Last week, shortly after we returned from a brief trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico, we drove to our favorite beach access in Tolovana Park to walk along the strand. The walk wasn’t planned. I was carrying my handbag, something I ordinarily don’t like to do on a beach walk. The original idea was to grab a coffee at Sea Level and maybe hit Fresh Foods before going home to laundry and tidying up the garden. It’s shocking how you can be gone just a few days and come home to a ton of weeds. Perhaps it was the wish to postpone weeding and laundry folding that prompted my suggestion we walk to Haystack Rock.
It had been hot in Santa Fe. They were experiencing a heat wave. While I anticipated it to be warm, I thought we might be able do a bit more exploring on foot beyond the historic plaza, but it was too hot to walk. In the morning we hoofed it a few blocks to Iconik Coffee Roasters on Galisteo Street (they have two other locations, one on Guadalupe and another on Lena Street) before wandering in and out of shops. In the afternoons we made our way to La Casa Sena for a Marble Brewery beer (that’s an Albuquerque brewer) and split a BLTA sandwich — red chile honey bacon, green leaf lettuce, tomato, avocado and chile aioli on a toasted buttermilk sourdough bun. Then it was back to the hotel pool to chill out until dinner. One afternoon we hit Ten Thousand Waves, a beautiful and serene Japanese spa, where we lounged in our private hot tub replete with sauna and plunge pool, but my original intention to hike a bit or ride a horse was out of the question given the 90-degree temps.
It was cool in Cannon Beach, cool enough for a jacket. The shoreline was enveloped in thick fog. Walking north, towards Haystack Rock, we passed a few people; some rode balloon tire bikes; some pushed their old or tiny dogs in canine strollers; a 70-something couple were holding hands. I could not help but notice I was the only person barefoot. (I carried my Minnetonka moccasins in my hand.) I’m a person who likes to feel the sand on her soles and between her toes. To me, that’s what the beach is for.
The Rock was surprisingly unpeopled. Perhaps it was the early hour. I posted a picture on Facebook and a Gearhart friend asked if it was Photoshopped. It was not. We stood beside it for a few minutes, thinking our private thoughts. The roar of the surf discouraged conversation. Turning back toward Tolovana Park, the fog was so thick you couldn’t see five feet in front of you. I liked that.
I enjoyed Santa Fe and really appreciated the food seeing how the North Coast is a little short on New Mexican. At a divine little place in Santa Fe on Hickox Street, Mr. Sax had a flat iron steak with grilled green chiles, pico de gallo, guacamole and fresh whole pintos. I had a soft shell crab sandwich minus the bun with a salad of mixed greens, roasted beets, peaches, and chevre. In a perfect world, I could dine in Santa Fe, followed up by a dusk stroll on Cannon Beach, splashing my feet in sea water as chilly as that spa’s plunge pool.