Under the Taos Spell

What to do in Taos, New Mexico if you’ve only given yourself two and a half days?

First, cry… Then get into gear. For a town of less than 6,000 people, it has a lot to offer.

Taos is an art mecca. We spent a day walking through lots of high quality galleries. Many artists have their own retail outlets, which surprised me. It means that they get a lot of trade all year round. Besides visitors like us, art dealers must come here to stock their galleries.

This is the home of Kit Carson, the scout and Indian fighter. He’s buried in a park cemetery in downtown Taos.

After all this culture, we took a hike in the Carson National Forest, just outside of town. Taos is at 7,000 feet. We walked one of the most popular trails, the Devisadero Loop in the Taos Canyon, which took us to 8,300 feet.

So far, so good on the altitude. It didn’t seem to affect us.

The trail was open, dry, and rocky. It took us through pinon pines, juniper trees, and colorful flowers that we couldn’t recognize. Aside from a couple of lizards, the trail was devoid of animals.

We got to the trailhead at 7:30 am when it was still cool. By the time the sun came out, we were hot and dusty. We kept drinking Gatorade and still felt dry. This is not the Smokies.

Just outside Taos is the community of the Taos Pueblo,  considered the oldest continuously inhabited community in the U.S. They welcome visitors to their traditional village. We toured their modest Catholic Church, cemetery and the traditional adobe houses.

Only 50 people live in the traditional, sacred village, with no electricity (but with propane) and no running water. Most Pueblo Indians live outside in a more conventional setting.

Tomorrow we leave Taos reluctantly. I could have spent another week here, just hanging out.

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