A Last Glance at Arches NP

Considering how spectacular Arches National Park is, it’s clear we’ve never spent the time there that it really deserves, even though we saw more on this trip that we’ve ever seen before. For instance, I don’t think we had ever seen Wolfe Ranch; I’m sure I would have remembered if I’d been there before. This is actually the second house on the ranch; this was the first one. Apparently it isn’t only the trees that persevered. If we had had more time, we would probably have walked to Delicate Arch, one of the most photographed arches in the Park. Instead, we drove up the road to a scenic turnout and used my 100-400mm lens to get this shot of Delicate Arch. On our way out we stopped and took a short hike to this rock formation where we were surprised to by long, narrow passages through the rocks. The most popular activity in the park, at least when we were there, was obviously biking, but I suspect the activities are only limited by your imagination, though I would never, ever dream of doing this kind of adventure.

Lost and Found

As I was writing yesterday’s blog entry it occurred to me that I was missing a couple of shots I had taken at Arches NP. I was doubly convinced that I must have taken them when I saw Leslie’s shot of me walking toward the arch with my camera slung over my shoulder. However, being convinced didn’t help me find any such shots. After an extensive search, I concluded I must have somehow deleted them while transferring them from the camera to my laptop to my desktop computer.

Although I wouldn’t be posting all these shots on the web without modern cameras, computers and programs, I find the constant changes that are part and parcel of upgraded technology confusing and irritating. Before I left, I upgraded all the software on my laptop, and several programs were changed.

In the past I've stored photos from a trip on the desktop of my laptop because they’re easier to find there at the end of the trip. Apparently the new Mac OS changed the settings on my computer and tried to load all the photos stored on the desktop to iCloud and immediately ran out of room and sent warnings to my iPhone that I had exceeded my limit and they would delete my photos in the next 30 days. Not wanting them deleted and not knowing how many photos hadn’t been uploaded, I downloaded my photos directly to the hard drive. Apparently in the process I duplicated some of them.

It didn’t help that Adobe decided to change Lightroom to Lightroom Classic and introduce a new Lightroom CC that would also store all your photos in the Cloud (and charge you another 10 dollars a month to do so.) Small wonder that ended up with some photos in folders and others left out. With over 2,000 photos the last thing I needed was duplicates.

I resolved that I would spend the morning deleting duplicates and consolidating folders. That’s a lot easier said than done when you’re dealing with several thousand files, and their accompanying sidecar files generated by Lightroom and Photoshop. After several hours, though, I found the lost files that hadn’t been accidentally deleted after all.

I think they’re better than the ones I posted yesterday,

particularly this one with the man standing inside the arch, revealing just how immense the arch is.

Arches National Park

We headed for Arches National Park after our last weekend in Broomfield and arrived around 4 P.M, too late to start a tour of the park with the ongoing construction. Luckily, the decision to look for a campground early resulted in a prime spot not too far from the park entrance.

Nothing like waking up in a gorgeous canyon with the Colorado River running next to your camp site.

Though it’s known for it’s beautiful arches, there’s a lot more to the Arches NP than

arches. In fact, one of the first stops features this breath-taking canyon that brings back memories of the John Wayne movies of my childhood.

As attractive as the sweeping vistas are, my camera was also drawn to trees that could easily have been created by a bonsai master.

Leslie commented that the strangely beautiful rocks made her wish that she had taken courses in geology in college.

Luckily, you don’t have to be a geologist to appreciate their beauty.

We were nearly half way through the park before we saw our first arch. It was a bit of a walk, but well worth effort,

especially since the same walk led to a second, if somewhat smaller, arch.

Hiking Near Broomfield

Although things were a little hectic in Broomfield on our visit, we did manage to get in a couple of walks and take advantage of the beautiful weather and observe a new ecosystem. Prairie dogs are common in Broomfield, but I was amazed how long these two held their pose for me

until I realized that there had to be another reason for the pose. Sure enough, a Red-Tailed Hawk circled overhead.

I also managed a nice shot of this Red-shafted/Yellow-shafted intergrade, an increasingly common cross between a Red-Shafted and Yellow-Shafted Flicker.

We got our longest, and toughest, walk/hike in the last day we were there, and I spent most of the day watching the girls/dogs/Tyson lead the way.

Despite some recent snow, the area reminded me a lot of Indian Heaven in early Fall with its palette of brightly colored foliage and scattered trees,

though the distant rocks made it clear we were hiking just outside Boulder, Colorado,

part of the Rockies.

A Visit toSanta Fé

If you’ve followed this blog for very long, you’re probably aware that I’m not fond of cities, with the possible exception of Seattle. Needless to say, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Santa Fé. It certainly didn’t hurt that Greg took us on a tour. I’m sure it would have been a very different experience if we had just visited on our own.

Although we saw a very small portion of the area, I was impressed by how many homes and businesses had adopted the traditional adobe style, like the El Dorado Hotel.

Our tour also doubled down on visiting Catholic churches with a stop at The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. Religious or not, it’s impossible to deny that religions have inspired artists.

Considering how many adobe churches we had seen since entering New Mexico, it seemed a little strange that this church was built in the Romanesque Revival style. One of the guides told us that he cathedral was built by Archbishop Jean Baptiste Lamy on the site of an older adobe church.

We also stopped at Loretto Chapel which featured this famous spiral staircase which seems to lack any central support.

As a semi-serious woodworker, I’ll have to admit that I was awed by the skill it took to build this.

Apparently this church was also commissioned by Archbishop Jean Baptiste Lamy,

and was inspired by a famous French church. French or not, this simple, yet over-the-top, altar struck me as truly beautiful.

The High Road from Taos to Santa Fe

Knowing that Greg wouldn’t be available until 8:00 PM, we decided to take the High Road from Taos to Santa Fé based on recommendations I read on the internet. There were some beautiful sights just outside of Taos, including golden Aspen Groves.

Our first major stop was the Picuris Pueblo, supposedly known for its “beautiful arts, crafts, and pottery.” Unfortunately upon arrival we learned that they Gallery/Gift Shop/Restaurant were closed for the season. It turned out that there was still a $5.00 fee to enter the reservation and another $15.00 fee to take photographs. I kind of assumed that if they were charging another 15 dollars that there must be some great shots to be taken.

The church was beautiful, though not as striking as the church we had seen at the Taos Pueblo the day before.

The church was the highlight of our visit, and I found the almost childlike simplicity of the altar

and this display

truly beautiful.

I found the 400 year old kiva less impressive.

Unfortunately, I left feeling that I had been ripped off with the photography surcharge, and a little exploration on the internet revealed that I wasn’t alone in the feeling that way. Though there might be a few special holidays when it would be worthwhile to visit, our visit didn’t turn out to be so.

We had an equally unhappy experience at the Nambe Pueblo where I had intended to visit their waterfall, the second highest in New Mexico. The sign at the entrance said the park was open, but after driving ten miles down the road we found the gates locked and a sign warning that trespassers would be prosecuted.

It wasn’t a complete waste of time, though, as I pulled over and took some shots of the striking landscape.

In retrospect, if I were to make the trip again I would have researched the artist tour and focused more on visiting studios hidden off the road. We only managed to visit two of them but were quite impressed by both, even if I didn’t take any pictures At both places I was seriously tempted to spend a lot more money than I could afford. The first place had beautiful pottery and watercolors. The second was a weaving store; as much as I admired one coat, I couldn’t justify the $600 price tag though the handwork more than justified the price.

Taos Pueblo

After last year’s trip to Mesa Verde I was eager to further explore America’s Southwest Indians, particularly the Pueblo Indians this year. I hoped to extend our explorations to New Mexico and Arizona. After Leslie’s classmate’s invitation to visit in Santa Fé, I searched the internet for nearby places to visit. The most obvious was the Taos Pueblo, “one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the United States.”

I’ll have to admit, though, that the pueblo wasn’t quite what I was expecting. In retrospect, I’m not sure what I was expecting, certainly something closer to what I saw in Mesa Verde last year. I thought “pueblo” described a particular kind of architecture, not that it was simply a synonym for “village.”

The Catholic Church that stands at the entrance of the Pueblo was the first indication that this was not going to be Mesa Verde.

As it turned out, Catholic Churches stood out everywhere I went in New Mexico, but especially in the small Pueblos.

It was only from a distance that Taos Pueblo reminded me of the Mesa Verde ruins,

but the brightly painted doors (and parked cars, of course) didn’t quite seem to fit in.

The other part of the village, across Red Willow Creek, looked even more traditional, at least from this angle.

Much of the village looked like a Western trading post, like this café which served a delicious green chili and fried bread.

Perhaps the most interest site to me was this church what was destroyed by the U.S. Army after braves killed Governor Charles Bent in a Taoist revolt during the Mexican-American War in 1847.

Apparently the warriors were under the illusion that they would receive sanctuary there. American troops bombarded the church killing or capturing those inside. Our tour of the village began with a visit to the destroyed church.