Sunday, July 31, 2011

Land of enchantment

You can tell I was enchanted - I took over 300 photos on our trip - so just a warning, you're in for a marathon post here. Joe and I are easing back into reality today after a week in God's country - just got back from testing out our high altitude lungs on one of our fav. bay area trails - I was hoping to feel like a little bit more of a super star after spending a week at 7-8,000 feet.

I'm not even sure where to start with this post - it took me about 15 pages in my journal to get to Thursday of our vacay and I've got a couple more pages to add for Friday and Saturday. As a quick re-cap, Joe and I spent Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday morning in the beautiful town of Crestone, Co at the base of the Sangre de Cristos in southern Colorado.

I've heard so many stories about Crestone from Joe and after just 5 seconds in this place, I got it - it didn't take long to understand why he feels called back to this place time and time again. The majesty of the mountains combined with the sprawling San Luis Valley views, unending and ever changing skyscapes, and the darkest, starriest night skies create this sacred space for solitude that is absolutely invigorating. Joe's aunts Connie and Tessa live in Crestone and trips to this place were regular occurrences throughout his childhood and early adult hood. The entire time we were there, I just kept thinking about how lucky Joe has been to have had a place like this in his life - the reflection and gratitude that this place calls forth is moving. I feel equally lucky to have had a chance to experience this place with Joe - I can't wait to get back again. I could go on and on about the beauty of this place, but I'd never be able to capture it all, so I'll let our pictures do the talking...

This is what we were greeted by on our arrival in New Mexico - I never got over the incredible skyscapes.

New Mexico is dry right now - this is the start of a fire we saw on our way up to Crestone.

UFO viewing platform along the cosmic highway - ha!

The Sangre de Cristos -cue a deep breath of fresh, mountain air :).

The entrance to the Monestary.

The Chapel from afar.

The Chapel with the Sangre de Cristos in back.

Nightime Chapel.

Another chapel view - Someone could publish a book with photos of this beautiful structure at all different times of the day/in different seasons etc!

Versi! Our faithful traveling companion.

Our sweet, sweet hermitage.

Hermitage with beautiful blue sky.

Indigo hour at the hermitage.

Desert light through our hermitage window seat.

Chairs and lounges that just invite relaxation.

A sign that Joe's dad made when he was 16 for the Monastery. Everything in this place had a story behind it - it felt so rich.

Painted Desert Sky - Sunset in Crestone.

The Sangres at Sunset.

Chillaxing by the Arkansas River in SalIda. Mike and Tara - did I get close to getting the flowy water effect?

Lunch with my good college friend/European backpacking partner Melissa in Salida - love, love, love this girl!

Dinner with Connie and Tessa - appetizer = Kale chips = genius!

Joe with his Aunt Connie and Aunt Tessa at Tessa's hogan.

Joe's favorite - Desert Sage.

Mountain Meadow on our way to Willow Lake at 11.5!

Willow creek.

Mountain flowers.

Our reward - Willow Lake! Bonus birthday prize = waterfall!

awww two little lovebirds at Willow Lake.

Willow Lake

Mountain Goats! Joe spotted them at the very tip of the peaks - so neat.

Another guy! Joe was the spotter once again.

Breath-taking views of the valley.

You were probably waiting for this one, weren't you? There was no way we were leaving Crestone without a jump shot.

After Crestone, it was on to Santa Fe. Santa Fe has to be a photographer's dream come true, the incredible light that this place gets and the vibrant colors on the buildings had me swooning. Some more of my favorite parts of Santa Fe were the adobe building, colorful doors/windows, hanging chilis, rooftop sunsets and dramatic skyscapes. Here are a few pics of our time in Santa Fe in no particular order...

Santa Fe Cathedral

Loved these lights at La Fonda.

Loved the rustic, artsy feel throughout the town - wish this was my living room.

Afternoon crepes, loved the lighting in here.

On our way to 10,000 Waves for massages and serious relaxation.

10,000 waves.

Buddha welcoming us to 10,000 Waves.

Another of the millions of awesome doors.

Cafe Pasquals - our first dinner spot in Santa Fe - love the sky in the background.

Rooftop drinks amidst the adobe :).

Our B&B - Pueblo Bonito.

Los Alamos check in building - this is for all the UPSers who took the Manhattan Project class.

All the pottery made me think of Lindsey.

Afternoon chips and salsa at The Shed - enjoying some shade and some acoustic guitar.

Beautiful baskets.

Santa Fe streets at night.

More chilis - I couldn't get enough of these things.

Chilis and adobe.

Chilis and adobe.

Stained glass in the cathedral.

Stained glass reflecting on the floor.

Love one another constantly.

Night time rooftop reading over the plaza -we are a couple of self-proclaimed dorks.

Governor's Palace - I bought a pretty turquoise bracelet from the lady in white pants.

Santa Fe rainbow.

La Fonda rooftop bar in Santa Fe - gorgeous sunset views.

Shadowy pic of us at Sunset.

More rooftop reading - this was one of our fav. spots to relax.

The Fajita cart that we spotted from our rooftop reading spot.

In heaven journaling the afternoon away.

Santa Fe rugs rock.

Don't know exactly what it is about chilis and adobe that speak straight to my heart.

Sunset drinks on the roof to celebrate our last night in Santa Fe - I might have had a little bit of vacation ending blues at this point - 7 whole days traveling with a man that I love more than anything in the world was a little bit of paradise. I feel so completely humbled and lucky.

Whew, I also feel ready for another vacation now :). Here's to holding on to the vacation glow for as long as possible.