It is important to travel – at a young age and throughout our lives. Travel can be local or can be distant, as long as the journey helps take us away from our daily patterns. Our family recently went to New Mexico (I have written about this locale before). From there, we drove to Breckenridge, Colorado for a few days. It is fascinating how a new region can inspire us to observe in a different way.
Albuquerque – a quiet back yard
This is a familiar place for us, as my sister and family have lived here for years and we have visited often. This time, I was struck by the back yard spaces. They work for reading a book in the early morning, eating with the family or getting together with friends. The arid climate creates very different challenges and opportunities from that of our Northeastern climate. Shade is so much more important year-round. Plant materials that don’t require much water mean the default is not grass. The color palette of materials, both living and created, is much more muted.
Santa Fe – color and art
We have visited Santa Fe before as well, so this time took the opportunity to explore the art district of Canyon Road up into the mountains, to see local (and some international) works displayed in this setting of one-story adobe buildings adorned with brightly colored details and exuberant flowers.
The road trip between different ecosystems
This six-hour road trip going straight north from Albuquerque allowed us to experience the change in scenery between the high desert climate of that part of New Mexico (altitude 5,000 feet) to the high alpine climate of Breckenridge, (altitude 10,000 feet) – from the desert to forested mountains.
Breckenridge – Main Street, residential streets, place-making
Breckenridge was founded in 1859 soon after gold was discovered in nearby Blue River. Mining was the main industry until World War II. In the 1960s, the first mountain peak opened to skiing, giving the town new life and tourism. In 1993, the Riverwalk Center opened, creating a pedestrian cross street in the middle of town. Only in the early 2000s did golf and organized mountain summer activities create a year-round tourist draw for the town.
The area around Breckenridge has long been a haven for nature enthusiasts. Our daily walking or biking, in town and on the trails, created new routines and a much-needed break from our homebound life of the last year.
So, how did this trip inspire analytical thinking? Observation foremost, finding and contrasting the differences, thinking about ecosystems, landscapes, buildings, towns and how we interact with these.