As you’ve probably gleaned from this blog, I am a hippie. This can get interesting when you are a military spouse and your husband is “the man” and you move from military town to military town. But then you talk your husband into hiking with llamas near Taos and you refill your crunchy-hippie tank and it’s good.
We glamped at the Taos Valley RV Park on the south side of town. There are plenty of spaces and they offer full hookups and pull throughs, on-site laundry facilities, a great playground, and lovely views of the mountains.
Our oldest daughter had it in her mind that she needed to learn to fish while we glamped in New Mexico. TJ was beyond excited. There is a pond stocked just for kids at the Red River Fish Hatchery about 30 minutes north of Taos near Questa, NM, and it was a perfect first fishing experience. We messed about for about an hour casting, waiting, losing worms, and, as it was getting late in the afternoon, told the girls we could do one more cast. And that’s when she caught it: a trout big enough to feed the four of us for dinner that night. Watching my daughter go through so many emotions in the span to two minutes was priceless: suprise, fear, squeamishness, disgust, and then pride and then more squeamishness. The story of this fish catch is legend with the girls now, especially the part about the fish flopping around on the bank as we reeled it in and hitting our oldest’s shoe, which sent her running and screaming and leaving her pole behind.
And then they watched TJ gut it in the back of the truck. Their first dissection! It was a perfect experience.
Now, some families go to Disneyland, and some go to the beach, we are a bit different. Our big splurge on this vacation in New Mexico: hiking with llamas. I found this suggestion in a guide book and brought it up to TJ. He was a bit skeptical, so I brought in the big guns, the girls and their doe eyes. We called Wild Earth Llama Adventures and arranged for a “Take a Llama to Lunch” hike, where you venture along a forest trail lead by a naturalist, in the company of llamas, and are provided with a delicious picnic lunch. We met up with our group and guide, Stuart, in the Carson National Forest and there they were: these lovely sweet, soft, and break-your-heart adorable llamas. Stuart laid out the plan for the day, since we had two young children he was super flexible and said we’d shoot for a specific place for our picnic lunch but we’d get as far as we got (this was perfect, see our Hiking With Kids post). Now, you don’t ride llamas, but they carry all your gear and walk politely behind you with their warm, easy, and reassuring presence. Following our moto of getting the kids on the trail in whichever manner works, TJ and I each packed a kid on our back while the girls sat on their parent-perches and held the llama leads. My oldest and I were assigned Apollo, a true llama-human ambassador if there is one.
He was so gentle and let us pat and hug him at 15 step intervals. Stuart talked to us about the forest, the area, and was a super cool person to get to know. We lunched on the banks of a creek with the llamas resting in the trees and little purple butterflies darting around our feet. On the way back, our 2 year old decided she needed to hike with her llama, Diego, and he let himself be lead at her speed and without any hesitations.
It was a very tearful goodbye. Our hike was relaxing, informative, and super fun and we would hands down recommend it to any family visiting the Taos area. Of course, ever since I’ve been plotting about how to provide a home for a llama here and just how the llama trailer would hook up behind the airstream.
After our hike we treated ourselves to a dinner at the Taos Mesa Brewery. What a gem! The location is amazing, right where the mountain range smoothes into the Rio Grande Mesa and the vistas are breathtaking.
Not only did they have a wide variety of excellent beer from which to choose, the food was good, and we happened to get there for open mic night.
Our girls had a great time listening to a wide variety of local talent and tried to get TJ to teach them how to play pool. We were able to fill our travel growler and wished we’d had another with us!
Our time in Taos was too short, and we didn’t even get to the pueblo just outside of town. As we strolled through the streets of Taos, we came across a bumper sticker that said “Waiting for the day of non-judgement” and that pretty much summed up the vibe: just a bunch of human BEings, man. Taos has lots of artists studios and is small enough to walk through in a morning with kids.
I am pretty much begging TJ for us to get back as soon as we can.
Do you have any “off the beaten track” activities to share? We’d love to hear about them!
Respond to New Mexico: Taos