So that you get some feeling for the seasons in Santa Fe, I'm going to dedicate a post on the first of each month to some seasonal photos and observations. Today I took a drive to the Santa Fe Ski Basin (about 13 miles out of town). Beautiful views of the fall foliage en route and at the mountain. The ski lift is open during this period for what the folks in New England call "leaf peeping", and while it didn't have the glorious mix of colors one might observe in the East, a full yellow aspen grove is really something to see. The leaves when yellow appear to be shinier than leaves like maple and oak are when they turn color, so a group of aspens appears to have a special light or sparkle--the trees truly glow. So I rode the quad chair to slightly over 11,000 feet in altitude, and then walked back down to 10,000. Because the straight shot down was quite steep-I did a lot of traversing--which I'm used to doing on skis but not while walking. But I took a logging trail down and took my time--it was beautiful--sunny, warm, and peaceful.
Below is a shot of the lift going up (with the incredible blue skies that you get here in Santa Fe).
Following that is a grove of aspens similar to ones I saw on the trail down. (In the interest of journalistic integrity, this is actually a picture I took by the side of the road after I drove away from the basin--but it was a better picture so there you go...)
The third photograph is a look backwards at part of the trail I have just come down. (A year ago, when I was just starting to walk without a cane, I couldn't have imagined I would be able to do this!)
So what's different from a similar hike in let's say Vermont on October 1? Basically, it's a lot higher up and a lot warmer! I was between 11,250 and 10,350 feet in altitude during the hike, wearing a long-sleeve T-shirt and jeans, and was really too warm. Also, I have, without noticing it, gotten used to living at 7,000 feet--I wasn't at all out of breath.
When I got home, I took a shot of my rose bush--still new buds blooming--that's different from New England too!
And last, but not least, I had half a cord of split piñon wood for the fireplace delivered this morning--below is one of the beautiful stacks that César created for me. Piñon fires have a well-deserved reputation in Santa Fe--the smoke is supposed to be intoxicating. We'll see! I feel like such a pioneer with my wood all laid in for the winter (only I didn't have to chop it!!)