Tuesday, May 29, 2012

One Last Shop in Taos...

After visiting the Pueblo it was back to the Casita for lunch and a rest. Garry, myself and the kids ventured out to visit the Rio Grande Bridge.

One of America’s highest and most famous bridges, the route 64 crossing of the Rio Grande near Tao's, New Mexico was completed in 1965. A well proportioned cantilever truss with an attractive, curvilinear profile, the bridge received the American Institute of Steel Construction’s award for “Most Beautiful Long Span Steel Bridge” of 1966. In 1997 it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

With its headwaters high up in the Rocky Mountains of south-central Colorado, the Rio Grande is America’s 4th longest river, stretching 1,885 miles (3,034 km) south to the Gulf of Mexico. Located 10 miles (16 km) west of Tao's, the deep gorge of the Rio Grande is the only major rift across an otherwise flat expanse of land between the mountains of the Carson National Forest and the Sangre de Cristos.

The local vendors never miss an opportunity, so after a quick jewelry shop on the side of the road it was time to visit The Greater Earth ship World Community.

What is the Greater Earth ship World Community you might ask. The aims are;

To reduce the economic and institutional barriers between people and sustainable housing.

To begin reversing the overall negative effect that conventional housing has on the planet.

To create a less stressful existence for people in an effort to reduce the stress that they in turn place on the planet and each other.

To interface economics and ecology in a way that immediately and tangibly affects current pressing problems with existing life styles.

To provide a direction for those who want to live in harmony with their environment.

To empower individuals with the inarguable forces of nature.

To find and distribute knowledge about sustainable lifestyles.

- Produce our own energy
- Harvest our own water
- Contain and treat our own sewage
- Manufacture our own bio-diesel fuel
- Grow much of our own food
- Our buildings heat and cool themselves
- Made utilizing discarded materials of modern society

One of the objectives of this sustainable community is to demonstrate the reuse of by-products of our society. To that end, the thermally dynamic buildings are structured with earth rammed automobile tires -approved on a case by case bases in New Mexico and around the world for twenty years. Aluminum cans and glass bottles are used as bricks for minor planter walls and partitions. Hard plastic containers are ground up and mixed with pumice in the waste water treatment systems. These materials will be collected for reuse at two transfer stations located at opposite ends of the property.

It was an interesting visit and I could actually imagine building and living in one of these houses.

We then headed back to Tao's for a final walk around town and the inevitable shop.

Tao's is filled with beautiful streets, many murals and gallery after gallery.

Besides jewellery, many wonderful paintings were also for sale.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Visiting Historic Pueblo De Tao's...

Again another beautiful but very warm day and we were on our way to explore the Historic Pueblo De Tao's. Situated in the valley of a small tributary of the Rio Grandee, this Pueblo Indian settlement, consists of adobe dwellings, ceremonial buildings and a few teepee's. It is one of a group of settlements established in the late 13th and early 14th centuries in the valleys of the Rio Grandee. The Pueblo is currently the largest living world heritage listed site. Today about 150 people still make their homes full-time in the pueblo. Others maintain houses there but live elsewhere in more modern homes on some 99,000 acres (40,000 hectares) of Pueblo Indian land. In accordance with tradition, no electricity or running water is allowed in residences inside the adobe pueblo.

We all had a great time exploring the buildings, looking at all the interesting goods for sale and talking to the Indians. While Garry was happy to sit under a tree near the creek that runs through the Pueblo, I was in a photographic dream. I couldn't wait to get home and spend some time editing the amazing images. It was hard not to take a great shot.

Neither Nic or I could resist the amazing Indian Drums - we almost cleared the store purchasing one for each child from a third generation drum maker whose drums are exhibited in the Smithsonian.

The kids were amazing - especially baby Lara who dealt with the extreme heat without a complaint.

But my favorite part of the Pueblo without a doubt was the cemetery.

On the edges of the Pueblo their were a number of teepee's, the photograph below was taken as the clouds were rolling in.

Our visit was truly amazing - we spent around three hours inside the pueblo, but without kids I am sure I could easily have spent the entire day exploring. It was well worth the extra $6.00 Us I had to pay so that I could take photographs inside the Pueblo.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Road Trip to Taos - New Mexico...

After a few days to settle into Denver life, Auntie Nic was keen to take a road trip so we decided to head for Tao's in New Mexico. We were all looking forward to getting on the road and exploring new places. A very scenic five hour drive led us to the extremely picturesque town of Tao's.

On the drive we passed many beautiful sights including mountains and pastures with abandoned farm houses.

We were all happy to get out of the car and were really impressed with the beautiful two bedroom Casita we had booked for our accommodation.

The photo below is the entrance to the hot tub and has the very distinctive rows of dries chillies suspended. Everywhere we went in Tao's we saw red chillies hanging.

We spent the first day exploring the main street of Tao's and visiting the local church. Our preference was to go straight to the Pueblo, unfortunately it was closed due to a funeral.

So the St. Francis of Assisi, Ranchos De Tao's was to be our first destination. This Spanish colonial church built with thick, organic curving walls has been used as a model by many New Mexico artists. It's most famous depiction is in paintings by Georgia O'Keeffe, see below.

Georgia O'Keeffe, Rancho de Taos Church, 1934

It was beautiful and a pleasure to photograph - in fact I could have spent the day just watching, photographing and waiting for the light to change. As you can imagine many images were taken - a select few are below.

Outside the church their were a number of souvenir shops selling religious artifacts, jewelry, art and other souvenirs. It will come as a surprise but we all avoided a single purchase.

We spent the rest of the day exploring the town - what a great day!