Saturday, April 30, 2016

Red or Green Chile With That? - Santa Fe, New Mexico

A couple of weeks ago, we met my parents in Santa Fe. We had no expectations of Santa Fe, and I suspect that is one of the reasons we fell in love with it. The historic central plaza seemed straight out of Mexico and the old (oldest in the USA) adobe buildings were a new sight for us. And the food - I don't even know where to begin! "Do you want red or green chile with that?" - every time we replied "both", we were reminded that it's called "Christmas (you stupid tourist)". Scott was especially in heaven with the spicy New Mexican food.

Adobe building near the town square - Museum of Contemporary Native Arts

New Mexican breakfast with red and green chile -- Huevos Divorciados

Dried chilies adorn the porches of many buildings in downtown Santa Fe including my parents' hotel

Santa Fe sits at an elevation of 7,200 ft - definitely a record high for my parents. Rising to 14,000 ft, the Sangre de Cristo mountains surrounding Santa Fe were still covered in snow. We watched a dramatic thunderstorm roll across the mountains, complete with lightning and otherworldly lighting, all while enjoying a beer on the deck of a local restaurant.

Storming over the mountains

Perched above the town square, we watched lightning in the distance, and drank La Cumbre brewery's Elevated IPA from Albuquerque (one of our new favorite IPAs!)

Half the population of Santa Fe is Latino. We loved hearing the chatter of Spanish as we were walking down the street. The Native American influence is celebrated in Santa Fe as well, but sadly the population has dwindled to just under 3%.

Outside the Museum of Contemporary Native Art, this statue reminds me of my nephew when he pouts and says, "DON'T LOOK AT ME"

Santa Fe is a huge tourist draw and the prices around the plaza reflect that. One day, we made the mistake of walking into one of the clothing shops on the main square. A table full of beautiful sweaters caught my attention so I checked out the price tag - $1500!!! Out the door we went...

Perched above the plaza with the $1500 sweater store in the distance

Great picture of Scott and Dad. What's not to smile about with Elevated IPA and some homemade chips and salsa!

A little more food porn - excellent fish tacos

My favorite part of the visit was our walk through the famous art district on Canyon Road. Again, I had no expectations, so maybe that's why it was so awesome. All of the art work we saw was outdoors. As you can see from the pictures below, the bronze sculptures were clearly my favorite.

This is all BRONZE! Amazing detail

The whole family was awestruck by these bronze sculptures

Again, all bronze - buttons, beads, thread, hair, feathers

I love it when I feel this way

Dad always keepin' the humor alive

It's hard to choose the cutest part of this sculpture - the pups fighting or the pup howling along in front of mom


If you know my dad, or have visited our house in the summer, you know he isn't much of a goose lover

Truffles, the pig

This sculpture was called "Two pooped"


We found an orange kitty. He was not made of bronze.

Scott's favorite sculpture - the moose with skinny legs

After my parents left, we were solely focused on fixing a few important things with the truck and our mountain bikes, so we never got to bike or hike the numerous trails in the area. We'll be back to Santa Fe for sure.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

El Niño Winter - Jackson Hole, WY

Jackson sucked us in again for another excellent winter of backcountry snowboarding.  When I say "another", I mean this happened once before waaaay back in 2003. That was so long ago, I remember using DIAL-UP internet with my pre-flip phone tethered to our computer to send emails.

Jackson, 2003: That winter we lived in our good 'ol 1990 E-350 van

Living in El Tigre is downright plush compared to that winter in 2003

Besides the most excellent backcountry-access to the Tetons, Jackson surprised us with so much more. Jackson Hole sits in a physical hole at the foot of towering hills and mountains, surrounded by National Park and National Forest. The wildlife right outside of town is phenomenal - moose, fox, coyote, big horn sheep, mountain goat, elk, deer, birds, ferret, otter, bison, the list goes on.

One morning, the local moose family showed up for a photo shoot perfectly flanked by the Tetons. Pictured below:

Jackson is getting crowded but I don't blame anyone for joining the hoards who visit and dream to live in the Jackson area. Winter is the off season, so I can't even imagine what it is like in the summer.

Even the whales are migrating to the Jackson area

The diversity in Jackson is a bit surprising. At first glance, you assume it may be a town dominated by absurdly rich people. Charles Schwab, Tiger Woods, Harrison Ford, and Dick Cheney are among those who either bought here or call Jackson home. But luckily that's not true. The locals in Jackson range from extreme mountain athletes to good 'ol cowboys and most surprising, a thriving Hispanic population. It was one of my favorite surprises about Jackson. Mostly, because I miss the Latino culture and all that it entails.

I would be lying if I acted like we did much more than backcountry snowboard almost everyday for the 7 weeks while we were there. We did try to diversify a little bit, like when Scott tried his hand at the "Songwriter's Alley" at one of the historic Hotel/Saloon's in town (The Silver Dollar Bar at The Wort Hotel). It made for good pictures, but the venue was frustratingly loud - people were not there to listen to the musicians.

Scott asked one of the other musicians, Andy, to play with him for one of his songs

And when it wasn't storming too hard or raining on us, this is what we did for 7 straight weeks:

Around the middle of March, we weren't quite ready for winter to end, but a warm dry-spell convinced us to head south. We only made it 30 miles though. An updated forecast the following morning called for a big storm so we returned to Jackson. We enjoyed an epic week that started with 4 feet of snow over 4 days! After that, our legs were done with winter, and we were too. Thank you El Niño!

New snow up to my knees and it continues to snow!