Daniel, Jackson, and I took a road trip to New Mexico a few weeks ago for some much needed "family" time. We packed our camping gear, bought a few more things we needed for rock climbing, and took Jack some treats and we were on our way. I don't remember much of the drive over as I had my nose in a Francine Rivers' book. Jack did great in the back of the car, finding his spot behind my seat so Daniel couldn't throw him around on the slippery backseat while driving.
During the 10 hour drive, Jack was either doing this:
I don't think Daniel or I realized how beautiful New Mexico is. The scenery from Fort Worth to Santa Fe just got better and better as we got closer to the mountains. We had a few encounters with rain storms, but overall the drive was incredibly beautiful even with some dark clouds along the way.
We made it to Santa Fe Saturday afternoon and got a book on local rock climbing and bought some dinner at Cowgirls. The restaurant had a patio, but they weren't too dog friendly so we took it to go and sat at a picnic table near the train station.
Downtown Santa Fe was incredible, and everyone loved Jack. We even found an REI in downtown and got Daniel a pair of climbing shoes. I also forgot to mention that it was drizzling most of the afternoon. Thank goodness for rain jackets! Before it got dark, we made our way to Santa Fe National Park to set up our accommodations for the night. We found a nice little patch of dirt by a creek that was away from the other campers so Jack wouldn't disturb the peace. It was raining by the time we started setting up the tent. We took Jack a "pop-up" kennel that we found at Walmart so he had his very own camping tent. I think he appreciated being out of the rain, and he slept all night without making a sound.
Daniel and I were not prepared for how cold it was in NM. Our nights in FW are like our days. Hot. Not so in NM. We both woke up numerous times throughout the night shivering. I thankfully took 1 long sleeve shirt and 2 pairs of pants, but Daniel brought neither. We had two fleece sleeping bags and a sheet that I had used in the car. Not very warm to say the least.
After a restless night, we packed up and hit the road to to some site-seeing in the mountains and find some rocks to climb.
There is one big loop through the mountains and it was beautiful. It was drizzling again that morning so we held of on trying to find the rock climbing until the afternoon. Once the sun came out we made our way to an overlook near the rocks we were planning to climb. We dried out the tent and other camping gear and enjoyed the view.
To get to the rocks we had to go into a residential area, walk between two houses with a viscious dog in one of the backyard and climb down a large cliff. Jack needed quite a bit of encouragement, he wasn't too sure about the small steps down the side of the cliff. But in the end he made it, and had a great time running around on the rocks.
We spent about an hour and a half climbing before the sky opened up and we were soaked. We had planned to drive to a different campsite for the night, but in the end decided to go back to the place we knew, but we picked a different patch of dirt this time. Jack didn't care for his kennel as much the second night, but he was barking at everything when we left him chained up so we literally had to wrestle him into the kennel. We all got really dirty.
After another cold we night, we woke up to a bright sun-shiny day! We headed to the overlook again, had lunch, dried our gear, and walked down the overlook for some other places to climb. Jack again needed encouragement but he did great once we got going. The overlook area was incredible.
Sorry no pictures of Daniel climbing, just me. It's hard to take pictures while belaying someone on the rope.
After climbing for a while, we took a break and just laid on a rock enjoying the view.
I really like this picture.
We finished climbing and drove a few hours to another campsite near Toas. Our plan was to make it to Toas for camping, but it got dark too soon, so we took a detour to another national park nearby (and by nearby I mean an hour and a half off the highway). Again, we wrestled Jack into his kennel and we all passed out for the night. We drove into Toas the next day to find some good food, and ended up a very good local Tex-Mex restaurant. We then stopped by a juice bar so we could get some WiFi and find a place to stay for the night. We decided to pick a park with some showers. We couldn't have asked for a better campsite. There were quite a few people there, most in campers, but the views were awesome.
Our tent and the view.
We took a short hike to the top of one of the nearby mesas. You could see for miles. Gorgeous. I really wish our cameras hadn't died. I just can't even explain how awesome it was. We woke up at midnight to nearby lightning and thunder. When we peaked out the tent to see how close the storm was, it looked pretty viscous and close, so we decided to go sleep with Jack. We had decided not to fight Jack into the kennel for the last night and we just let him sleep in the car with the sunroof open. (It was also cougar and bear country and we really didn't want Jacked eaten on our last night camping.) The storm missed us so we went back to the tent around 1am, but then our neighbors decided to go the bathroom across from our site, and then two crazy guys were cursing at the top of their lungs at each other, which all sent Jack into fits of barking. So, I got the pleasure of sleeping in the car with him overnight to keep him calm. I'm pretty sure it was warmer than the tent. We headed out early in the morning after making a stop at the showers. It's really nice to shower after 4 days of only using baby wipes to try and get clean. Another 10 hours and we were home, in our own soft comfy bed, and we finally got a good nights rest. We can't wait to go back to the beautiful mountains of NM! Who wants to join us?