Yesterday we drove the Enchanted Circle up to Questa, over the Red River Valley to Eagles Nest and then back to Taos via Angel Fire. This is a loop that takes you around Wheeler Peak, the highest peak in New Mexico at 13,161 feet. You can see Wheeler Peak in the background of the first photo. This peak is part of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains which are the Southern end of the Rocky Mountain Range. The first mountain pass that we crossed was Bobcat Pass at 9820 ft. where we saw an active molybdenum mine near Red River. We then dropped down to a valley with Eagles Nest Lake which is supposed to be famous for its trout but most of the businesses were closed so we continued on to Angel Fire, a ski town, where we had lunch at the Tres Amigos. The second photo was taken on the road down to Eagles Nest. This was a pleasant drive and we took many photos for future paintings.
Today we decided to make the trip to Chama which is up near the Colorado border to the West of Taos. We headed North out of Taos and then turned West across the sagebrush plateau. About 7 miles later we came to the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge which was the 2nd highest suspension bridge in the world in 1965 when it was constructed. It is suspended 600 feet above the river. That little speck out on the bridge is Allan. When you are out on the bridge and a vehicle goes by, the whole bridge sags and sways and bounces. It was really tricky getting the gorge photo while holding on to my hat, the camera, and the guard rail.
Further on down the highway we encountered some strange dwellings buried in the earth. They turned out to be the "greenist" homes you could imagine. They use only the sun and wind for electricity and only the rain and snow for water. They recycle the water four times and the third time it is used for the toilet and the fourth time it is used to water the plants. They are called Earthship Biotecture http://www.earthship.net/ and their homes are not cheap, just sustainable. They are constructed with old tires filled with earth, and old aluminum cans and bottles. They also use old sheet metal from old appliances as decorative embellishments. The water is collected on the roof and goes to an underground cistern which is then pumped up to be used for showers or drinking after it has been filtered. In the 3rd photo of an earthship home, you can see the tires that have not been covered in earth or plastered yet. This home was still under construction. Some of the homes were quite fantastical including one which looks like a nautilus (which you can see inside and out on their website). There must have been over 50 homes scattered in this general area although the website says that earthship homes are all over the world and can be in any climate as long as they can face the sun.
The remainder of the trip to Chama will be in the next blog....stay tuned.