Saturday, November 28, 2015

Living History - Homes of Los Cinco Pintores

Irregular doorway at the Shuster House
If like me, your running or cycling takes you on the occasional rip down Canyon Rd or ascent of Camino Monte Sol, these waypoints pass right through much of Santa Fe's modern history. The roads are intimate and trail-like, the lighting is good, and there are several miles of fine art and architectural design for review and reflection. Along Camino Monte Sol itself, there are the literal homes of some of the artists that brought modernism to Santa Fe and established our capitol as a serious creative hub, and for a time this year nearly all of the original homes of Los Cinco Pintores were on the market in tandem.

The five pintores were Jozef Bakos, Fremont Ellis, Walter Mruk, Willard Nash, and Will Shuster, and four of the five were young and unencumbered enough when new to town that they set about building their own homes from adobe brick, right alongside one another on what would become Camino Monte Sol. None were trained in carpentry or architecture and as the stories go, the 'mud huts' they put up were not easily confused with works of fine art. One story has it that one of the men left his wall-in-progress to lend a hand in the construction of his buddy's wall across the way. He returned to find his own shoddy wall collapsed upon the ground and set about re-building it. Mruk didn't bother with this foolishness and instead bought Frank Applegate's original place nearby (Applegate being an artist and trained architect). Shuster's home is the easiest of the four to spot because it's adorned with his signature and a Zozobra painted mailbox. Mruk/Applegate's is the most impressive. All homes have been heavily refurbished, added to, and upgraded since their dubious foundations were first laid down. Charles Poling collected a nice summary of the Pintores homes, originally published in New Mexico Magazine.

Applegate/Mruk House
Applegate eventually sold to Mruk then bought and refurbished the Francisco de la Pena house down the way on El Caminito. The Thursday night run with the local (Striders) running group zips right by this hidden piece of history before climbing Camino Rancheros. De la Pena was a retired Mexican army sergeant who fought at the Battle of the Alamo then relocated to Santa Fe in the mid 1800's. The most recent owner of this amazing compound was gallery owner Gerald Peters. The Applegate/De la Pena house is also on the market and may be the most magnificent property I've ever visited in Santa Fe (via Showhouse SF this Oct).

Applegate - De la Pena Compound c. 1930s
Gustave Baumann, a personal favorite of mine, built his non-descript place just off of Old Santa Fe Trail around the same time as the others. His place, which was also recently on the market, has a distinctive GB inscribed keystone above the threshold along with several other decorative additions from the artist.(L, Baumann woodblock holiday card, R, Baumann House etching by Tom Miller)

Note:  I recently received an email from artist Tom Miller asking that I include a credit with his work (Baumann home etching, above). Miller - 'I did it (the etching) when I was living in Santa Fe for two years, in 2015/2016. It was completed at Argos studio in Santa Fe, a wonderful studio and gallery up by Dulce and Body. It's worth a visit'. 

I generally make it a point to include credits when possible with re-published images. Often I pull from Google Images which provides no source. Support our artists, credit their work, invest in their efforts.
Fremont Ellis House 586 Camino del Monte Sol (c. 1922)
Jozef Bakos House 576 Camino del Monte Sol, (c. 1923)
Willard Nash House 566-568 Camino del Monte Sol, (c. 1922-23(?), also known as the Goodacre House) Walter Mruk House 558 Camino del Monte Sol, (c. 1921, original Applegate home)
Will Shuster House 550 Camino del Monte Sol, (c. 1922-23(?))

Gustave Baumann House 409 Camino de las Animas (c. 1923)
Applegate Compound 831 El Caminito (c. 1700's; also known as the Francisco de la Pena Estate)

Related Posts:
 - Street Art and the Painted Desert Project
 - Shepard Fairey's Newest Artwork
 - Not Seen on Treadmills - Scholder's Orange Dog
 - Art Filled Sky

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Ski Season Gets an Early Start - Santa Fe, NM

Quad Chair and Tesuque Peak with a 40' base of early season snow
Most New Mexico ski areas will open for Thanksgiving thanks to last week's giant storm. I got up to check conditions last Saturday and found them to be rather good. Good not just for mid-November but for mid-season. I'd found a sweet deal on climbing skins to use with an old pair of tele-mark skis I've had stored in the garage, and I got it all working and stomped my way up Open Slope to try them out. Worked like a charm though descending (as always) was a bit more trying. Though the snow coverage was great the ski trails were un-groomed (packed but chunky) and I flailed all the way down. Very enjoyable flailing though, and I was happy to see how easy it is to skin up a trail. In past years I've used my beefy nordic skis to track up the catwalks then tele-mark down. Climbing time with skins was nearly identical, ~25min from the base to the top-of-the-quad. A helmet is recommended for either option. Free-heeled skis can result in some fairly violent and uncontrolled crashes.

Conditions at NORSKI were hard to beat
There was a fair number of folks like myself climbing to ski. As I was heading down the mountain around 830ish, I saw what looked like dozens more skiers on their way up. People are excited.

I brought along my nordic setup just in case I'd failed sizing my skins or some other overlooked gear problem, and ended up skiing a loop at NORSKI where the snow was fantastic. I found three downed trees that have since been removed by the More-ski NORSKI organization. Had never heard of these guys but sounds like they're on top of things up there.

Hoping for a bit more snow to come along and really establish a lasting base of snowpack. Sounds like the northern areas may get a bit this weekend so we'll see if any of it carries south to our end of the Sangres.

Related Posts:
 - Santa Fe's New Ski Shuttle
 - Cross Country Skiing NORSKI trail
 - Santa Fe's First Snow of the Season - 2015
 - Ski Touring Deception Peak

View Norski Trail - Santa Fe, NM in a larger map

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Santa Fe's New Ski Shuttle - 2015

courtesy of The Santa Fe Reporter
Although the season's first snow arrived in the mountains three weeks back, this year's much hyped El-Nino-fueled ski season is only now at our doorstep. Can't say I was the only one roaming REI this weekend looking to upgrade gear and compare lift pass deals.

Right, so this winter also marks the rollout of the city's first mountain ski shuttle. Often discussed through the years, never seriously planned or proposed due to the problem of funding. In a continuing effort to promote Santa Fe as more of an outdoor destination the funding problem has been overcome via a patchwork of dollars sourced from the city, county, RTD, and Ski Santa Fe itself. Planners are expecting 11,000 trips during the winter season and hoping demand for the shuttle can support it's viablity for future seasons.

So I ask myself, would I use the shuttle? I think so particularly if I wanted to ski a few more runs and Mrs. Dirt wanted to head home early. I could also see myself riding up with the nino who could appreciate the whole thing as an adventure. As a kid of the '80s we would have loved this shuttle. Many of us would be dropped off by our parents on lower Artist Rd on weekends where we'd hitch to the top. At the end of the day we'd often ski Big Tesuque down to the campground, throw snowballs at the fleets of Baptist Church group vans, then hitch down to Ft. Marcy where we'd lineup and call our parents on the pay phone. My guess is that this shuttle will be used heavily by those who can't drive (kids) and those visiting from out of town. I'm optimistic it will work.

The Mountain Trail Shuttle, as it is officially named, has planned stops in town and all along Hyde Park road including most trailheads (w/ the exception of Borrego and NORSKI), and including Ten Thousand Waves. The RTD website shows there's an app to track shuttle location, here, however I'm seeing that the 255 Mountain Shuttle hasn't yet been added (as of Nov 17) and I have no idea how well this might work. The ride schedule shows three planned weekday trips, and seven on weekends. Best parking options are Fort Marcy at Murales Rd (next to the Zozobra kick-stand), and Dale Ball at Sierra del Norte. Bikes won't be accommodated for the time being which people are griping about, but I mean it's winter - there's a lot of snow about, so if that's your thing than Winsor MTB ascents will remain part of the deal.

Cost looks to be $5 per trip (each way), with corresponding discounts provided by both Ski Santa Fe and Ten Thousand Waves. Meaning that lift passes for shuttle riders will be discounted $5 at the top with proof of ridership, and stops at the Waves on the way down appear to have the same benefit. Apres ski for the win (I'm looking at you Izanami).

Mountain Trail Shuttle stops_.pdf
Schedule and pickup map
Mountain Trail Shuttle Details
Shuttle Tracker app

Update (6.30.16):
Winter ridership in the mountain shuttle's pilot program totaled approx. 5,000. Considered 'very successful' per the SFCounty Economic Development Director. Funding and operation of the shuttle will continue in the 16-17 winter season, and bike racks will be installed for the summer season July 1 - Aug 31. SFNewMexican Article (6.30.16)

Related Posts:
 - Santa Fe's First Snow - 2015
 - Trading the Downhill Skis for Nordic
 - French Alps Freeskiing - Candide Thovex

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Santa Fe's First Snow of the Season - 2015

First snow with the last of the Fall's aspens, Oct 21, 2015, courtesy Clyde Mueller for the SF New Mexican
A bit late with this but we've tracked the mountains' first snow fall each year back to 2010 so we're not going to let an out of state wedding and Halloween holiday break our streak. Snow fell in the high-country on Wed. and Thr. of our last big storm (Oct 21, 22). As much as 9" was reported by folks that made it up to play. More snow followed with accumulation last Friday (Oct 30). I happened to witness the year's first snow while driving through Flagstaff, AZ. Snow on Humphries towering north of town.

The timing this year lined up well with last weekend's Ski swap. As can be seen from the previous 1st-Snow dates below we're right about at the median date this year. Folks at every party and get together I've been at the last few weeks are all talking snow and skiing. There's a good snow vibe out there and hopefully it will carry through in the weeks preceding the Holidays.

Related Posts:
 - Santa Fe's First Snow 2014 - Oct. 21st
 SFe's First Snow 2013 - Oct. 12th
 - SFe's First Snow 2012 - Nov. 16th
 - SFe's First Snow 2011 - Sep. 10th
 - SFe's First Snow 2010 - Nov. 10th


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