Easter Weekend Adventures

My mom and sister flew in from Minneapolis and New Orleans to visit me for Easter Weekend.  I was so excited for them to come see my city for the first time.  I think that hosting guests and showing them the highlights of Santa Fe makes it feel more like home to me.  We had a busy few days and I think they were able to get a good taste of this amazing city!

Mom and Katie were both eager to experience Santa Fe hiking that I talk so much about.  Our first hike was Atalaya.  I chose this hike because it would be challenging but not too long and would provide spectacular views of the city.  It was hotter than we thought it would be that day – we didn’t even need jackets or shoe chains – and the hike was more difficult than I remembered, but we made it to the top and felt very accomplished as we picnicked at the peak.

 View from the Atalaya summit

Our second hike was Borrego/Bear Wallows.  We were looking for a less challenging hike that would allow my sister to do some trail running since she’s training for another half marathon, and I think this hike was a good choice.  We were surrounded by beautiful, woodsy scenery in contrast to the dry and desert-like nature of Atalaya.  There was still some snow on the ground, but the creek was much wider due to snow melting.  Kua learned how to walk across a log to cross the stream.  I was so proud of her!

 Katie trail running on Borrego/Bear Wallows, with Kua following

We also ventured down to the Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque, an item on my New Mexico bucket list.  It was difficult to find the petroglyphs – I think we only detected about 10% of the 500-600 that were supposedly visible – but I was fascinated by the fact that the symbols were from different time periods and created by different groups of people.  It made me wonder whether the people who created these symbols foresaw that people would be studying them centuries later.

 Petroglyph National Monument

In addition to hiking, our weekend consisted of exploring the plaza and purchasing turquoise jewelry from local artists, celebrating the Easter Vigil at the historic Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis, and sampling local cuisine at a few favorite Santa Fe restaurants (Vinaigrette, Marble, Second Street, The Shed) as well as discovering a hidden gem – the San Marcos Café.  The food was fabulous, and they have peacocks!  (Not to eat.)

 The San Marcos Cafe outside of Santa Fe

We also spent some time in Albuquerque, where we walked around the Rio Grande bosque, explored Old Town Albuquerque, and visited the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center.

Last but not least, one of the highlights of the weekend… a hot air balloon ride!  It took three tries to find a day that wasn’t too windy to go up in the balloon, but were we finally able to partake in this long-awaited adventure on the final day that my mom was here.  It was well worth the wait.

 Inflating the balloon

 Our sister balloon getting ready to take off

The balloon took off from an open field on the west side of Albuquerque and traveled over the Rio Grande and nearby neighborhoods.  I was surprised how close to the ground we stayed and I was mesmerized by being able to see every details of the houses, rooftops, and patios; each home looked like a little doll house from an aerial view.  We could even hear dogs bark and see drivers in the cars speeding along I-40 during rush hour.  The balloon ride was more relaxing than thrilling and the hour went by fast.  We traveled south and landed on a golf course.

 Sunrise over the Sandia mountains and the Rio Grande

 Getting ready to land on the golf course

I wish Mom and Katie had been able to stay a few more days, but it was an exciting weekend and they were able to experience some highlights of Santa Fe.  I look forward more family members and friends coming to visit this year!


  1. Santa Fe was amazing! I felt like I stepped back in time to the days of horses and cowboys. Seeing the local artists with their jewelry and pottery was really neat. It was fun to purchase an ornament that symbolized New Mexico's Centennial in 2012. The hiking, the meals, dyeing Easter Eggs, and drinking "bottled water" at the pool were very memorable. Thanks for the hospitality!


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