Every time we take a trip I feel like I proclaim it’s my new favorite trip we’ve ever taken, but our wintry excursion to the Sante Fe National Forest in northern New Mexico really takes the cake. On top of getting —-> ENGAGED <—- we made a ton of amazing memories, and took home some more knowledge and experience.
You could read every book on traveling with a travel trailer and it just simply takes hitching up and hitting the road to really learn. On our previous trip to Arkansas, we learned not to pack too many stops into too few of days. So armed with that hectic memory, we planned to take two days to travel eleven hours, with a reservation at an RV park at the halfway mark. It was a perfect drive. Not stressful, enjoyable, and we arrived in Jemez Springs with several hours before sunset to find the perfect campground. And then we immediately made a shiny new mistake in which to learn a shiny new lesson from: Don’t just spontaneously dive off a paved road onto an unpaved road without knowing where it leads, especially in snowy conditions. The moment we turned onto this cool looking road, we immediately saw it took a sharp snow covered dive downhill, put Nala in reverse and made to undo our decision. And found ourselves quite stuck.
After hopelessly wiggling back in forth for a few minutes, Andy and I started to wonder what the heck we were going to do. Call for help? No cell signal, of course. Shortly after we momentarily gave up a truck pulled up beside us driven by a sweet middle aged couple, who poked their heads out of the window and asked if we needed some help. For some reason I have this weird frantic reluctance to not accept people’s help, even when I am in dire need. My heart was screaming YES OMG PLEASE but I think I mumbled something like “I mean I’m not sure if you can…”. Nice. Luckily, they were more than happy to lend a hand. We didn’t catch their names, but after some fruitless pushing and steering wheel direction suggestions, Mr. Ice Rescue pulled a shovel from his truck and proceeded to dig out the snow from behind Nala’s tires. He then traded the shovel for a tow rope, which he attached to Roameo’s tailgate and the back of his truck. Mrs. Ice Rescue and I stood out in the main road and stopped traffic while the men heaved and ho’d and successfully saved our poor booties from camping on the side of the road. After hurried handshakes and shouted thanks we all leapt back in our vehicles, unblocked the road, and resumed our exploration. This time, heading back down the mountain.
Lesson #2: Always have a small shovel and tow straps in your tow vehicle. Just in case.
We ended up finding a really lovely, deserted campground at the bottom of the mountain. It wasn’t snowy and foresty like we envisioned, but after our potentially trip-ruining experience in the ice we were just happy to have a safe spot to detach and get some sleep. Plus, it was only a fifteen or so minute drive up to the really pretty areas! And the nights weren’t as frigid as they could have been.
Before we came to the Santa Fe National Forest, the only other times Andy and I had been to New Mexico was just to drive through it on our way to Arizona or California, which always puts us through Albuquerque. Northern New Mexico is a COMPLETELY different landscape! It completely changed our views of the state, and now we fully understand why it is called the “Land of Enchantment”.
Maybe my favorite part, besides gettin’ to wear this rad diamond, was our hike up to the San Antonio Hot Springs. We had never experienced a natural hot spring before!! And I’ve had this fantasy of getting in one while surrounded by snow, and this one was so perfect. It was a waaay longer hike than we expected, and we forgot to pack snacks (but we did remember celebratory beers… priorities, right?) which was a huge rookie mistake. Lesson #3: ALWAYS PACK SNACKS ON HIKES.
Thank you New Mexico for showing us a lovely wild time!