Gold in them hillsI was unprepared for the beauty of northern New Mexico. I think I expected dusty deserts, candlestick cactus, rocky mesas and barren plains.
But the reality was so totally different.
We went for a drive up, up, up to the Santa Fe National Forest, in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, where they run the ski-lift in the autumn — way before the ski season starts — just so you can get up to 3500 metres (11,500 feet) and look down on all the wonderful colours.
It was a wild day, really cold up there, with driving rain and big winds, the tail end of a hurricane that had been blowing in from the south-west across Baja California. So the chair lift wasn't working.
Now, my Dave is scared of heights, so I'd been curious to see how he'd deal with a ski-lift — and he didn't disappoint me. When he saw what he'd have had to sit in, his immediate reaction was, 'Where are the seatbelts?' So it was sort of lucky for him that rain had stopped play!
On the way down from the mountains, the wind really whipped up and the sky was for a moment filled with swirling yellow hearts as the aspens lost their leaves. It was breathtaking.Apparently, this clear hillside of aspens is where there was a big fire in the 1880s. The evergreens were killed, and the sun-loving aspens wasted no time in getting established in this sudden gap. Eventually, the evergreens will grow again and squeeze out the aspens, but for now there's this little piece of wonder to enjoy.