When mom and dad got the suitcases out, I was hopeful that it meant a road trip with me and not an airplane ride without me. Mom told me we were going to celebrate our birthdays, so I got very excited! My birthday is September 26, and my mom’s is October 1. Our tradition is to go someplace new where we can escape the heat and hopefully see some fall color.
The car was loaded up, and I settled into my kennel. Off we went for a place called New Mexico. I have never been to this state, but mom told me it was similar to Colorado and that I would like it. What I didn’t know is how long of a drive it would be. Ugh! Apparently, every single highway in New Mexico is under construction, and our 9 ½ hour drive turned into 12 hours with I-40 in Gallop the worst. We sat still for hours! Dad said there was a northern and southern route, but both of them added a lot more miles. So, we were kind of stuck with I-40 east through Albuquerque to I-25 through Santa Fe and onward to Highway 285 North and NM 68 North to Angel Fire, NM.
It was totally dark when we arrived to our hotel, the Elk Lodge. The room was basic, and the TV hardly worked. With only a couple of restaurants in the entire town, we decided we wouldn’t stay here again. However, the area is amazing, and after a good night’s rest, we were ready to explore.
We had a decent breakfast at the Angel Fire Bakery before heading to the Oeste Trail, just a few minutes down the road and across from the Country Club. The parking lot is small but free, and it doesn’t have any human restrooms. Plan accordingly! We immediately felt the elevation of 8,200 feet and read that we should go counter-clockwise to get the steep part over. And climb we did! Mom was glad she had her hiking pole. This 2.5-mile loop gains over 500 feet, bringing you up to over 9,000 feet. It starts in the forest, and mom was thrilled to see fall color. I loved the soft ground and cool temps, which were in the 40s!
Within a quarter of a mile, you’ll see a sign for the short loop. Don’t take it as this is just an extremely short loop back to the parking lot. Instead, continue on the full loop. As you climb, you will have some peek through views of the surrounding mountain range and awesome look at Angel Fire down below.
We met a nice man on trail who lives in Angel Fire in the summer and Sedona in the winter. Small world! As we hit the half way mark, we started to come back around with even better mountain views. Should you want to have a snack, there’s a picnic table at the half-way mark with spectacular views of the lake.
Before we knew it, we were back to the car, but the adventures continued. I just love road trips! We got on Highway 64 or what they call The Enchanted Circle scenic drive. This took us from Angel Fire up to Eagle’s Nest and then onward to Red River, a ski town. Mom loved Red River, and had a lovely lunch outside looking at the ski runs. Red River is lodged within rugged mountains, and the town offers quaint shops and restaurants. While mom checked out the trinket shops, dad and I hung out at the park. The grass felt so good after lunch that I may have dozed off.
We continued on the Enchanted Circle loop down through Questa, Arroyo Honda, Taos and Shady Brook and enjoyed beautiful scenery. Just before Angel Fire, we visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Dad loves history and read that the Huey helicopter on display was damaged in 1967 with a total of 135 bullet holes in it. The memorial grounds, museum, and chapel are all free and were funded by Dr. Victor and Jeanne Westphall to honor their son, 1st Lt. David Westphall who died in combat in 1968.
The day was winding down, and we headed back to the hotel so mom and dad could clean up for dinner. We got some tasty ribs at Zeb’s! What a day but our trip wasn’t over yet. Stay tuned next week when I share about our time in Taos, New Mexico.
PS – For those fans who enjoy my monthly column in 85086 Magazine, the publisher is discontinuing it. Never fear! They are moving my column to Foothills Focus starting with the November issue.
My mom, Lorraine Bossé-Smith, is kind enough to help me share my Great Adventures, big and small. My mom is a motivational speaker, corporate trainer, executive recruiter, business consultant, coach, fitness expert, and author of nine published books. More importantly, she’s the best doggy mom ever!
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Get outside! You never know what you’ll discover, and our paths just might cross. Happy tails!