For 7 days straight, we’ve hosted 3 different sets of back-to-back visitors! Hosting people is one of my favorite things to do, but being nomadic has made it a little more challenging for most people to plan trips. Now that we’ve been “settled” in New Mexico for nearly 2 years, more and more peeps are flocking to our remote location for a getaway.
Kevin and his girlfriend were our first friends venturing from California on a road trip. We met Kevin in 2015 hiking New Zealand’s Te Araroa. We ended up hiking the trail together for about 600 miles!! Kevin actually recently published Hike The World, The Guide to the Planet’s Best Trails, and included Te Araroa.
Besides exploring the trails in our backyard, we took Kevin & Abby to Bandelier National Monument, a park dedicated to ancestral pueblo sites, complete with petroglyphs and dwellings carved into the volcanic tuff cliffs. J & I had only been here once on a backpacking trip, so it was nice to check out the day hikes and without any crowds. We hiked about 2 miles around the Main Loop Trail, as well as the Alcove House Trail. The alcove is 140 feet above the valley floor, so we climbed up and up the 4 sets of ladders to enter the “home,” gaining great appreciation for the hardships of this ancient life.
After our days out exploring, we settled in each night for games and S’mores! This is a very common theme when you come visit us at Fenton. Everyone who visits says it’s exactly like going to summer camp!! We taught Kevin & Abby Sushi Go, followed up by the game of world domination, Risk. I am so excited to publicly announce that Justin did not win either!
The next set of visitors was a couple we met while thru hiking the Appalachian Trail in 2011. This is how trail friendships work. We seriously met these guys and chatted on the trail for maybe 10 minutes (they were northbound, we were southbound, so it was in passing). Post-trail, we connected via our blogs, mostly because Clara (Country Mouse) and BJ (Shadow) have thousands of miles on us and we often pick their brains for trail beta. They also live full time in an RV (when off trail), so again, very like-minded people. Clara and BJ were “traveling through” and stayed with us at Fenton Ranch for 2 nights.
We received our first snow during their visit, but it didn’t damper our outdoor adventures. We hiked the 9 miles (round trip) to San Antonio Hot Springs. J & I have been to this popular natural hot springs a handful of times, but in different weather and seasons. I think this might have been my favorite! Not only was it hardly crowded (we’ve never had the hot springs totally to ourselves), the water was so hot and the air so cold that the steam clouded all around us. J & I brought our trekking umbrellas and they proved to be perfect accessories for protecting us from the occasional snowflakes and maintaining the perfect temperature.
And, of course, there were “apres-workout” games and S’mores. Clara & BJ may have created a new card game obsession for us: Monopoly Deal. Last year, one of our visitors introduced us to Sushi Go, which replaced the Bean Game (Bohnanza). We may now have to retire Sushi Go. All these games are about dealing, stealing and being strategic, but their main feature is how addictive they can be to keep playing because it boils down to anyone’s luck!!
Clara & I also spent some time scheming our next gathering, which will hopefully happen when we join them for a few days on the Continental Divide Trail. (Yes, of course, they are doing that trail. And as usual, we will benefit/learn from their experience).
Our last visit, with Brad, was very different. Brad, one of Justin’s high school buddies, was in Colorado doing business for the week. So we figured instead of sending him out of the way into the boonies to us, we would meet up with him at our SIL’s cabin at 10,000 feet in the mountains of Colorado for the short get-together. We kept that visit less active, more about enjoying views, catching up and checking everyone’s oxygen levels … let’s just say, not everyone can function optimally at 10,000 feet.