Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Day 6, Wednesday 9/11/13 - The Enchanted Circle

That's what they call a trip from Taos to Questa, Red River, Eagles Nest, Angel Fire and back to Taos.  We did it today, with a little side trip - but let me start from the beginning.

As we pulled out of the motel Bill's cell phone rang - it was another hunter of Forrest Fenn's treasure who was planning to meet us for breakfast tomorrow.  He was pulling out of Taos today, so we met him and his buddy at their motel about a mile from ours.  After a 40 minute chat with them, it was off to breakfast.  Yes, I confess; we ate at McDonald's.  Then we headed off for our first destination, the John Dunn Bridge, the sun shining brightly.  It was reputedly hard to find, but the route is well-marked, as the only put-in/take out point for 17 miles.

This bridge was the only way across the gorge for Taosenos who wanted to catch the first train in northern NM.  It was privately owned, so of course it was a toll bridge.  There are a couple of "clothing optional" hot springs near the bridge, but the only vehicle parked nearby was a sheriff's deputy, and he was in the vehicle.  We walked upstream a bit on the west side, where we heard one of the springs was.  Walking was hard, so we went back and walked upstream on the east side - and saw the remains of the hotel, etc., John Dunn had built there to further extract money from travelers.  But, enough was enough and we left for the Circle.

We headed north on NM-522 for Questa, with a side trip to the Red River Fish Hatchery to see how trout are raised (& if we could find any halting warm waters or a home of Brown).  Went on from there to Questa, where not much was doing, then on to Red River.  En route we passed Chevron's "moly" mine (that's molybdenum  - say it 3 times quickly).  Red River is a tourist town depending on skiing in the winter and outdoor sports in the summer - it being neither, a lot of stores were closed.

We continued to Eagles Nest where we thought we'd found a place to eat - the Cowboy Cafe.  We knew it was "real" by the pickups pulling horse trailers full of saddled horses parked outside.  One problem - there were too many of them and the weather was not conducive to eating outside.  As we headed to Angel Fire, we passed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park.  The memorial was built by a doctor in memory of his Marine platoon leader son, killed in an ambush in Nam.  It has previously been managed by the DAV and a foundation, but the state accepted ownership a few years ago.  It's a very contemplative memorial.

On to Angel Fire, where we saw one cafe lot full of cars.  It didn't look like it had "green" so we asked at the visitor center.  He confirmed that the only "red, green or Christmas" restaurants were closed for the off season at this ski resort town, it being in that window when it's too hot to ski, to cold to swim and too illegal to hunt.   Bill hates to double back, so we decided to head for Mora in hopes of finding something to eat; besides, we'd never been there.  So, off we went down NM-434, which got lonelier and lonelier.  There, on a narrow 2-lane section, we saw a row of abandoned log cabins with their doors open and in high grass - someone's dream returning to the forest.

At Mora we found a Hatcha's, an order-at-the-counter cafe and ate way too much.  Then we picked up NM-518 back to Taos.  After dinner at Antonio's, a high-end restaurant just off the Plaza.  We split a plate of chiles relleno, and boy, were they good!  Walked over to the Plaza, and enjoyed a spectacular sunset.

Tomorrow we're hitting the art trail in Taos.  It is supposed to rain a lot, so I guess we may postpone our visit to the Taos Pueblo until our next trip.

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