Monday, January 11, 2016


The hotel we stayed at in Sante Fe was connected to the Loretto Chapel, noted for its "miraculous" staircase.  Legend has it that when the chapel was completed in the late 1800's, they realized they had somehow forgotten during construction to build a means to access the choir loft twenty-two feet above. The nuns prayed to St. Joseph, the patron Saint of carpenters, for nine days, until finally a man appeared looking for work. He single handedly built an elegant circular staircase with the simplest of tools, then disappeared without pay or thanks. Some believe that the man was St. Joseph himself, having come in answer to the sisters' prayers.

The helix shaped spiral staircase has two 360 degree turns and has no central support. It was built without nails or glue, only square wooden pegs.  The railing was added to the outer spiral 10 years later at the request of the nuns.

Viewing the beautiful staircase was worth the $3 admission fee, but more miraculous were the views along the Aspen Vista Trail within Santa Fe National Forest.  With 60-70 degree days and the lack of snow back home, we decided to go for a New Year's Day hike in the mountains. We walked only a small portion of the 12 mile trail, but at 10,000 feet elevation, it was a good workout, and breathtaking in every sense of the word.

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