It turns out that Cochiti Lake Corps of Engineers campground was never closed during the big government shutdown, because they continued operating by using holdover funds from last year. Good for them! But the campsites were mostly empty since their high season was over. Of course I could get a lovely view of the lake, at a dry camping site (meaning: no-electric) which suited me fine. I enjoyed the nearby tiny Navajo village and planned to experience the Slot Canyon at Tent Rocks National Monument the next day. Not being in the mountains, I knew the temperature here would be warm – but for me that means hot. I was pleasantly surprised how nice this campsite was, and was happy to settle here for a few days.
I was happy that I could hike through the slot canyon and then come back and complete the loop trail. I am going to post more than usual photos from that hike on this page. I was surprised that even with my heart problem and bad knees, I continued much further on than some of the other visitors. I did not want to climb the 650 feet after the canyon to the top of the ridge, so I can’t share the views from the summit. There is a photo album at this link:
I drove to Santa Fe, and for the first time had to rent space in an independent for-profit RV park. But it was right on the public transit bus line and I could easily get to Old Town, so I could walk around and visit the Loreto Chapel “miraculous staircase”, one of the few places on my bucket list. It’s easy to google information on this beautiful construction, and I felt honored and touched to see it in person.
I had been skittish about driving up to Taos, since the weather was iffy and snow was forecast. I am reluctant to drive my motor home in slick conditions, especially since I’m towing a car. But the next morning looked good, so off I went, right up into the mountains. I parked in the Sierra Valley RV park, located outside the city in a canyon on the road to Eagle’s Nest. I drove my car straight back to the Taos Pueblo, where I could enjoy the ancient dwellings and meet some of the local Navajo Indians. Unsurprisingly once I got settled in for the night in my RV, I could hear the wind picking up and soon snow started falling. I woke up to about four inches of snow, which was beautiful but threatening.
The soft sandy ground was muddy and I went scouting around town. Later that day I experienced another first — parking for the night at a Walmart parking lot! This was not an experience I had happily anticipated, but it turned out to be fine. There were a couple other RVs there, and the evening was pretty quiet. Besides, I could shop for the last items on my “should get” list. I heartily recommend La Cueva restaurant for great take-out food, which is another thing I don’t do often.
The next morning I drove up to Arroyo Seco, where I later learned that actress Julia Roberts has a home for her young family. It’s really a one block town, in a small ski resort area. But the few shops are very expensive, and I especially enjoyed one for hand weavers. Beautiful stuff!
Moving on! We’re heading to Cochiti Lake Corps of Engineers campground near Tent Rocks National Monument, and finally I will hike a Slot Canyon. Can’t wait!