Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Vacation

I had a blessedly quite Christmas this year. J and I took a week away from everything to relax and have fun with no drama, no stress, no worries.

Thanks to Mom and Dad for booking us a one bedroom condo at their time-share location in Red River, NM. We left Remy in the capable hands of Barkerhaus Kennels, and left Duke at home with a good friend coming to check on him.

We drove up into the mountains of New Mexico. It was rainy on the drive up. What we didn't know until we got there is that the roads all around us were closing for snow. Lots of snow and ice closing the highways and interstates all around. But as we headed East on highway 38, we saw first a mining operation, then a few houses and  lodges. We rounded the corner onto the main street of a little mountain town all lit with white christmas lights. It was worth the rainy drive for that.

We checked in and bundled up to walk the 1 block to the main street and find some dinner. We barely drove the whole week. There was no need. The main street was just 1 block from us, and the vast majority of stores and restaurants were on it, or 1 block off.

First day in Red River, we got up and had breakfast at a little coffee shop, then walked over to the Ski Area. We got skis for me, a snowboard for J, and headed out to the meeting area for lessons. It was 90 minutes in the morning, 90 minutes for lunch, and 90 minutes in the afternoon. By the end of the day we were tired and sore, but happy.

Day Two: Hit the slopes as soon as they open. I had spent all of day one on the learning hill, so morning of day two I moved to the bunny hill. Then J and I went to the very top of the mountain on a ski lift. Definitely not for those with a fear of heights. We ate lunch at 10,350 feet. Talk about a high! Of course, then we had to get back down. There were more green, or "easy," trails from here, but we think they might be a little confused. We took the "easiest way down." I swear they were smoking something when they came up with this. It was not easy. But after many crashes and much doubt, I did make it down the mountain. My legs were so tired I could barely stand on them. Next time we ski, I will take lessons again, and spend more time on the bunny hill before going anywhere else.

Day Three was a change. We went to the Enchanted Forest cross country ski area. Rented skis, and took off. Now, I know I was never meant to be a teacher, but apparently I can't even teach my husband how to ski cross country. We did OK, and will get a professional to teach J next time. It brought back a lot of memories for me, of skiing with my family every year as a kid, the day after Christmas. After a break and some lunch, we were able to switch out our skis for snow shoes. We spent an hour on a little snow shoe trail and had a blast. It was so easy and fun! Just strap them on and start walking.

After 3 busy days, we were both sore, bruised, and tired. So Day Four, we took it a little easy. We drove south towards Taos and turned off on a county road. We headed towards the Rio Grande Gorge until we couldn't drive any closer. It was then about a mile hike on a little trail down to the river. At the base of the trail  were a couple hot springs pools. So we stripped down to our swim suits rather quickly and hopped in. It was heavenly! The water was the perfect temperature, not too hot or too cold. It was crystal clear and the pool had a soft, sandy bottom. I could sit in it and it came just up to my neck. It felt amazing after being so sore. And the view of the Rio Grande was breath taking. The Rio really is grand up north, not a mud puddle like it is in El Paso. I'm not sure how long we soaked there, but once we headed back to the Jeep, my legs felt much better.

It was finally Christmas Eve, and we decided to have a lazy holiday weekend. We shopped a little, walked around town, and relaxed. We had eaten out all week, so we had cheese and crackers for our little christmas dinner.

It was a great week. We saw lots of deer, just walking through town. There was a creek out behind our room, and we could watch the deer and ducks from the little deck. The people were friendly, the service was good, and we feel much better.

And now we're up in CO. Drove the back roads through the mountains this morning. Stopped for a few minutes at the Great Sand Dunes, but it was much too cold to play around. By cold, I mean around 5 degrees. That's five. Yes, cold. But it hadn't been above freezing all week, so we were getting used to it.

Saw some bighorn sheep on our way up here, and it's 40something outside right now. Didn't even have to put a jacket on! So we'll enjoy some time here for a couple days, see my in-laws and J's Grandpa, then head home. Duke as an appointment at the Vet's on Friday so he can get his teeth cleaned next week.

So that's our vacation. It was definitely needed, and I'm very glad we took it. I do miss my critters, but I know they are in good hands. We picked up a piece of antler for Remy (cleaned so it's safe to chew on), and I think Duke will get a can of soft food when we get home. I'm sure I've missed many things to tell you, but I hope you enjoy this little bit. 

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