From our perch on Taos Mesa, we can see the splashes of yellow high in the mountains, telling us it's time to drive up to the Ski Valley and have a closer look at the changing leaves on the aspens. It's been perfect weather since we arrived here on Sunday. Very seductive. Taos can be a temptress. But we know her moods, and aren't completely taken in just yet. Still, we made use of one of her perfect fall days and drove up to the mountains yesterday to have a look around and a bite of lunch. We were not disappointed.
The base of Taos Ski Valley sits at about 9,000 feet in elevation. It's a little community all its own, with quite a few year round residents, and world class skiing, high above Taos. We haven't skied in years, but like to drive up for the scenery, and to cool off on hot summer days. If we were Rich People, we'd have a little condo up there. It would be a nice little nest to retreat to now and then, but full time would be too isolated for us.
Taking the road even farther up above the village, we came to the Bavarian Lodge & Restaurant. It's one of our favorite places, even when it's closed, as it was yesterday. We love sitting on the deck, drinking big steins of German beer and nibbling on spaetzel or fries with spicy-sweet mustard. Little Heidi feels right at home there, of course.
Our pal Karena rode up with us, and she and Rick took advantage of the Bavarian's comfy lounge chairs for some sun bathing. There's no shortage of Vitamin D, although oxygen is in pretty short supply. I'm glad we didn't try to go up even farther to Williams Lake. We'll save that for another day.
Our next stop was Tim's Stray Dog Cantina, another of our favorite places to just hang out and relax. We sat on the deck and had some good snacks along with our beers and lemonade. Dogs are welcome on the deck too, so we brought Heidi along. Lucy is too wild to behave herself in a place like that, especially when there are other dogs. She seems content to guard the truck, as long as we park it in the shade, and bring back treats.
The view on the way back down was every bit as gorgeous as the way up. And at the base of the mountain, we stopped in the tiny town of Arroyo Seco. It's a really darling little community, filled with galleries, shops, and restaurants. We stopped at Taos Cow, hoping to revive ourselves with an iced soy latte, passing on the fabulous ice cream only because we didn't want to "do dairy".
By the time we got back to the trailer, we were all tired. Even the dogs. And the coffee didn't help me one bit, so I did something I rarely do... I took a nap. It felt so good to just drift off, and when I woke up, feeling much better, I said to Rick, Can I have another one? Maybe I will today. I'd forgotten how being at this altitude can kick one's butt. We were used to it when we lived here, of course, but a year away means we have to acclimate all over again. Maybe driving up even higher was not the best idea so soon in our stay here, but the leaves won't wait. Taos itself is at 7,000 feet. That's high enough to cause a lot of people trouble. Altitude sickness is very common with visitors, and can be really dangerous. I was still feeling woozy last night, so I went to bed early and slept like a baby. A happy baby. Today I'll take it sort of easy, and remember to drink lots of water and eat extra protein. That helps a lot.
Tomorrow we move back into our own driveway... stay tuned!