Final Days In Santa Fe, NM | Feb 2024 | Road Trip Reflections

My pup Valentine and I have been on an indefinite road trip, living nomadically since October 2023! If you'd like to see more posts & vlogs about our travels & adventures, please click here.


One of my favorite parts about this road trip is getting to meet Instagram artist friends who live in other states! It feels like a once in a life time opportunity to get to hang out face to face! I "met" Jane through IG and have been a fan of her work ever since!

She is a filmmaker, photographer, collage artist, creator of many things!

I love her black and white photos (many of everyday things that she has made look so different and interesting), her collages, and more. Even though the mediums might be different, there is a spirit and essence that runs through all her creations that I really gravitate towards. 

We met for lunch and as I was walking towards the restaurant, I heard, "Olivia!" Jane was right behind us and saw me with Val :) She was exactly how I imagined her to be--vibrant (like her red hair which I love!), creative (she saw how her cup of water cast a shadow and glistened in the sun and took a photo of it--I loved this!), and fun! I felt like we had a lot in common and could have talked for many more hours. There's a reason why I felt connected to her--even when it was just online--and it was so nice to experience that in person. We talked about creating art, our backgrounds, and we also talked about creating some type of in person event! So now I have a very good reason to come back to NM :) 

Thank you Jane for helping me when I was planning my trip there and for making time the time to meet! You can find her and her work in the following places:

Instagram @janerosemont | Website

We had brunch at Plaza Cafe at the Santa Fe Plaza (I got the acai bowl with fresh fruit--yum!). Below are a few snaps from that day along with a photo of Jane and one of her collages. I do hope you'll check out the links above to her work because this is such a small taste of what she does!

When I first got here, one of the things that I kept seeing were these tree trunk/branch fences EVERYWHERE. I was so curious why so many homes had them. Sometimes they looked neat and rustic but other times they looked kind of old and run down. Were these fences popular because they have an abundance of these trees? I hadn't seen them before in any other state so far! Have you seen these before?

I finally remembered to Google it and it turns out it's coyote fence! It's made from heavy steel mesh that goes a few feet underground to prevent digging and it's high enough (about 5 ft, sometimes taller) to prevent them from climbing. The fencing is made up of “latillas” or thin logs. These latillas are bound together with  wire.

Coyote fencing originated in the southwestern part of the USA. It was used by ranchers as protection from coyotes. This is most common in Santa Fe and Taos, New Mexico. and has become an important aspect of Southwestern landscape architecture.

I actually didn't realize there were so many coyotes in NM. I hadn't seen any or seen any signs about them at the places we walked. (Thankfully! I did see them in Monrovia, CA and we had them in Irvine, CA as well!) I hope it's because there is enough land here that they have more space to stay hidden and away from humans.

Although I never a coyote, I heard them loud and clear one night! It was kind of scary/creepy because I didn't know what it was at first and it was it was unexpected, in the middle of the night around 1AM maybe? They were so loud and it was a mix of howling and yips echoing in the darkness. I hadn't head anything like that before. And of course Valentine didn't seem to care at all and wanted to sit outside in the dark in the middle of the night--classic lol (our backyard was fenced and is surrounded by other backyards but still--better safe than sorry!) 

I feel bad that humans have taken over so much of their habitat and many people want and try to get rid of them. They deserve to be here too and my wish is always for wildlife, including coyotes, to be able to coexist with humans. I love the Instagram account The Daily James for showing them in a beautiful way and offering kindness and compassion (without interfering such as giving them food.) From The Daily James:

Coyotes are an important part of the ecosystem. If you have pets that go outdoors, please stay with them so everyone can do their job and live the life for which they were meant. And, if you want to do a little bit more, leave out fresh water, plant native plants and/or a pollinator garden, and even say thank you to those animals many others are persecuting. Be their oasis.

I think fences like this are great because it prevents unwanted interaction and hopefully keeps everyone safe!

Above are more scenes from around Santa Fe including the photo above, taken at golden hour. Besides it being so warm and lovely, can you spot something in this pic? There is a dog that climbed up onto the wall and was looking out onto this path! It's by the telephone pole closest to the foreground on the right hand side.I didn't hear anything when I passed by but I noticed when I was walking back that he or she was there! It freaked me out because I didn't want them to jump over and approach us, but they stayed put. Maybe they wanted to enjoy golden hour too :)


The biggest shocker for me was that it snows here! I actually thought I was getting away from the snow by coming to the Southwest lol. But I didn't realize Sante Fe has an elevation of just under 7,000 ft! It was so magical to get to see snow fall and everything covered in white! I love that Valentine got to hang out in the snow and connect with her ancestors who were originally used as sled dogs in Iceland! She has a thick double coat just like they did and really enjoys being out in the cold. I don't know for sure if she likes it but I am basing this off of her wanting to go lay down outside when it's freezing and having no reaction to the snow lol. She totally looks like she's in her element :)

I loved seeing the snow change the scenery for our walks and we even saw some icicles hanging from a little free library!

The last photos above are of footprints made by an animal walking down our driveway. There were 2 lines of footprints that had little paw prints, I'm pretty sure it's from the orange cat I saw when we first got here which makes sense. But then the third set on the very right doesn't have a print, it's just a smooth inside which is so weird! What animal made this print!?? It almost looks like the cat's tail was pressed into the snow but that doesn't make any sense. What other round thing couldn't have that indentation?? The mystery remains unsolved to this day.

Here's the orange cat who obviously has more important things to do than be bothered by me lol.


I was also so surprised by how scenic and beautiful it is here! I think I thought it would be like Arizona, flat dry desert, shades of brown. But it was so different! I also saw some beautiful sunsets, clouds after the rain and snow, and clear blue skies! Here are some of my favorite nature photos.


Here are my final impressions of Santa Fe...


  • People are so friendly and nice here
  • It's easy to stay active here with so many trails for walk, running, biking
  • It's dog friendly
  • Vegan options at restaurants have been yummy
  • I had the best horchata here
  • It snowed the perfect amount during my stay--enough to enjoy but not too much where it was difficult to drive
  • Most days there was plenty of sunshine, even if it had snowed
  • Has a laid back artsy vibe
  • Not a lot of traffic
  • I found it to be very quiet and peaceful
  • I thought the landscape/scenery/nature was really beautiful, even during winter with the bare trees. I would love to come back here in the spring when things are lush and in bloom!


  • Not that many vegan only restaurants
  • There is no 99 Ranch or HMart close by
  • It's possible to get altitude sickness!
  • Ant and bug situation was probably the most annoying thing for me
  • It might be too cold for some people (had weeks with 30-40 degree highs) but Val and I enjoyed it!
My expectations prior to arriving were completely wrong (I thought it was going to be just like AZ) and I was pleasantly surprised by so many things! Both Valentine and I enjoyed the snow so much (before this I had only seen snow fall from the sky twice) and learned we are OK living in 30-40 degree weather. I'm so glad we stayed here and really enjoyed what New Mexico has to offer! 
So far we've been to 6 states, OR, WA, ID, UT, AZ, & NM. My top 3 would WA, OR, & NM, with WA being my #1 still and where I can see Val & I  settling down most. As we continue to make our way thought the south and to the east coast, I wonder if that will change! 

Wrapping up part 2 with these words I loved that looked like they were hand stitched onto this quilt at the AirBnB: "Honoring your dreams" and a pic of all my stuff, ready to be packed up into my car! Definitely still my least favorite part but it has gotten a lot faster and smoother each time!

It always feels a little surreal leaving--like did I just spend a month here? Did everything really happen? Didn't I just arrive? It's a little bittersweet but exciting to make our way to our next destination! In this case, Texas!

Read Part 3--the start of our Texas adventure!--here:
Road Trip Reflections | NM & TX | Feb 2024 - Part 3

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