So on July 28th of 2018, I successfully made it to the ripe old age of 30. I have to say, I wasn't always sure I'd make it, and I am frankly very happy to be here in one piece. To celebrate this historic feat, I convinced my family to join me in my favorite place on earth, the mountain town of Taos, New Mexico. Even though I was bumping up against my third decade of life, I felt like a little kid again being on a family vacation. It was an amazing experience, and I can truly say I am excited for this new chapter of life to unfold. Here are a few highlights from our trip:
The biggest highlight of the trip was probably spending my 30th birthday at the highest point in New Mexico, Wheeler Peak. Located in the Taos Ski Valley, this epic hike consisted of a round-trip distance of about 8 miles, and a climb of about 3,000 feet to max elevation of 13,167 feet. The trail first meanders through a forest of ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, and blue spruce trees before opening up to the beautiful alpine William's Lake. From there, it is a grueling push above the tree line before reaching the breathtaking summit. It was a great challenge, but we were happy to reach the car at the end of the day!
Fly Fishing the Rio Costilla:
Really feeling at home with our new outdoorsy vibe, my brother, sister, and I decided to step it up a notch by wetting a few lines on the Costilla Creek of northern New Mexico. This tributary of the Rio Grande originates in the mountains of southern Colorado before being impounded on the Vermejo Park Ranch in New Mexico. From there, the release is controlled in order to maximize its potential as both a trout stream and water source for the Rio Costilla Cooperative Livestock Association (RCCLA). With the help of some expert guides hired from the Taos Fly Shop, we landed some beautiful Rocky Mountain Cutthroats and Rainbows and had an all around amazing day!
Also incredible was our visit to the historic Taos Pueblo, home of the Taos Pueblo Indians. This adobe testament to time is commonly held to be the longest continually inhabited structure in North America, with its origins dating back a thousand years. A tour of this majestic place gives you an appreciation for Pueblo culture, beliefs, and social structure. It also brings you face to face with the difficult, turbulent history these people have endured alongside their new Spanish, Mexican, and American neighbors. The guides are all local college-age members of the Taos Pueblo tribe who take time away from their studies to share their culture with outsiders. They do an excellent job discussing the Pueblo's history and answering any questions. It is easy to feel time stand still when visiting this breathtaking place.
Golf at Angel Fire Resort
Feeling pretty cocky in my old age, I decided to grab my brother and test our golf game at the Angel Fire Resort. This beautiful location has everything you expect from a mountain course. At an elevation of almost 9,000 feet, the course offers golfers beautiful mountain scenery, challenging pine trees, and vast elevation shifts. While we didn't see any of the black bears we were told to watch out for, we saw some (not so nice smelling) signs of them at several holes. As usual, our game could have been better, but we couldn't have cared less. We had an amazing day at this great course!
And with that, I ushered in the 30th year of my existence with a bang. I really have to give it up to my family for not only putting up with me for so long, but for helping to make my 30th such an incredible experience. If you're looking for a destination that will reignite your sense of adventure and leave you with a greater appreciation for life, I would highly recommend you take to the mountains of northern New Mexico!