14. Land of Enchantment
First days in New Mexico

First days in New Mexico

Hidden House is snugged up high among the ponderosa pines- one of a handful of homes scattered around the hills in the Jemez Mountains forty minutes west of Los Alamos. Our neighborhood is called “La Cueva” (the cave; not sure why but I will find out and report back). Our street, a red sandy road, leads to a lightly-traveled two-lane highway; at the corner a fishing shop where we sometimes sit and get wi-fi. The owners, La Cueva locals Jim and Nancy, park their shiny, cherry red ’68 Camaro out front and sell maps, fishing gear, guns and ammo, snacks and coffee to the weekend tourists.


Hidden House!


There are miles and miles of trails and forest roads to explore, countless camp spots to discover, and fifteen minutes down the road, a wonderfully accessible climbing area (easy button with Hugo is key). Natural hot springs are another sweet little feature of the area.

Tom and Melisa came out to visit and we had such a wonderful time together. We missed these two so much while we were in Maine!! I can’t describe how wonderful it is to have these guys back in our lives again.



I was eight months pregnant when Stephane and I last climbed. Feels so good to be back at it again! Las Conchas was the perfect place to get back on the rock – there is a great mix of hard and easy climbs with zero approach (approach meaning the hike in to access the climbs).
Back in action together! Love it!!


Easy does it.


My very first lead! Melisa talked me into it, and I’m glad she did 😉


Stephane leading a “ridiculously sandbagged 5.9+++++++”, as Tom says it. (Sandbagged means the climb is actually much harder than what the rating would have you expect).


Clipping the anchors. Like he’s never taken a break from climbing – no problemo!


Hugo testing out some holds on the rock.
Hugo did great at the crag! For the most part he enjoyed rolling around in his Pea Pod (baby tent) while we got in a few laps on the rock.


Stephane gives Melisa a boost at the start of a really tough route.
Testing out The Chariot – a fabulous gift from Pat & Kim. The Chariot gives us freedom to mountain bike together as a family! The first time out didn’t go quite so well – the trail we picked was a bit bumpy and Hugo was in the red as far as daily napping quota. We’ll be trying it again soon on a more mellow surface.


A sweet trail in a picturesque valley along a tiny, meandering creek.



Day two (or three?) of climbing. Hugo loves his Osprey backpack (and so do we). Such a great way to carry the little guy into the outdoors on extended hikes. Lesson learned: cut the diaper bag from the inventory for hikes.


Afternoon nap in the pack.
Tom climbing “carefully” – pushing the limits of the LEG to see what it can do post-surgery.
Cheers! Hydrating with a Moscow Mule at the local watering hole, Los Ojos. The mint makes it.
Stephane passes by herds of elk on his daily commute into Los Alamos.


Mom and dad make the epic road trip from Detroit to New Mexico with our second car + trailer and Myra. Thank mom and dad for operating outside of the box and your comfort zones and making this happen!!


Caught in a hail storm on the hike up to San Antonio hot springs.


Our little nature boy, all smiles.


Ahhhhhh, the hot springs. A steamy soak in the hot water felt great after the cold hail storm on the hike up. (Dad photobombing in the back).


Hugo loves soaking in the hot springs, especially with daddy 🙂


Sunset elk herd at the Valles Caldera.
Breaking out the tricycle a little too soon but fun to play around with the Little Cricket.


Our first few days in New Mexico have been filled with adventure, exploration, and learning how to maneuver in the outdoors with Hugo in tow. I think we are really going to love it here! Come visit!!

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