After over a month in Colorado, it was time to journey southward to meet my parents in Albuquerque, New Mexico. They arrived about a week before me, and we were to rendezvous in Albuquerque then move north again to Santa Fe, where we would base our operations for another week and make day trips to the surrounding area.
During this time, we visited Tsankawi, site of Ancestral Pueblo ruins and traces of foot paths worn into the soft sandstone. It's amazing to be able to walk in the same footsteps of a civilization of a thousand years ago.
We continued on to Los Alamos and the Valles Caldera, definitely the largest alpine meadow I've ever seen. That afternoon I took a soak in the San Antonio hot springs, made up of a few small pools a short hike away from a forest road west of the caldera.
We took in a couple of the opera performances, where my camping rig provided an excellent platform for the customary tailgating in the parking lot before the show.
As my parents were staying in hotels and mysteriously did not share my confidence in my ability to find campsites close at hand, they arranged for extra space for me in their accomodations in town, providing a short break from life in the woods, where showers are not quite so convenient as the turn of a knob and clean linens do not come in endless supply. The highlight of the accommodations was the Inn of the Turquoise Bear, former home and party venue of Witter Bynner and contemporary purveyor of comfortable nights and delicious breakfasts.
We sampled the local New Mexican cuisine in abundance, refining my palette for both red and green sauce, and adding a new contender for top breakfast burrito in America to my list (The Pantry...it's pretty amazing). My favorite of the local New Mexican cuisine was La Choza for excellent enchiladas, great margaritas, and the best example by far of posole, a dish previously mundane to my palette.