From Durango we headed out to Pagosa Springs and into New Mexico, to Taos. The drive took us over three passes—so glad it was not snow and sleet like last month in Wyoming. It’s a bit of a lonely road once you leave Pagosa Springs and head south west. The passes were called Tres Piedras-which translates into the Three Stones. As we approached Taos, we went by the Earthships—s set of buildings that I have read about some years back. We stopped and took the tour of these unusual structures built from old discarded tires filled with pounded earth, walls made with discarded soda, beer and wine bottles, water systems that recycle the shower water through three greenhouses before using it to flush the toilet…all very freeform. From there we crossed a deep canyon (or so we thought) and headed into Town. We found a campsite, toured town, talked to the local bike shop and ate some great noodles in downtown Taos from a food truck.
Our first ride was the Rift Valley—not because it was especially technical, but it takes you along the edge of the rift. The rift in Taos is one of only two in the world—the other being in Africa. As the earth’s crust cooled, the molten rock underneath was still expanding, causing the earth’s crust to crack. Over the millennia, streams found their way to the rift and filled it with alluvium (sediment). It has been determined that without the sediment, the rift was originally 36000 feet deep—deeper than 10 Grand Canyons! Anyway the ride was enjoyable and the weather was comfortable. We went to the Taos Pueblo, a world heritage site, to see an original pueblo village. It is interesting but a bit sad that native Americans whose ancestors owned homes in the pueblo can remain there. They cannot improve their home—so no running water or electricity. Most have moved to government housing and have a small store selling jewelry, drums, dream catchers, etc. One gentleman still lives in his pueblo, and invited us in to see his home. His niece makes fry bread and it was so good. His tribe was the Red Willow Tribe and the pueblo site was chosen because of the stream that runs down from the mountains. The tribe settled there because of the water and they were given the “three sisters”– beans, corn and squash and so they settled in one place.
For the next day we decided on doing an out and back on the Southern Boundary trail (usually ridden as a shuttle), about halfway up the Forest Service Rd we turned around and changed plans to ride the Ojitos Trail out and back. So Taos is at 7000 feet. After climbing up Ojitos Trail for about 1000 ft ( on a jeep road) we bagged that idea, headed down and took some other trails off that to get back to the car. Sustained uphill riding at those elevations takes your breath away!!
On to Santa Fe!