky terrain so it’s pretty slow going. The nearest restaurant or food store is twenty minutes away. If you decide to go for a hike, be sure to pack a picnic and plenty of water. Also, wear good shoes that you don’t mind getting wet and muddy. The caveman got pretty muddy and could not understand how the gringa arrived back to the car after traveling the same trails and the white trim around my cute little flats was spotless. I just say, “It’s all part of my mystery and charm.”
If you’re not too pooped out after the hike to the falls, you might want to check out the tribe’s buffalo herd. The Inter Tribal Buffalo Council has been tending their herd since 1994. When the buffalo were decimated by Europeans throughout New Mexico, the Pueblo peoples suffered greatly. To reintroduce them back into their culture has great meaning and significance and is symbolic of renewal and triumph. The traditional Buffalo Dance has taken on new meaning at Nambe. The herd is not reared simply to be seen and as a reminder of history. Occasionally the tribe slaughters in the traditional respectful manner in accordance to their traditions in order to feed the elders and tribal members. A trail loop two miles long can be traveled where hikers can view the buffalo at pasture against the stunning backdrop of the Pueblo lands framed by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
Being a patio gardener, the gringa also took pleasure in the Pueblo’s community garden and vineyard. The tribe grows four grape varieties, corn and a few various other crops and herbs. The abundance of the community’s harvest feeds the seniors living on the Pueblo as well as the entire community at the harvest festival held at the end of the growing season. The community garden also provides an educational opportunity to pass down the Tewa language with the youth learning the native names for the plants and foods they help to cultivate.
The tribes settled in the northern New Mexico region have populated the Pueblo of Nambe since the fourteenth century. Situated in the beautiful Sangre de Cristo Mountains a short drive from Santa Fe, it makes a great day trip with the opportunity to appreciate the picturesque beauty of the landscape, experience living history, and bring home handcrafted textiles and pottery.
Any trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico should include a visit to the Estrellas del Norte Vineyard. It is a local operation that produces fantastic wines. The vineyard is small enough that the staff can really be attentive and engaging. We explored the grounds which were filled with sculptures and features that ranged from Zen-inspired to fairyland whimsy. A visit to the wine tasting room is the perfect way to end the day. The ladies who served us were very informed and answered all of our questions while at the same time being so genuinely funny I could have sat an drank wine all night with them. Instead, we purchased a few bottles to take home and the romantic day turned into an even more romantic evening for the gringa and her caveman. Sweet!
The caveman and I took an artwalk down Baca St in Santa Fe in 2013. We saw glass blowers create beautiful, delicate globes, vases and wine glasses. As we meandered to a crossroads we took a turn down Canyon Street where I saw this sculpture outside an art gallery. I just loved it. It made me laugh. Usually when one thinks of high end, costly pieces of art, an image of beauty or serious contemplation comes to mind. It tickled the gringa’s fancy to see high end, costly art that was whimsical.
Hiking the beaches of Supe Puerto in Peru with the caveman and our youngest son. That’s my little seizure-alert service dog, Abby, wrapped up from the cold. We started out with some general directions to an area where there were some old ruins. We never found them but, sometimes, a wrong turn is an adventure all its own.
We hiked all day and were the only three humans around. Vultures followed us. The gringa is certain they were waiting for us to drop dead. We discovered a lighthouse and rested in craggy inlets where the surf crashed into the rocks a few feet away from us and the spray would shoot way over our heads. The geography of this coastal area was that of a coastal desert. Although it was barren, it had its own rugged beauty and lonely, melancholy charm.
We hiked to a small island and stayed too long, The tide came in so quickly we almost got stranded. I got bootfuls of water slogging through the surf. Luckily my hand knitted wool leggings I had purchased from one of the local market stalls dried out pretty quickly.
We had a wonderful time and were absolutely exhausted by the time we got back to town.
The caveman and the gringa traveled to Peru in 2013. We wandered to a beautiful town at the foot of the Andes called Chosica. It has a reputation of having sunshine year round and the coldest damn river running through town from the snow melts up in the mountains.The caveman played soccer there in his younger days and we were on a mission to find an old soccer buddy.
We wandered streets in the old neighborhood (hills, mind you, up and down for hours) knocking on doors and asking people if they knew “So and So”. They would point us in a direction and off we would go. From the many people we met in the streets and asked, we finally got lucky. A very friendly drunk fellow knew just the house we were looking for. I think he got confused and took a couple of wrong turns but we eventually got there. The caveman’s friend wasn’t home but we chatted with his daughter and exchanged phone numbers and addresses. We thought we would try again later.
Although we were exhausted from traipsing up and down “suburbia” for hours, we walked back to the town’s main attraction, a large, beautiful park. We visited the park and it was filled with people. We drank fresh pressed sugar cane juice and viewed the icy river rushing under a walk-over bridge. We saw an enormous statue of Jesus with a walk-under waterfall. We enjoyed some talented street performers, one of which played this beautiful handcrafted harp.
Eventually we called his friend but it was impossible for us to all get together that night. It would take three more days of the caveman waiting anxiously until, the very day we were to leave, he was able to meet with his very best friend that he had not seen in almost thirty years. Everyone cried. The only way our trip could have ended more perfectly was if we could have packed him up and brought him home with us. But, at least they now know where each other are and can keep in touch.
It was a beautiful day in Lima for this lady to walk home with her day’s worth of shopping. This is one of the most beautiful walks in all of Lima, Peru.
Out on a sandbar exploring the river in la selva de Peru and we stumble upon this one lonely egg. That is most definitely the caveman’s hairy foot with the egg and not the gringa’s.
My caveman and I deep in the jungles of Peru, in “la selva”. As a boy growing up he remembers his grandfather, from time to time, making a dug-out canoe just like these. His grandfather would take the caveman and his cousins out on the river and toss out some kind of explosive. Then he would tell the boys to dive for the fish. No playtime until dinner was gathered!
I love this mural that is in the town square at Tarapoto, Peru.
Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the gringa publishes her thought provoking articles. I’ve decided the rest of the week, in order to keep myself busy (which keeps me out of trouble), I will publish some of my favorite photos. The caption for the above photos is:
My caveman and oldest son, back in 2008, collecting fresh coconuts from abuelito’s ranch in la selva (the jungle) de Peru.