One of the great things about living in Santa Fe is its great proximity to so many intriguing weekend getaways. We have been lucky enough to have just returned from one of them. On a recent Thursday evening, after finishing work, we loaded the SUV and headed north on 285, towards our red tin roof, travelling through the towns and villages of Tesuque, Pojoaque and Espanola.
The road urged us forward passing the famed Abiquiu Inn and Bode’s General Store. We continued past the ranch of Shirley MacLaine before climbing the crest where the Abiquiu Lake burst into the scene. We have now entered famed painter, Georgia O’Keeffe, country! The brilliant blues of the water lay in sharp contrast to the red, orange and yellows of the mountains and cliffs that rise mightily above. Scenery in this area has been inspiring artists for decades.
We travel down the road past Echo Canyon as the landscape turns remarkably green. Without realizing it the dessert has gently faded away and has transformed itself into thick forests of pine and groves of aspen. The change is so subtle that we barely notice it as we cross over the Rio Chama and follow the road into Chama NM.
With the tank refueled, we now head north on 84 towards our red tin roof. After a short 23 miles we cross the border into Colorado and breeze through a wisp of a village called Chromo. As we round the curve out of town, we are greeted to a herd of deer happily grazing in a pasture to the east; they take no notice as we meander by on our way to the last 24 miles.
As we approach our final destination the road has narrowed and the forest seems to have inched its way right alongside the highway. Through a series of “S” curves the road winds tightly through the forest before giving way, at last, to the majestic mountain peaks of the San Juan Mountains. We motor on towards the base and arrive at Pagosa Springs.
Just before entering town, we turn the SUV onto Mill Creek road that leads the way toward our red tin roof. Driving a long 8 ½ miles atop a gravel road through a series of pastures, we steer past massive entrances that lead the way to large ranches on either side. After winding our way, we drive deeper and deeper into the forest before the road gives way to what must have been, at one time, a coved wagon cart path. Bumping our way down the last hundred yards, the red tin roof of the cabin finally comes into view and we leave our worries behind.
During the next three days we delighted in soaking in the hot springs, sitting by the river and hiking through the woods. We took numerous naps in the day and prepared scrumptious meals in the evening. We enjoyed glasses of wine by the evening fires and slept peacefully with the windows open while listening to the sounds of the night rain as it fell on our red tin roof.