Saturday, Jan. 16th:
Bryan and I planned on waking up early to ride the tram up Sandia Peak and then to go see the Petroglyph National Monument. This didn’t work out unfortunately because the tram ended up being closed due to high wind speeds. We instead went to a nearby Indian market and checked out the art work made by a few Navajo artists. We were taken away by some of the paintings and pottery, but especially by this hand made coyote skin quiver filled with hand-crafted arrows. It was absolutely beautiful, but regrettably also very expensive. I should have at least gotten a picture of such fine craftsmanship but it didn’t cross my mind at the time. Instead we opted for a gorgeous dream-catcher, an authentic arrow head, and a couple gifts for my father who has always taken an interest in Native American history. After leaving the market place, I started to feel ill so we decided to skip the petroglyphs and head home where I took a nap for a few hours.
Once awakening from my slumber, I felt much better and we made our way to the monument. We arrived about an hour before they closed the gates so we had to make our visit quick. We drove over to Boca Negra Canyon and climbed our way up to the top in a hurry. We learned that the petroglyphs carved into the volcanic rock are very spiritual to the Pueblo Indians and date back to at least 3000 years. Witnessing these ancient drawings inspired infinite thoughts of where they may have come from, what they meant, and who is responsible for them. Since there’s no way to know for sure, the possibilities are endless. Just in my own mind I came up with countless possible scenarios in the short time we had there.
Honestly, I find it a little frustrating that we will never know their purpose for certain, however, it’s also sort of inspiring in a way.
Afterwards, we couldn’t find anything unique to New Mexico that was both still open and interested us, so we played arcade games at the local Dave and Busters where we won a little over 3000 tickets. I spent these tickets on an adorable giraffe Hello Kitty stuffed animal. Definitely tickets well spent, if you ask me.
(See? Freaking adorable.)
Sunday, Jan. 17th:
(Happy birthday, Daddy!)
The Plan: Wake up early, have breakfast at a café on Sandia Peak by riding the tram, drive 3 and a half hours to White Sands National Monument.
Why the plan failed: I am the furthest thing from a morning person and waking up early is nearly impossible, apparently I also made this café up because it doesn’t exist (even though I swear I saw it on their website! Bryan of course doesn’t believe me because he checked and couldn’t find it. This is obviously a conspiracy against me to make me look stupid.), and once again the tram was closed due to high winds.
SO! Straight to White Sands we go!
We stopped at Del Taco for breakfast on account of the original plan falling through, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise because they have an amazing breakfast quesadilla with eggs, bacon, and LOADS OF CHEESE! The 3 hour drive wasn’t so bad considering it was abundant in beautiful mountain scenery. (And because I didn’t have to drive any of it. ;D ) When we finally arrived at White Sands we drove up to the boardwalk area where we learned about all the different plants and animals that call this particular desert home. Perhaps one of the most interesting facts is that all of the animals that live there (with the exception of one beetle) have adapted to their surroundings by being colored lighter than their relatives located elsewhere, allowing them to blend in with the bleached sand to escape predators. We continued on our exploration of the desert, climbed tall dunes, wrote our names in the sand, and eventually met a cute camel named Mitchell. Then, after failing to be able to slide down the dunes on our own, we broke down and bought a couple sleds from the gift shop. This is when the fun really began!
We raced each other down the steep sand dunes, giggling and screaming all the way to the bottom each time. We ultimately became exhausted and hungry (not to mention parched from the dry air) and decided it was time to leave. On the drive home, Bryan stopped along the side of the road so we could watch the sunset behind the mountains. It was an phenomenal site, almost comparable to the stars that filled the night sky shortly after.
We stopped again at the same Del Taco on the way back to the hotel, and I’m pretty sure I’m obsessed now. It may have taken over being my favorite taco drive thru. (This is a pretty big deal and completely relevant.) We were both pooped by the time we got back from our long day of adventuring and fell asleep almost immediately upon arrival.