Happy Year of the Rabbit – Kung Hei Fat Choi – from Santa Fe – land of the Jackalope (a mythical cross between a jack rabbit and an antelope)!
Santa Fe has been in the grip of some really cold air for the past couple of days – they were predicting temps of -24 with wind chill for this morning! While it was, indeed, really cold this morning, it “warmed up” to 16 F this afternoon. I can’t believe it but I actually said it felt like spring when Max and I finally ventured out about 1:30! I’m always amazed at how quickly we adapt to frigid temperatures, and then think a 20 degree increase is “balmy.”
I had some work to do this morning before we could go out, and with the prediction what it was, I figured an afternoon foray would be best. Max has been cooped up for several days now because it’s been too bitter to take him out for any length of time. And, of course, yesterday he was “at the spa.”
So, as much as I would have liked to walk Canyon Road and go in and out of galleries, I felt I owed him some play time. We left our motel without our trusty visitor guide to Santa Fe, which had a map that indicated the location of the leash-free dog park, so we stopped at Petco for advice. They sent us to a park at the end of Osage Avenue, but it was not the off-leash park. We took a nice 15 minute (on-leash) walkabout, then got back in the car, where I used my handy app Around Me to find Santa Fe Parks and Recreation.
A phone call to them got me the answer I needed – an address for the park, but Vanessa the GPS gal refused to believe there was such a street! Frustrated, I headed for the Historic Plaza where I expected to find every shop carrying the Visitor Guide, but NO! Finally, I was directed to the concierge at La Fonda – the historic hotel right on the Plaza, and I came out with the Guide in hand!
Looking at the map, I was able to navigate there WITHOUT Vanessa’s help, thank you very much. We parked in a small parking area with only one other car – not a good sign, I thought. Where were the other dogs? Where was the fenced dog park??
We began walking and soon came upon a young woman walking with her dog off-leash so I let Max free. When I asked her if there was a fenced area, she indicated that she was hearing impaired. We managed to communicate enough for her to tell me there as no fenced area, but “over there“ was where the dogs play together. I thanked her and headed in the direction of all the barking – of course, Max had already figured it out and was romping around this big open area with a dozen or so dogs in tow!!
When he saw me coming, he ran up to me (joy of joys when your pup comes to you from out of a pack of playing dogs!). Tennis ball firmly between his teeth, he eagerly came up and gave it over so I could throw it for him. Later, as I was driving away from the park, I reflected on what an honor it is for him to choose to play with me when there are so many dogs to race around with.
It was sunny with only a little wind, so the time we spent at the dog park was really pleasant. The worst part was that my right mitten got soaked from taking the (disgusting) tennis ball and throwing it over and over again! The things you do when you have a dog! I met a few people – you always do at a dog park; Max met a few dogs (ditto); and we had a really good experience.
I was so pleased that my guy stuck close and didn’t run off – we were in a huge open space and he could have easily decided to follow his nose off into the distance. When I finally decided it was time to go, he was willing to let me leash him up, leave the tennis ball for some other dog, and come along to our car.
I was planning to meet Jude at Ten Thousand Waves, a Japanese bath spa above Santa Fe at 4:30, so I wanted to get Max a marrow bone to chew on while I was soaking. I planned to leave him in the car for about an hour, knowing that the sun would keep the car warm. We stopped at a supermarket and I found bones – my second good deed for the day (the first was finding the dog park!).
I gave Vanessa the address for Ten Thousand Waves, and she proceeded to guide me through town and uphill. And what a magnificent uphill drive it was! When Vanessa told me we had arrived at “one – zero – zero – zero – zero Hyde Park Road on right” Ten Thousand Waves was nowhere to be seen! Figuring she was confused I kept driving and finally arrived at the entrance on the LEFT about 1/4 mile further on!
Jude pulled in soon after, I settled Max in his crate with a marrow bone and a promise to return soon, and she and I headed up the path to the spa. The gate is a beautiful entrance into this serene high mountain retreat:
Ninety-one steps through the pines later, we were at the door to the spa building. Stepping inside, we were greeted by the sound of flowing water, a large circle of metal on the wall with a niche for a small buddha, and koi swimming in the stream by the stairs up to reception!
This place is beyond fabulous! When you check in, you are given a kimono and a locker key – if you need or want a bathing suit, they can provide those too. After changing and showering, we went out wrapped in our kimonos to go to the communal tub, up a short winding path – in 16 degree weather!
Jude went into the sauna, and I chose to sit outside in the hot tub – which is quite large, and was only occupied by a single young man. the sky overhead was crystal clear, the water was hot and steamy, and I sank in with a sigh. Whew! What a month it’s been on the road. Another young man joined us, and we all soaked in silence.
Later, Jude came out of the sauna, and joined us just as the sun was setting the treetops ablaze with its last light. After about an hour, I decided I should head down to the showers and go get Max home for his dinner.
I wish my iPhone could have captured the beauty of Santa Fe at dusk on the road down from the spa! The mountains in the background were silhouetted in that gorgeous orangey post-sunset light, and the lights of the city sparkled and twinkled in the darkness below. It was such a perfect ending to a marvelous retreat from the world.
Ten thousand thanks to Jude for inviting me to share this wonderful experience!