Activity note: Hotel check-in available from 4:00 p.m.
Afternoon: Program Registration: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff, to get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule and other important information, and to confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet at the front desk when you check in. Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions you may have. Transportation for program-related activities will be via motorcoach unless specified otherwise. Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Please be aware that program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. This is a Road Scholar intergenerational program. Grandparents are responsible for their grandchildren and are expected to participate in activities with them. Please note that if grandparents are unable or unwilling to participate in any activity, their grandchildren will not be allowed to participate either. If/when separate age groups are scheduled concurrently, program staff will supervise. Children are never to be left unsupervised.
Dinner: Plated meal at a local restaurant includes a selection of entrées and non-alcoholic beverages.
Evening: Take the rest of the evening to continue getting to know your fellow participants, relax, and get a good night’s sleep for the full day ahead.
Activity note: Hiking up to 3 miles on unimproved dirt and gravel trails through slot canyons with some moderate to steep inclines at Tent Rocks; walking and climbing stairs and ladders through confined spaces in The House of Eternal Return.
Breakfast: Hotel's breakfast buffet includes Belgian waffles and hard-boiled eggs. Plus fresh fruit, bagels, pastries, juices, hot and cold cereals, toast, milk, coffee, tea and more.
Morning: We'll board our motorcoach for the trip to Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. Beginning with volcanic eruptions 6 to 7 million years ago, geological forces, weather, and erosion have created an amazing landscape. Kasha-Katuwe means "white cliffs" in the Pueblo Keresan language, while "tent rocks" describes the conical shaped stone formations. We'll have the opportunity to hike up to 3 miles through this remarkable landscape along either the relatively easy 1.3-mile "Cave Loop Trail," which winds among the rock formations, or the more difficult 3-mile round trip "Canyon Trail," which travels into a slot canyon before steeply ascending to the top of the mesa.
Lunch: Boxed lunches at Tent Rocks.
Afternoon: After lunch we'll travel to the Meow Wolf Arts Complex for an exciting only-in-Santa-Fe experience as we visit "The House of Eternal Return." Created by the Meow Wolf art collective, "The House of Eternal Return" is a multimedia, interactive art experience that has been described as “immersive storytelling.” Developed with the generous support of Santa Fe resident and "Game of Thrones" author George R.R. Martin, it was an immediate sensation after its opening in March 2016 and already has become a destination attraction for visitors from around the world. We’ll find ourselves transported into other dimensions as we walk through this combination of jungle gym, haunted house and art installation, a truly unique fusion of art and entertainment. If you've ever wanted to go through the looking-glass or walk through the wardrobe (or, in this case, a refrigerator), this is your chance, truly an attraction for "children of all ages."
Dinner: Plated meal at a popular local restaurant includes choice of entrées, coffee, tea, water; additional beverages available for purchase.
Evening: At leisure. Enjoy the pool or just relax and take in the sunset.
Activity note: Getting on/off a horse; some walking in Madrid and optional walking during free time
Breakfast: At the hotel.
Morning: We board our motorcoach and ride to the small town of Cerrillos, located along the Turquoise Trail, south of Santa Fe. This tiny village was the setting for the film "Young Guns" and several other major Hollywood productions. The area was important to early Native Americans because of the clay soil used to make pottery and the turquoise which was mined in the nearby hills. Our wonderful guides and gentles horses will lead us into these hills complete with spectacular views of the area. After our ride, we will board the motorcoach and travel to the old mining town of Madrid.
Lunch: Plated lunch at a selected restaurant featuring local cuisine.
Afternoon: We'll have some time to explore Madrid, before we return to Santa Fe for a free afternoon.
Dinner: This meal has been excluded from your program cost to allow you to sample some of the wonderful cuisine Santa Fe has to offer.
Evening: At leisure.
Activity note: Carrying luggage; getting on/off bus; getting in and out of the rafts along the river, generally Class II and III rapids; vigorous paddling required; some walking on unimproved trails; walking and standing at Taos Pueblo.
Breakfast: Hotel buffet.
Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we'll board our motorcoach and ride to our “put in” point in the Racecourse section of the Rio Grande, considered ideal for first-time rafters. There will be a safety talk before we launch; expect to encounter Class II and III rapids, depending on current conditions. (Class II: easy rapids up to 3 feet tall, generally wide channels; Class III: waves up to 4 feet and narrower passages.) In both, there will be some maneuvering, rocking and rolling with vigorous paddling required. There will be lots of splashing water, so expect to get wet. (Plan to bring a change of clothes.) We'll meet the motorcoach at the “take out” point.
Lunch: At a restaurant in Taos, enjoy a plated meal ordered from the menu plus soft drinks, coffee, tea; additional beverages available for purchase.
Afternoon: Next, we’re off to Taos Pueblo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the oldest continuously occupied Pueblos in the country (if the Pueblo is open to visitors; it can close unexpectedly for private Pueble ceremonies and events.) Known for its multi-storied adobe buildings, the old part of the Pueblo houses about 150 people. Our local Native expert leads our experience to feel the spirit and way of life that continues much as it has for centuries.
Dinner: At the hotel, enjoy a meal featuring a soup, salad, entrée, and dessert, plus coffee, tea and water.
Evening: At leisure.
Activity note: Getting on/off bus; hiking approximately 4 miles round-trip on unimproved trails at altitudes above 7,000 feet; some moderate elevation gain
Breakfast: Buffet or plated meal at the hotel; choices usually include cold cereals, oatmeal, bananas and raisins, fresh fruit, scrambled eggs, yogurt, hash browns, sausage, French toast, syrup, red and green chile, and freshly brewed coffee, hot teas, fruit juice, and toast bar.
Morning: As another special highlight, today we take a Llama Trek — a hike into the wilderness led by expert naturalists where gentle llamas carry all the gear so we can let ourselves go and take in the natural beauty at our own pace. With commentary along the way, we'll learn about many aspects of natural and human history such as the ecosystem, which plants are safe to eat, and how to survive if you get lost!
Lunch: The trek guides will prepare a delicious picnic lunch from the ingredients the llamas have carried in: fresh fruit and salad, speciality sandwiches, scrumptious desserts and beverages, all surrounded by spectacular mountain scenery.
Afternoon: At the end of our return hike we'll depart for Taos Plaza (time permitting) or return to the hotel.
Dinner: This meal has been excluded from your program cost to allow you to sample some of the wonderful cuisine Taos has to offer.
Evening: At leisure.
Activity note: Hiking up to 2 miles over unimproved, rugged trails; optional climbing several 15-foot ladders.
Breakfast: At the hotel.
Morning: After breakfast and hotel check-out, we'll embark for Chimayó via the "High Road." This scenic byway winds through the mountains, passing through centuries-old New Mexican villages. This is an area rich in traditional arts and crafts; one of which is weaving. To see some outstanding examples, we'll visit Centinela Traditional Arts in Chimayó, a textile and weaving gallery specializing in hand-woven products that use natural dyes and handspun yarns representing traditional Chimayó and Rio Grande weaving styles. We'll meet one of the owners, a seventh-generation weaver whose work has been displayed in museums across the country, including the Smithsonian. We'll also visit El Santuario de Chimayó. This shrine, a National Historic Landmark, is famous for the story of its founding and as a contemporary pilgrimage site. It receives almost 300,000 visitors per year and has been called "the most important center in the United States for Catholic pilgrimage." A small side room houses el pocito (the little well), which is the source of the "blessed earth" (tierra bendita) believed by many to possess healing powers. An adjacent Prayer Room displays many ex-votos as well as photographs, discarded crutches, and other testimonials of those purportedly healed.
Lunch: We'll have lunch at Rancho de Chimayó, a charming restaurant housed in an old hacienda. Chimayó is known for its heirloom chiles, the fruit of the Capsicum plant; most New Mexican dishes are prepared with red or green chile. (New Mexico's official state question is "Red or green?" If you'd like to try both, order "Christmas!") Our group will have a plated meal, ordering from a special menu featuring traditional New Mexican cuisine, with chips, salsa, and a non-alcoholic beverage (additional beverages available for purchase.)
Afternoon: We board our motorcoach and ride to Tsankawi, an Ancestral Puebloan village within Bandelier National Monument. These Ancestral peoples disappeared in the 1400s CE. Archaeologists and scientists still aren't certain what happened and why, but we've been left with remarkable remnants of their sophisticated civilization. We'll hike and climb ladders along a trail about 1.5 miles to see cavates (man-made caves, pronounced cave-ates), petroglyphs (images carved in stone), and the ruins of the village that was carved out of volcanic rock and built up with adobe. Low stone walls, carved drawings in the rock faces, and fragments of utilitarian objects are important artifacts left by the Ancestral Pueblo people. We'll learn about the lives of the Ancestral Puebloan people, how they cultivated fields in the open canyons below, and their descendants today who live in nearby San Ildefonso Pueblo. Although the present-day Pueblo people no longer occupy Tsankawi, the site serves an important role in their spiritual lives and provides both tangible and intangible connections with traditions passed down through generations.
Dinner: At a select restaurant.
Evening: Program closing. Prepare for departure in the morning.
Activity note: Hotel check-out by 11:00 a.m.
Breakfast: Hotel buffet. This meal concludes our program.
Morning: If you are departing from the hotel, please check out no later than 11:00 a.m. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please be in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network, where you can share memories, pictures, and comments. Best wishes for all your journeys!