Desert Mountain Escape
May 28 - June 3, 2014
New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment, is conveniently adjacent to our favorite part of Colorado – the San Juan Mountains. This is a perfect playground for Canyon Calling adventurers who love the multi-activity format of our trips. We’ll hike and bike and ride horses and rafts. We’ll soak in hot springs, explore ancient ruins and visit galleries and museums in Santa Fe and Taos. A highlight is our stay at Ghost Ranch where we form a deep appreciation of the red canyons, magical mesas and soft light that Georgia O’Keefe loved so deeply. September is a perfect time in the high desert and San Juan Mountains with temperatures around 80 during the day and cooling down to 55 overnight. Join us out West!
I’ve taken a few women’s adventure trips before but this one beats them all! Your enthusiasm and love for your profession shows in everything you do and your compassion and concern for others is a great example for all of us. Kathy T, WI
Your format and company sure draws some incredible women. We had more than a few belly laughs along the way. Kris T, VA
I cannot tell you how much I respect your attention to detail and the quality of your trips. Linda Z, NY
My first visit to the Southwest was chock full of grand memories. You made the trip so relaxing and fun. It was like traveling with true “road sisters!” Regina E, MD
|Airfares are NOT INCLUDED in Canyon Calling trips. It is your responsibility to get yourself to the assembly point of a trip and home afterwards. There are many reasons for this policy including customers wanting to use their air miles, people wanting to go early or stay on after the trip, some wanting to drive etc. Jane at Jane’s Travel in Phoenix has helped our customers with booking their flights for the last 17 years. You can phone her at (480) 755-1388 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org Internal flights are included in trip prices when they fall inside a tour like on our Costa Rican, Peruvian Andes, Australian and Hawaiian Islands trips.
Your guide will collect you at 2pm at Albuquerque Airport and drive north to Santa Fe. Check into our suites. You’ll have a few hours to yourself to explore the wonderful galleries enjoy the shops, visit the Georgia O’Keefe or other wonderful museums. Santa Fe also has a multitude of architectural and cultural subjects for amateur the photographer. We’ll dine at a favorite local restaurant where you’ll be able to sample the New Mexican cuisine. If you arrive into Albuquerque in the morning and want to get to Santa Fe earlier there is an inexpensive van shuttle you can catch. Likewise you may wish to come in a day prior to explore more of Santa Fe.
After breakfast at our hotel we’ll drive north and west to Bandelier National Monument. We’ll hike Frijoles Canyon, containing ancestral pueblo homes, kivas, rock paintings and petroglyphs. Some of the dwellings were rock structures built on the canyon floor; others were "caveats" produced by voids in the canyon wall and carved out further by humans. A climb up several ladders brings us to Alcove House, a shelter cave containing a small, reconstructed kiva. After lunch we’ll drive the high scenic road to Taos through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. We’ll visit Chimayo Sanctuary where a miracle occurred in 1810 and the church has become known as the “Lourdes of America.” In Taos we’ll visit the Taos Pueblo, a 1000 year-old village and the First Living World Heritage Site. Our local guide will lead us through the village explaining construction methods, traditions and ceremonies as well as the modern life of the 2800 people in her tribe. After checking into our hotel there will be time for a dip in the pool and after dinner you may wish to explore the unique downtown of Taos.
Its white water rafting day on the Taos Box section of the Rio Grande! Our sixteen-mile, all day trip through Class III and IV rapids takes us into the deepest, most scenic part of the gorge. Canyon walls and wildlife create an amazing backdrop and our 8.30am launch ensures an un-crowded, pristine experience. Enjoy a gourmet lunch on the beach. Awe-inspiring views await around every bend as we meander and plunge through twenty sets of rapids. Water levels vary depending on the winter snowpack in the Rockies and if it’s a low pack year we’ll steer duckies (inflatable kayaks) on the Racecourse section of the Rio Grande and eat in town. We’ll visit the Taos Drum Factory and the beautiful adobe St Francis de Assisi Church. On our way out of town we’ll stop for pictures at the high bridge across the Rio Grande and at the off-the-grid Earthship community. Drive through Carson National Forest to Pagosa Springs. Check into our motel and after dinner we’ll enjoy a wonderful soak under the stars at these beautiful natural springs.
Breakfast at our hotel before a scenic ride through the San Juan Mountains to Durango. Then head up over the pass where we’ll saddle up for a two-hour horse ride at a high country stables. This is no nose-to-tail ride! Instead it has great up and downhill sections and the scenery is breathtaking with views of the Grenadier Mountain range. Travel to the old-west mining town of Silverton and lunch in a wonderful old restaurant that’s changed little since the mining era. You’ll have a couple of hours free to explore after lunch and maybe even dress up for an ol’ tyme group photo. Then we’ll travel over the million-dollar highway to the adorable mountain town of Ouray. Check into our motel and you’ll have an hour free to explore. After dinner soak under the stars in natural hot pools at our hotel enjoying the views of the surrounding 14,000’ mountains.
Drive over to the beautiful ski town of Telluride and assemble for our bike ride. We’ll drive high up into the nearby mountains and ride bikes down the Galloping Goose trail, the old train route. This ride is a wonderful mixture of forest and lakes, mountain flowers and stunning views. Back in our van we’ll head south up and over a 10,000’ pass to the Delores River Valley, stopping for lunch along the way. This afternoon we’ll explore Mesa Verde National Park a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As we walk through Spruce Tree House we get a wonderful sense of the lives of the Anasazi. You can even climb down into a kiva, a room used for religious rituals. Drive to nearby Durango for dinner and lodging for the evening.
After breakfast in Durango we’ll drive south to Chaco National Historic Park. We’ll join a ranger-led program and get a taste of the monumental architecture and complex community life of the Chacoan culture that existed from 800 to 1200AD. It is truly astounding to wander the well-preserved ruins of the great houses and kivas and imagine the sophisticated social organization in which this community of thousands thrived. We’ll picnic at Chaco. Our destination this afternoon is Abiquiu – specifically Ghost Ranch – yes, Georgia O’Keefe country! Check into our cottage and relax amongst the red canyons, majestic mesas and amazing skies. Dinner this evening is in the dining hall.
It’s fun to get up early in the cool air and enjoy some quiet time before breakfast and watch the desert come alive. A wonderful two-hour hike takes us up through red rocks and white gypsum onto Kitchen Mesa. The red and yellow cliffs of this mesa were favorite subjects for O’Keefe’s paintings. Once on top, the views are spectacular and you can see why this ranch was so beloved by her. We’ll lunch in Santa Fe then drive up to a luxurious local hot spring and soak. It’s a perfect place to reflect on all our experiences of the past week. Drive to Albuquerque and check into our motel before heading to a favorite local restaurant for our farewell dinner. Tour ends.