Let your heart be a portal for the songs of the universe.

Friday, May 25, 2012

High Road To Taos

Spanish Pueblo and Territorial-style buildings line the meandering streets of old town in Santa Fe. By late morning the din near the central plaza signals another vibrant day in the 400 year history of New Mexico’s capital city. However, the High Road to Taos beckons and the city’s adobe architecture soon fades in the rear view mirror.

We turn East on Highway 503 towards the 13,000-foot, snow-capped Truchas Peaks. A peacock sentinel and several of his brethren squawk at our intrusion near their adobe-walled hacienda compound. They usher us onto the mountain route to Taos. We wind our way through high desert, mountains, Ponderosa Pine forests, small farms, and old Spanish Land Grant hamlets--Nambé, Chimayó, Córdova, and Truchas. Before long the breathtaking views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains dominate the skyline.

Nestled in green valleys numerous ancient trails and crossroads gather people into communities of artists, seekers of pastoral serenity, and those making a life off the land. Symbols of faith dot the landscape and rise to modest crescendos in the hand-shaped adobe belfries of centuries-old Catholic santuarios. In Las Trampas the San José de Gracia Church invites us to explore its 232 years of history and Spanish colonial church architecture. Poetry of spirit and light permeates my heart and soul. We leave reborn in spirit, albeit famished and eager for repast in Taos.
A fabulous Northern New Mexican lunch at Orlando's Cafe on the Northwest end of town leaves us with indelible impressions of fine local comestibles and atmosphere. Tasty fare, colorful Southwest decor to include santos and relief carvings, friendly service, a couple of frosted mugs of beer and we are on the way to the Rio Grande Gorge.

A 1250-foot bridge spans the gorge at 650 feet above the river. Lively gorge winds buffet and noticeably heave the structure as I try to steady my camera for a memorable image of the stunning chasm and churning river. Our return trip to Santa Fe includes a stop at the Taos Plaza and a brief, congenial visit with renown New Mexico artist Ed Sandoval. He has his canvas set up under the magnificent light of azure New Mexico skies. I depart inspired.
How does one complement a day of magnificent vistas? We bid farewell to daylight with a dinner outing at La Boca, where we enjoy a glass of sherry and tapas prepared by a James Beard Award-nominated chef. The culinary delights include steamed mussels in white wine sauce; grilled head-on shrimp with harissa sauce; seared sea scallops with jamón serrano, lemon chive butter, and squid ink; seared duck breast with goat cheese polenta, blood orange, and sweet potato fans; sopressata with salt cod croquettes, roasted garlic, and fried egg. I cannot leave without tasting gateau basque, an indescribably delicious tort with sour cherries topping. ¡Hasta luego, Santa Fe y Taos!
© Ilija Lukić 2012

Regal Sentinel

Highsteppin' On The Road To Taos

Taos High Road Pilgrim

13,000-Foot Truchas Massif - Sangre De Cristo Mountains

Hilltop Shrine

Truchas Peaks - Southern Rockies In New Mexico

Invitation To Prayer For 232 Years

Sanctuary Portal

Weathered Cross

Door Frame Relief Carving

1780 Spanish Colonial Catholic Church

San José De Gracia Church - Las Trampas New Mexico

Eternal Rest

Cross With Turquoise

Roof Drainage Spout

Adobe Church Belfry

Ranchos De Taos

1967 Chevy Malibu 396 SS Dreams

Kitchen Window - Orlando's Cafe

Frosty Mexicano

Southwest Atmosphere

Religious Relief Carving

Orlando's Cafe Magic

Corner Table


Coyote Fence

After The Lunch Rush

Proud To Be An American

Rio Grande Gorge - North

Gorge Bridge Warrior - Virabhadrasana II

Rio Grande Gorge Bridge

New Mexico Artist Ed Sandoval And His Truck

Restaurante La Boca, Santa Fe Nuevo Mexico

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