Trip Dates: July 11-14, 2015
This is the second in a series of weekly installments about our July 2015 vacation out west. Wendy is composing these posts while I handle the photos and maps. Enjoy!
Santa Fe has been my favorite vacation destination since 2013 when Granger took me there for the first time. We visited again in 2014 and now again this summer. Last summer we stayed at a casita, a small adobe style house with a private patio. We loved it so much we stayed there again this year, but in a different casita as our last one had a fireplace and all of the smells that go along with it.
I woke up very late to the clickety-clack of Granger on his laptop working on school-related business. I gently reminded him that he was on vacation and then steered him away to a late breakfast at Tia Sophia’s, another favorite restaurant that has operated since the 1970s. As usual, the tamales and tacos were top-notch. We went walking downtown and then headed up to Canyon Road where we saw many neat sculptures and other works of art.
For dinner we went to a quiet little restaurant named Pizza Centro and had some excellent New York style pizza. Then it was time for Flamenco. Last year we got to see Entreflamenco, which included dancing by Antonio Granjero, Estefania Ramirez, and others. We enjoyed it so much we decided to see them again, once again right up by the stage. We saw, up close, the extremely athletic and artistic dancing. With an eye level view of their feet, we looked on in awe as the dancers did some highly energetic foot tapping. From this point on, through to the next day, things would remain just as exciting.
The next day, July 12, we planned for more relaxation leading up to our hike at Ghost Ranch. Granger was sitting out on our private patio messing around on his phone while I was getting dressed and fixing my hair and makeup. I went out to the patio to tell him I was finally ready to go. He took my sunglasses and set them on the table. Then he pulled me to him gently by the hand. He dug around in his pocket and handed me a tiny blue box and said, “Open it.” My heart was about to jump out of my chest. Trembling, I opened the box, and there was the Princess Diana-inspired sapphire and diamond ring we had picked out online a few months earlier. Granger got on one knee, still holding my hand.
“Will you marry me, Bear?”
I nodded, hardly able to speak and said, “Yes.”
We embraced. Trying unsuccessfully to hold back tears, I whispered, “I thought you’d never ask.”
Of course, we’d planned on this proposal for a long time, and each of us had rehearsed in our heads exactly what we’d say. But with all of the emotion, we forgot our lines. And it was perfect.
Later we did the modern thing: changed our relationship status on Facebook. We sat there with our phones, poised to change our relationship statuses in unison. “Ready? One, two, three – POST!” Then we sat and watched our phones in amazement as the “likes” surged into the hundreds. It was as if all of our friends were there on the patio cheering for us. What a great memory.
Eventually we calmed down enough to go have lunch at La Plazuela at La Fonda for more fajitas, tamales, and of course, green chili sauce. Granger obliged my desire to visit the Tesuque Flea Market, and I bought a small painting of the Jemez Mountains in the snow. Then we drove around looking at the unique xeriscaping in the residential neighborhoods.
Around dinnertime we decided to walk over to Pizza Centro, even though rain was predicted. We grabbed our umbrellas, and I said, “I’m not scared of a little rain.” After dinner it was pouring outside, so we ran back to the casita, getting drenched in the process and laughing the whole way.
The next day, we relaxed. I looked at roses, and Granger checked his students’ AP score results. We went to Walmart to get supplies and find out Granger’s ring size. We’d shopped online for my engagement ring over Spring Break; now it was time for me to shop online for his ring, which we decided should match mine. I enjoyed searching through pages and pages of men’s sapphire rings. I know Granger probably grew weary of me saying, “How about this one? Do you like the profile of that one? Ooh, here’s another good one. Hey, what do you like about that one?” It wasn’t until after our vacation that we would finally settle on a ring, with us both wearing complementary sapphire rings which will serve both as our engagement and wedding rings.
The previous day, an area photographer had told us about a great place to hike. I knew Granger was eager to get out there and get moving. He rarely likes to sit still for very long. So we went off to hike the Aspen Vista Trail near the Santa Fe Ski Basin in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. We climbed and climbed uphill for two miles with me having to stop every now and then to catch my breath. The air is a little thinner at over 10,000 feet. It’s also quite a bit cooler. I actually needed my jacket, which I’d packed in my backpack. We enjoyed the invigorating hike, which was a total of 3.7 miles, climbing from 9,980 ft elevation up to 10,575 ft.
We saw a beautiful sunset on our way to our late dinner. Ultimately we chose Pasqual’s, a hip little eatery downtown. The menu had some strange items like an avocado shake. Need I say more? Nevertheless, we found our food to be exotic and delicious. I had tamales again, but they had whole corn in them. Granger had a skirt steak with some unidentifiable bright green sauce among other things.
When we got back to the casita we looked online at the first close-up photos of Pluto from the New Horizons probe and planned for our Ghost Ranch hike for which we would depart the following day.
Our last day in Santa Fe, we had a hearty breakfast at Tomasita’s and then did some shopping for t-shirts and a few books. Ghost Ranch was hot as hell. I must say I’ve enjoyed it more in years past partly because the weather was mild and overcast. This year, only sunscreen shielded us from the sun’s direct blaze as we walked the Chimney Rock Trail. People say the heat is not as bad out in New Mexico because it’s a “dry heat.” But they should try climbing some huge rocks out in the desert. Although the sun was unforgiving out at Chimney Rock, we did see some wonderful vistas, and I got to see some interesting rocks. As soon as we returned to the park headquarters, a storm rolled in and cooled things down.
I was completely spent during the trip out of town on our way to Pagosa Springs, but Granger was as lively as ever, pointing out the window and exclaiming, “Look at this cloud! Ooooh, look at THAT cloud! I have designated this a ‘cloud-pretty’ area. Now that the edict is out, let the celebration begin!”