Because Sam S. loves Taos and its infectious, PLUS the indomitable Lucinda Williams was playing there, we planned a trip to see the real Taos. When we went our first summer, we were underwhelmed by the busy plaza and didn’t think much about Taos again. Enter Sam, who felt the Taos hum on a short ski trip, quit her job, and moved there. The poodles got their hairs did in preparation for their Taos trip, including a mohawk for Miss Kluane.
We planned a nice little visit from Wednesday to Saturday morning to coincide with Bry’s days off. We put cotton balls with peppermint oil on them all over the camper to deter mice (and it worked!) and hit the trail after Bry’s shift Wednesday. When we got to the casita we rented on Airbnb, we were thrilled. It was adorable, clean, and charming. They even left us food for breakfast, coffee, and some LaCroix. People after my own heart! When you walk out the front door or look out the bedroom window, there is Wheeler Peak all up in your business. It’s breathtaking! The yard, hot tub area, and neighborhood are lovely too!
Then we relaxed and hit the hay early because in the morning, the three of us plus poodles plus Saki the most beautiful prancing dog ever, were going to hike Wheeler Peak, the highest peak in New Mexico. Santa Fe grocery stores are amazing, so I was able to get all sorts of nut-free snacks for the hike including a seed and dried fruit mix (I can NEVER eat seeds or trail mixes because they are nutty!), dried fruit (same predicament), protein bars, and Kashi bars. I was READY. And it was hard, so I was glad I had all that. The dogs got along famously and everyone loved up on Saki and the poodles! It’s not a super long hike at about 9 miles round trip, but after all, you’re climbing up to over 13,000 feat, so in four miles, that’s approximately straight up and up and up. Bry hiked ahead of us for a lot of it, so he could get out of the fray of people we kept leapfrogging with. The sites are absolutely stunning, as you can imagine, and Klue’s mohawk distracted many of the hikers from the lovely views of Williams Lake, and mountains all around.
When we got to “the top” it was clear that we were really at the saddle, so up a little bit more we went! It was a tough hike but well worth it!
The way down took half the time, so we made it down in bewtween 5 and 6 hours. At the bottom, we hit up the Bavarian, which is at Taos Sky Valley, for some soft pretzels and fancy mustard. That hit the spot. Next we had a beer at the car and let our feet out of our boots. Down the mountain we went and then straight into that hot tub! What a treat that was!
Unfortunately, I got a raging migraine, complete with nausea after that, so I was basically incapcitated on the couch watching House Hunters (that part as okay). The sun set from the casita was lovely nonetheless.
We had a lazy morning and did not want to leave the casita, but eventually got up and moving out at about 11:30. We contemplated driving the Enchanted Circle, which Kelly had recommended, but didn’t get going in time. We headed to the other Airbnb place, which was a dump, had not been cleaned before we got there, and truth be told, had not been cleaned thoroughly maybe ever. There was not bedroom or bed, though I did know the bed was a pull-out futon. The bathroom had a skylight that was completely covered in cobwebs, there were cobwebs from the floors to all the furniture, and the futon bed would not pull out. We decided to try to just live with it, after all, we’d be at the concert all night anyway.
We headed to the plaza to get some gifts for folks back home, and Bry found a pair of desperately needed, 50% off Danskos to replace his 15 year old pair! He who NEVER spends money on himself also found a hat, also much-needed, that is perfect too!
It was when we got back and met the neighbor “caretaker” who admitted that she hadn’t had a chance to clean the place (the owner had told us she had cleaned), that despite it listing washer and dryer on airbnb, the washer and dryer were her’s and she charged $5 to use them (I don’t blame her!), and then the futon would not work that we just called the guy and said we could not stay there for the $90 we had paid. He must get that a lot because he immediately agreed that he’d refund all the money (I’m sure becaus that means I can’t review it on the website if I cancel).
That problem solved, we just had to figure out how to deal with the dogs while we went to see Lucinda Williams rock Taos Mesa Brewery. Lucky for us, Mother Nature arranged a cool, cloudy afternoon and evening. We drove out to the Brewery early to scope it out, found a nice spot right in front where the security cops were, and left lots of windows open! They napped, people watched, and listened to some great tunes. We kept checking on them, but they just seemed annoyed at the bother! Such good girls.
Taos Mesa Brewery blew our minds! The stage is an earthship creation and in back are the mountains, including Wheeler, rising up out of sage mesas as far as the eye can see. What a place to listen to music! Taosers are pretty lucky! The opening acts were great, especially because we got some tasty food, spread out our lawn chairs, and took in the tunes and the sights.
Sam and friends arrived, we all squeezed in, and then Lucinda came out. She fucking rocks in ever sense of the word. She played all my favorites, most notably “Joy,” “Righteously,” and “Changed the Locks” and played some badass tunes form her latest album, which we now must get. Check out “West Memphis,” for a taste. About halfway through, Bryan and I got up and danced until she played Neil Young’s “Keep on Rocking in the Free World” for her encore. Perfect.
We said our goodbyes and hit the road back to Santa Fe, the best choice we could have made compared to staying at the place. I don’t think I heard the Taos hum, but I guess the mountain did not decide against us, as they say it can, since we had a damn fine time!