Well hello again,

This past weekend I worked a weekend trip where we took clients climbing and rappeling.  We were about 15 miles from the border of AZ, which was awesome.  I love that I get to travel as part of my job.  Furthermore, I learned about a climbing area that I would like to go back to and climb (without clients).  I hear you can climb there in the winters, which makes me very happy. 

On Monday I was off from work so I went climbing at an area called White Rocks.  We went to an area of White Rocks called The Overlook and it was awesome.  I had a great time climbing at this area because the rock was very gritty and the view from where we were climbing was beautiful.  You could see the Rio Grande and the surrounding mountain ranges.  I kept glanceing back into the the mountains when I was not climbing because it was so picturesque. 

Then on Tuesday, I went for a five mile hike on the Chasmia Trail, which is very close to where I work and live.  It was a nice single, track trail.  As I was walking, I was not sure what the names of some of the wildflowers and trees were.  Since I did not know what plants were there, I ordered a book on Southwest plants so that I can bring it along on some of my adventures.  Many of the trees and aspens are changing colors here already.  In Virginia we got all colors of Fall, but here you mostly get yellow and a hint of orange.  It is beautiful to see the trees and the mountains changing colors.  Furthermore, there are also some wildflowers that blooming all over the place.  It is awesome!

After I hiked, I went to the local climbing gym and coached climbing.  I am volunteering at the local climbing gym because I enjoy coaching climbing and also because I get a free membership,  It is only a couple hours a week and I am already enjoying it. 

There is a new series that I think everyone in the world should be watching.  It is on PBS and it is about the National Parks.  The series is called, "National Parks, America's Best Idea."  The series is about the history of the parks and about the park's beautiful landscapes.  As I am watching it, the scenery sometimes takes my breath away.  Throughout the series, they have taken a lot of quotes from the naturalist John Muir.  I had heard about him before, but after learning about him in the series, I have ordered a couple of his books because he writes about nature in a spiritual manner, which is a way that I see nature too.  Everyday they are putting new episodes on the website.  You can watch it on PBS at home too.  Check it out!

I thought I would update you guys on more of how my life is going.  Overall, Santa Fe has been treating me well.  I am starting to learn the layout of the city, but I still have to whip out my GPS here and there because I am not sure how to get from point A to B.  I probably get lost because I keep staring at the huge and beautiful Sandia Mountains that surround Santa Fe.  Last week, I was surprised to see snow on the tops of some of the mountains when I was driving to work.  I was told from some of the locals that the snow was much earlier than normal, but it was still a beautiful sight to see. 

I have been spending my time working, baking and hiking.  Just a few moments ago I baked a loaf of beer bread which I just ate a slice and it was delicious.  Furthermore, on Friday I made granola bars topped with almonds which were awesome!!!  Baking is fun and the breads taste so much better than store bought.  Last week I made two whole wheat loafs that I have been using for my sandwiches.  Who knew that I would be enjoying baking so much? 

When I am not baking, I have been hiking.  As you have seen through facebook and the blog, have posted some pictures from my adventures.  Today I went on a four mile hike and it was beautiful.  The leaves are just beginning to change and was so awesome to take in the colors and the smells of the forest!  I thought when I moved to New Mexico that I would miss Virginia's change of color, but I have learned from the locals that the leaves change color here too.  In the next couple of weeks, I am going to do the Aspen Vista hike again because I hear that is one of the best hikes for seeing the Fall colors.  Tomorrow after work I am going to do another 4ish mile hike that is close to work, but we will see what happens.

When I am not baking or hiking, I am working.  I have been really enjoying the work that I have been doing.  I have been doing a lot of training and learning more about the mountain center.  I have also been trying to showcase my skills to the mountain center so that I can lead more programming for them.  So far, I have done programming for many different types populations and I have done many different activities including: rock climbing, team building, climbing tower, and other high adventure elements.  I have learned much already and I am feel very blessed to have this opportunity in Santa Fe.  I am way happy to be doing this internship because I feel that it will help me grow both personally and professionally.    

That is pretty much my life right now...baking, working, hiking.  Well, I forgot to mention that I have been doing a lot of reading.  It is nice to be out of school, because I actually get to read for fun!

Enjoy the update!  More to come later.
Today, I went on a little adventure to visit the Tent Rocks National Monument.  Overall, I thought it was a beautiful area with well kept trails.  My favorite trail was one that took me through a slot canyon.  I love slot canyons!!!  They remind me so much of a trip back in March when I went to Utah and explored slot canyons.  I took some pictures, but I cannot get them on the computer.  Here are few pics that I found of the area on the internet...

Slot Canyon

'“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.” Edward Abbey

Comments are working now... Yay...
I posted two albums on facebook of my past couple of days.  One album is from a hike I did on Saturday.   I did a hike in Santa Fe called the Aspen Vista hike.  I found the hike while driving around the mountains, so I decided to try it.  The sign said that it was only a 5.6 mile hike and the trail was a big fire road, so I knew that if I wanted to turn around I could.  I brought with me my essentials, food, water, and rain gear so I knew that I would be OK (even though I was wearing jeans and a cotton t-shirt).  The entire hike was uphill, but  I just kept going and going uphill finally making it to the top to Tesuque Peak.  The hike itself was awesome!!  The views were amazing and you gained in elevation 2200 feet.  (You began the hike at 10,000 feet).  I believe I actually had elevation sickness at the beginning the hike.  I have been overall trying to get use to the elevation change since Santa Fe is at 7000 feet above sea level, but this was even higher.  As the hike progressed, I noticed how tired I was and I noticed how much more time it took me than expected.  I headed back down the hike and looked at the sign again to see exactly how many miles I did again.... the sign still said 5.6 miles.  I was wondering why I was so tired and why it took me so long to do the hike.  I felt out of shape for how tired I was.  I drove home exhausted and hungry and researched the hike online.  I found out that I actually hiked a 12 mile hike so that made me feel better.  I am sore today and I am so happy that I pushed myself to get to the top.  I took a bunch of photos, but the photos do not look as good as the real thing. 

Here ya go...

St. Francis's Basilica
Santa Fe Railway w/ Farmer's Market In The Back
An Amazing Farmer's Market (HUGE!!!)
Loretto Chapel
(I wrote this yesterday, but did not have internet until this morning)

It took three days of driving and I made it to Santa Fe, NM. I will have to look tomorrow at my speedometer to tell you guys the exact number of miles it took for me to get here. I was very lucky to have friends along the way to stay with so I could save money and not have to stay at hotels/motels. My first stop was in the music city of Nashville, TN. When I got there, my friend graciously showed me the city and we got to see some live country music in a few bars and restaurants. We also went to a dueling piano bar , which was hilarious. These two guys would sing requested songs on there pianos while making fun of the crowd, the music, and themselves.

My next stop was in Kiefer, OK (near Tulsa). My friends treated me with dinner and a movie at their house, which was great. It was so nice relaxing and getting a good meal until the next days drive.

After that, I drove to Santa Fe, NM. It was fun driving across the country, seeing the different landscapes. I drove from VA to TN to AK to OK to TX to NM. I saw everything from the mountains to landscapes so flat that I could see for miles. I thought Tennessee, especially the Eastern part was beautiful. Texas was also a great state to drive through because it was so flat and a bit deserty,. My least favorite state was Arkansas….not much to say about that state.

Driving into New Mexico was a sight to see. The state is so beautiful with its mountains and deserts. As I was going West into the state, the state was flat, but you could see these beautiful mountains in the distance. As I continued driving I saw canyons, rocky out croppings, red sands and rocks… it was so great. I made it to the place that I will be staying for the first month and I am way tired from the journey. Tomorrow, I hope to do some exploring and adjusting in Santa Fe. Then on Sunday, I may head to Albuquerque to visit one of my friends that I met while working at Mercersburg Academy in PA.

Thank you to everyone for the well wishes and prayers for the safe journey. I hope to continue this good fortune in the weeks ahead.