Views and experiences are breathtaking

Week one is finally under our belts and what a difference the state of New Mexico is compared to Vermont!  We are stationed in Santa Fe and everything from the landscape to the architecture is unlike anything back home.   

All of the buildings are made out of adobe bricks or made to look like the adobe material.  Luckily enough we were able to make our own adobe bricks that would be used for a bell tower in a church. Real adobe bricks are made from sand, clay, water and straw.  When these materials are all mixed together, they form a substance that when dried in the 10-by-14-inch template, creates a sturdy brick that can withstand all weather conditions.  I thought it was so cool that our group was helping out construct a building! 

Later that night, we got to experience Zozobra, a festival to release all your built up tension and problems that are left from the past year. This was my first experience at a festival like this. You could feel the crowd’s energy right when you walked in. Music was playing and tens of thousands of people were surrounding the stage in front of this giant puppet looking creature.  When finally it was time to burn Zozobra, it was time for the people of New Mexico to start over. Everywhere I looked in the crowd, people were raising their hands toward the now orange, fiery beast and letting go of any negativity.  

To me it was exactly what a community should be like, supporting each other and celebrating new beginnings.  Zozobra was truly an experience of a lifetime and I was able to learn more about the culture of New Mexico than I thought I would have. 

It was then time to head to Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, N.M., one of the most beautiful places I have ever encountered in my life.  Beautiful mountains filled the clear, blue sky everywhere I looked.  There were large mesas in every direction, whose colors ranged from deep reds to tannish oranges. It’s nothing like Vermont, not nearly as much green.  

We had the opportunity to hike up Kitchen Mesa, a 3.5-mile hike to the top with an elevation of 7,100 feet.  When we finally made it, the view was breathtaking. You could see for miles and everything looked so small.  

It will be a view I can never forget.   

We only have a couple more days here at Ghost Ranch until we head back to Santa Fe and continue on this adventure.  But I am sure that this is only the first incredible place we will visit on this trip. 

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