The Enchanted Circle & Cave Dwellings

For my last full day visiting Cade in New Mexico, we wrapped up our time in Taos and headed out for another day of exploring the area. Initially, we had planned our day out with taking the Low Road, the sister road to the High Road, to the Bandelier National Monument However, after looking through several tourist magazines, we came across another road called the Enchanted Circle and decided to add it to our itinerary. The Enchanted Circle is a 85 mile scenic loop that includes a few ski areas but is largely full of mountains and wilderness. So, getting up early and having a large breakfast at our hotel, we headed out for the Enchanted Circle. We ended up being very glad we added it into the day.

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We then met up with the Low Road and the Rio Grande. This took us towards the Bandelier National Monument.

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One of the nice things about this weekend in particular was that it was MLK Day, which is a holiday where all the national parks are free. So, we got to enter the park with no charge.

After driving a ways into the park and checking out the visitor center, we were off on the trails to see the cave dwellings of the ancestral pueblo people.

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After exploring the caves, we continued on the hiking path, which would lead us to the grand daddy of caves. The hike up to the grand cave was quite intense, full of ladder climbing.

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After spending some time taking in the view, we climbed our way back down and headed towards the visitor center once more. We were ready for some lunch, which we took for the road, and began our last leg of the journey to Los Alamos.

One of the draws of checking out this sleepy town was the history of building atomic bombs. Even just getting into the town requires a government checkpoint. We managed to get through, drove through the town, and found our destination of the Bradbury Science Museum. Here we were able to learn all about the atomic bomb history and the science behind it. It was really interesting, especially understanding the history and politics that went behind the decision to launch the first atomic bombs.

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Wrapping up our time out exploring, we headed back towards Santa Fe to drop off the rental car and decided to grab a couple beers to just relax after a busy day of hiking and climbing. We decided on Draft Station, which is a beer-only location where you can get food from other places. Conveniently, there was a pizza place at just the other end of the hall. So after drinking our first round and talking about our day and some politics (we always end up on world problems during our coffee and beer dates), we ordered a pizza and chilled with a good dinner and our second round of beer.

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We continued our chill session at home by making one last fire, which ended up getting a bit bigger than we had intended. Making a fire gets a bit out of hand when you have two people who are mildly drunk making it. We then rested up, and I was off the next morning, traveling back to Boston. We spent about another 5 days apart while Cade finished up his time in Santa Fe, which was a little strange..to see each other then come back to be separated again. But, he seemed to enjoy his time, and it was really exciting to explore with him and check out a possible future home for us.