Welcome back. It’s called New Mexico Highway 38 and it runs through the small community of Eagle Nest which sits outside of Angel Fire and then 38 goes on to the village of Red River. Named after the stream that runs through town, Red River was a mining town back in the 1870s when gold strikes were plentiful in this region. There was also money to be made mining silver and copper but by 1905 most of the minerals were all gone.
Today the area depends on tourism. Instead of miners looking to strike it rich, locals depend on visitors looking to ski in the winter and hunt and fish in the spring and fall. Summer brings lots of hikers and campers to the mountains as well. At 8,750 feet, a person can enjoy the scenery at any time of the year and many people come just for the views. The 484 people who live in Red River full time know what pays their bills and friends when you visit their town it’s all about you. They offer skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling in the winter and hiking, fishing and horseback riding in the summer. Good food is plentiful of course and watching deer and elk walking right down the middle of Main Street is a favorite pastime of mine and I’ve seen lots of them.
It’s well known that the Plains and Pueblo Indians were the first to cross this land looking for buffalo. Reading up on local history, I found that there were many Indian trails and passes through this part of the Sangre de Christo mountain range. According to local history, the old Kiowa and Taos trails were intended for horse and foot travel. Wagons, usually full of supplies, took the Cimarron Trail which ran along what is now US Route 68. I know it may be hard to comprehend reading all this but when you see the rough terrain people had to cross just to get here you know they had to be both tough and skilled at handling teams of horses. You can’t go to Angel Fire and Red River without visiting the town where the cult film Easy Rider was shot.
As you may have already guessed, I’m now hanging my hat in a town the natives call “the place of red willows” which nowadays is better known as Taos, New Mexico. Home of the famous Taos Pueblo which has been inhabited since somewhere between 1000 and 1450 AD, today it’s said there are around 150 people living in the Pueblo. The Pueblo is a very special place for sure but there are also three art museums and over 80 art galleries in Taos. The town also hosts community arts events, numerous musical performances and even shamanic rituals. Yes, Taos is an artistic town but there is more. The golf, fishing, rafting and hiking here is rated as some of the best in the country. And if they can get some snow don’t forget the top-notch skiing. If you go to Taos, Angel Fire, Red River or any of the small towns along the Enchanted Circle plan on a long stay because there is just so much to see here.
Here’s a personal snow report as of Sunday January 21st. There’s still no snow in most of the ski areas throughout northern New Mexico and if the weather trend continues this year will mark the least snowfall in modern day history with millions of dollars in lost revenue .It’s still as beautiful place, snow or no snow.
Till next time I’ll see ya down the road…