From Córdova, Highway 76 continues to wind along the peaks, eventually reaching the little village of Truchas (Trout), founded in 1754 and still not much more than a long row of buildings set into the ridgeline and facing the expansive valley below.
On the corner where the highway makes a hard left to Taos is the village morada, the meeting place of the local Penitente brotherhood; head straight down the smaller road to reach the old Nuestra Señora del Rosario de Truchas Church, tucked into a small plaza off to the right of the main street. It’s open to visitors June–August only—if you do have a chance to look inside the dim, thick-walled mission, you’ll see precious examples of local wood carving.
Though many of the more delicate ones have been moved to the Taylor Museum in Colorado Springs, those remaining display an essential New Mexican style—the sort of “primitive” thing that Bishop Lamy hated; they’re preserved today only because Truchas residents hid them in their houses during the late 19th century.
Santa Lucia, with her eyeballs in her hand, graces the altar, and a finely wrought crucifix hangs to the right, clad in a skirt because the legs have broken off.
In this part of town, you’ll also find the most established gallery, Hand Artes (505/689-2443, variable hours)—Jack Silverman’s silk-screen prints of American Indian textile patterns are particularly fine.
If you keep going down the road out of town, you’ll eventually reach the beautifully isolated Rancho Arriba Bed & Breakfast (Hwy. 76, 505/689-2374, www.ranchoarriba.com, $70 d), a farmhouse built by hand by its owner. Guests no longer have to use an outhouse, but breakfasts are still cooked on a woodstove.
© Zora O'Neill from Moon Santa Fe, Taos & Albuquerque, 2nd edition