It hasn’t even been a week and I already feel like I’ve seen most of Taos and other areas of New Mexico! The scenery is just amazing! From the day I arrived in Taos, I knew that I would fall in love with it. The nature, the fresh air, clear skies, and historic sites are just phenomenal. Trying to put all the days into one blog will be a little difficult, but I will definitely try my best!
So, the first day of class was this past Friday, and my classmates and I met up with Dr. Ubelaker to collect flowering plants native to New Mexico in the garden on campus. The garden is very small, but the different species of plants that are there is impressive. I chose to study the mint family, with Lamiaceae as the scientific name. The coolest part of collecting the plant samples was placing them in a plant press so that we can create a booklet from our samples with actual outlines of the plants! Very exciting.
We spent the weekend travelling with Ubelaker’s Parasitology class to Mount Pedernal in Abiquiu, New Mexico. We hiked the 9,862-foot peak and observed the amazing view at the top. It was breath-taking. On the hike back down the mountain, we collected rocks for Dr. Ubelaker’s home. The next stop was indeed viewing his newly refurbished home about thirty minutes from campus. Again, an amazing view and an amazing interior! He came up with the design of his home all on his own, and needs a few more renovations before it’s perfect. The coolest thing about his home was the fact that he generates his own electricity with solar panels on his roof. The electric company owes him money because he doesn’t consume all that he produces. Nice!
Sunday was a trip to Santa Fe, where we visited a local flea market. I purchased beautiful stone bracelets and necklaces, as well as a pair of earrings with Native American symbols. We then went further into the city in the Plaza, where my classmate Laura and I were able to attend Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. The church is absolutely gorgeous inside and out! So many different displays of color and beautiful stained-glass windows, and high painted ceilings. Everything was perfect. Our day concluded with lunch in the park and conversation on what to expect for class the next day.
Monday was serious. I met up with my classmates in the Ft. Burgwin Library to research information on our plant families. There were so many details to keep in mind, from leaf pattern, stem shape, flower color and pattern, and the habitat of where the plants were found within New Mexico. The mint family has so many species, but luckily I only needed to focus on seven that are native to Taos.
So far, this Taos experience has been much more than what I was expecting and I can’t wait for what else I encounter!