It was time for another motorcycle trip so at the end of June, 2018, we loaded up the Harley and headed west. Red River, New Mexico, would be our home base for a few days as we explored the 83-mile loop, known as The Enchanted Circle, which runs through the mountains, valleys and national forests of Northern New Mexico.
For accommodations we chose the WorldMark Red River which is within walking distance of the center of the village of Red River. Our stay at the WorldMark included a two-bedroom suite complete with our own kitchen and balcony overlooking a popular honey-hole for trout fishing along the banks of the Red River.
|Many deer in Red River will take food from your hand|
|We watched this man from Oklahoma snag a nice rainbow|
|We spotted one Golden Trout among all the Rainbows|
It seemed that fishing this honey hole was about the only activity one could participate in due to fire bans. Weeks before our arrival there was a forest fire in Ute Park which burned approximately 36,000 acres. Combining that with the fact that the area was experiencing an extreme drought meant that the Kit Carson National Forest was off limits to any type of use including fishing, hiking, camping and ATV use.
|All areas of the Kit Carson National Forest was closed due to drought and fire|
|In this photo you can see how dry Eagles Nest Lake was in June of 2018|
|Not sure if they were practicing or letting water out of their tanks but we happened upon a fire crew from Wheeler Peak and Red River working|
|Old mining truck in middle of Red River, New Mexico|
Fortunately, that didn't stop us from roaming the Enchanted Circle via motorcycle on paved roads! We began our drive by heading west of Red River through Questa, New Mexico, and on into Taos, New Mexico, where we stopped to visit the Rio Grande Gorge and the Taos Pueblo.
|Bridge that crosses Rio Grande Gorge|
|Kind of sad but we suppose there are a lot of jumps from the bridge|
|Rio Grande River runs through the gorge|
Archaeologists believe that the ancestors of the Taos Indians lived in the Taos Valley long before Columbus discovered America. The main part of the Taos Pueblo buildings were most likely constructed between 1000 and 1450 A.D. They appear today as they did when the first Spanish explorers arrived in Northern New Mexico in 1540 and believed that the Pueblo was one of the fabled golden cities of Cibola.
|Church in the middle of the Taos Pueblo|
|Taos Pueblo with rain clouds behind|
|Beautiful Taos Pueblo - can you tell why the Spaniards through it was made of gold?|
Many relatives of the Taos People still own homes within the Pueblo and sell their wares and specialty treats for visitors such as ourselves. We visited with one man who's family has owned a house within the Pueblo since it was first built. Although they do not live in it now the family returns for special celebrations. He explained to us the different types of foods that would be prepared for their cultural celebrations and the different types of ovens used to cook their bread. We purchased a fry bread from him which he freshly prepared for us from within his family's home. We enjoyed our delicious snack sitting under a tree near the Rio Pueblo de Taos, or the river that runs through the Taos Pueblo. We visited with another man from the Taos Pueblo and asked when he thought it was going to rain. We loved his answer as he remarked, "it won't rain until people start acting right." As we left Taos, New Mexico, we could see rain clouds in the direction we were headed - towards Angel Fire, New Mexico.
As we moved closer to Angel Fire the hot June temperatures dropped and a cool breeze began to blow. We joked that perhaps people were "acting right" but we were only disappointed when the clouds disappeared and the sun returned to beat down on our backs.
And that is just how the rest of our trip went! The wind blew hot and dry. No rain eased our discomfort or the pour discomfort of the dried up New Mexico high desert. Miserable, we left our beloved New Mexico vowing never to return.
PART TWO: THE RAINS CAME!
Not being able to stay away from New Mexico for very long, TK headed to Angel Fire, New Mexico, during the end of August, for a short trip with family. Upon arrival at the Sante Fe airport we were greeted, again, by those hot dry winds which brought back the bitter memory for June. Luckily, as we drove from Sante Fe to Angelo Fire we were greeted by the dark blue and purple rain clouds we had longed for just months before. Green had returned to the valleys and trees. Red, purple and yellow wildflowers danced in every field. The rains had come! New Mexico was welcoming us back!
|San Antonio church outside of Angel Fire, New Mexico|
|Window at Our Lady of Guadalupe church in Taos, New Mexico|
|Purple and blue rain clouds over Santa Fe National Forest|
|Sun going down over Ute Valley near Angel Fire, New Mexico|
|Rain clouds over field at Ute Valley|
|Beautiful colors of New Mexico, that land of enchantment|