Summer 2009

Santa Fe, NM

16 June 2009

General Information

Local Map


Photographs and Commentary
Click on picture to enlarge

Every time we have been in Santa Fe we took a trip up to Taos, about 90 miles north. We always took the same route, which mostly follows the Rio Grande River. When we got here, we picked up a guide to Santa Fe. The guide contained an article about day trips. One of these trips talked about the "High Road" and the "Low Road," the route we always took. We decided to try the "High Road" (see map above). The High Road follows the same path as the "Low Road" until south of Espaňola where it takes a turn to the northeast. The road follows different valleys and ridge lines, some above 8,400 feet, through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Eventually it rejoins the "Low Road" just south of Taos. The "High Road" is more scenic than the "Low Road," which is pretty scenic.

The article in the guide talked about Santuario de Chimayo church in the small town of Chimayo. What we didn't know until we got back to the trailer and did some Internet research is that this church is called by some, the "Lourdes of America." That explained why so many people we saw in the church area had crutches, canes or exhibited some other disabilities. Leaving Chimayo, we proceeded through a number of small mountain towns, each of which has some claim to fame... Cordova for its wood carvers... Truchas for its views of the Rio Grande Valley... Tiny Las Trampas, which I can't locate on the map above, for its mission church.

When we got to Taos, we parked the truck and started walking around town. We walked through quite a number of galleries looking at native crafts, or more specifically, storyteller dolls. I should learn to keep my mouth shut because it would save me some money. Within the first block I saw a doll in a gallery window that was very unusual and pointed it out to Susie... mistake!!! Susie walked in and soon was the proud owner of a new storyteller doll and a Jewish theme print by a local artist. Then I made the suggestion that we walk around the Taos Plaza... another mistake. We were three quarters of the way around the Plaza when Susie spotted another storyteller doll in the window. The storyteller in the window was large and I didn't think she would buy it so I waited outside for a few minutes. After a while I went into the gallery and saw an array of increasingly larger dolls similar, but smaller than the one in the window. Then I heard the dreaded words, "how about the one in the window?" After some bargaining (Susie is getting good at it), she got the largest doll for significantly below the marked price. After that purchase, even Susie had enough and we went back to Santa Fe over the "Low Road." We never got to the Taos Pueblo, a little north of the town of Taos. If we did, there would have been many more temptations for Susie... there were last time we visited. I think I'm safe for the remainder of the trip because I don't think that any of the remaining stops have crafts that would attract her attention... I hope.

Fence with crosses

Walking from the parking lot we noticed numerous crosses woven into the fence. We don't know the significance of it but believe it is related to the belief that this church has healing powers.


This shrine had items related to very young children, bibs, baby shoes, etc. Again, we don't really know its significance, but assume the people putting the items there are looking for help with the health of their children.

Open air church at Chimayo

Outdoor church services are held in this area adjacent to the Sanctuario de Chimayo

Santuario de Chimayo long shot

Sanctuario de Chimayo

Sanctuario de Chimayo

Sanctuario de Chimayo

Mission of San Jose de Garcia in Las Trampas

The Mission of San Jose de Garcia in Las Trampas, dating back to 1760 is considered a model of Spanish missions in New Mexico

Kit Carson's Taos home

Kit Carson's Taos home. The gallery where Susie bought the first of her storyteller dolls was originally part of the complex. Carson lived here for many years with his Hispanic wife. To many Americans he is famous as a hero of the west. To the Navajo he is infamous as the person who led the soldiers that nearly destroyed their culture.

Storyteller doll

The first of the storyteller dolls Susie bought in Taos.

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