In the northern New Mexico wilderness, you'll inhale the sweet scent of pines and take in the spectacular high-desert scenery: centuries-old sandstone formations, gaping gorges, rushing rivers, magnificent sunsets, snow-topped peaks, and impossibly blue sky. Artists have long been drawn to this picturesque area, hence the galleries located around every corner. For handcrafted sculptures, pottery, jewelry, and paintings, visit the Taos Pueblo, a living Native American community dating to the 11th century.
THE ADVENTURE On a llama-trekking hike through the federally protected Wild and Scenic Rivers recreation area of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, you'll descend 800 feet to the Rio Grande River. Let your llama loose to graze while you visit freshwater springs, discover ancient petroglyphs, and bask by the river, sipping hot tea. After a gourmet lunch, reunite with your four-footed friend for the return trip (from $89 for day trips, through Wild Earth Llama Adventures, 800-758-5262).
THE SPA At Rancho de San Juan (505-753-6818, rooms from $285), a 12-room gay-owned luxury boutique inn between Santa Fe and Taos, you'll enjoy expansive views, fireplace suites, a fine collection of local art and antiques, and international award-winning cuisine. Bubbly fountains beckon you to the wisteria-shaded Hacienda Courtyard, where you can enjoy a massage or a few minutes of contemplation.
THE TREATMENT The spa comes to you with the hotel's
in-suite services. Try "the Wrangler," a deep-tissue massage with penetrating, soothing essential oils. The treatment ends with foot and hand reflexology (60 minutes for $135).
GET YOUR GAY ON In tiny Taos there aren't many bars, let alone gay ones, but Tuesday is gay men's night at the Adobe Bar at the historic pueblo-style Taos Inn (505-758-2233). This social bar is also one of the best jazz venues in northern New Mexico.