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Aaaahhh, nothing like a few days in the mountains to boost the spirit, clear the mind, and cleanse the soul. No politics, no stock market, no economic doom and gloom, no work, no worries. My perspective always changes when I’m outside, enjoying life, and doing something physical. Throw in some fresh powder, expansive views, lasting friendships, a little dark chocolate, and a glass of good red wine at the end of the day and nothing else matters.

Life is good.

I’ll get back to nutrition, food, and recipes in a few days, but for now, here’s a short photo essay of my trip to Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico, Land of Enchantment and my old stomping grounds. Soul nourishment at its finest.


Not fifteen minutes ago when I started on this post, my intention was to simply pick out some photos and let them do the talking. I should have known better. Blah, blah, blah — I’m never at a loss for words.

When the snow’s good (which it was), there are lots of opportunities at Taos for hiking up to some great ridge skiing. Oster, Fabian, Stauffenberg, and Treskow are runs immortalizing members of the German Nazi resistance during WWII. Ernie Blake founded Taos Ski Valley in 1955 after leaving Nazi Germany in 1938. He chose to name four of the ski area’s most challenging runs in honor of these German heroes. It’s a fascinating story — read here for a more detailed version.


This is me and my favorite French chef, Claude, standing outside the Hotel St. Bernard. I used to work with him years ago at the St. Bernard, which, along with owner Jean Mayer, happens to be the heart and soul of Taos Ski Valley. Claude and I are God parents to one of Jean’s sons. As I said, nothing like lifelong friends to lift your spirits and enrich your life.


Taos Ski Patrol avalanche dogs extraordinaire — Tigger, Riley, and Hattie — off duty, chasing sticks, and having fun. Life is good for them, too.


Go forth and renew your spirit!

22 Responses to “soul nourishment”

  1. Cid says:


    Breath taking photos, they really are and of course I was taken by the three lovely labradors all geared up for their work. I might also add what a super shot of you and Claude…. I couldn’t agree more with your thoughts on life long friendship, it’s priceless and essential.

    Excellent stuff Melissa, I feel better already!


  2. Melissa says:


    Thank you and I couldn’t agree more about the dogs. One chocolate, one black, and one tan. They’re award winning avalanche dogs — at the top of their game.

    Claude is a sweetheart of a chef, with sparkly blue eyes. Very French, very charming.

    As for friendships, I agree with you on that as well — they are the essence of joy. And you know Cid, we are destined to be friends as well (Elsie, too). Actually, the whole gang over there, but I do have an affinity to you ladies. Nothing like a good bunch of girlfriends!

    P.S. I finally responded to your request to borrow my Miss Eggplant crown.


  3. Miles says:

    That’s great, really good photographs. Obviously you’re snowfall can’t match England’s three centimeters which brought the country to its knees!
    I watched a stunning BBC programme last week on Yellowstone National Park, just stunning.
    Watch out for those French chefs, I employ six of them at the moment, they’re a nightmare with the women!


  4. greedydave says:

    Wow your trip looks idyllic. It is so good to meet up again with old friends. I’ll be doing the same next month when a friend I’ve known for &$%!@ years flies over from Massachusetts.

    Also, being a relatively new reader I had no idea you were such an action girl. (you’ll have to add that to your ‘Miss Eggplant’ moniker) The hiking and skiing sounds fantastic. I tried skiing for the first time a couple of years ago and found it immense fun. I’d like to add also that by the end of the week I was pretty darn sexy at it too! 🙂

    Thanks so much for sharing your trip with us, Melissa. Like Cid says, this is pure ‘feeling better’ material and my soul is nourished just looking at your pics.


  5. Melissa says:


    Yes, Yellowstone is beautiful, as are all of our National Parks. Your landscape is enchanting as well — the photos you have on display right now are wonderful. I love all the regional variations, that’s why it’s so fun to travel and explore!

  6. Melissa says:


    Your comments are always worthy of a smile.

    Yes, Miss Eggplant meets Action Girl could be a good description.


    By the way, we’re waiting for your river shots over on Miles’ channel (as Cid has cleverly termed it).

  7. Cid says:


    I don’t know him but I already like the sound of Claude. Sparkly eyes, charm and cooking, surely these are three essential attributes for any man? Why they don’t all learn to cook I’ll never know 🙂


  8. Melissa says:

    You’re a smart girl, Cid — as he’s a sweetheart, a fine chef, knows his wine, and is single.


  9. greedydave says:

    Young, single male WLTM girl who enjoys food, cinema and country walks. GSOH essential…

    … oh sorry, I’m on the wrong website!! 🙂 🙂


    PS. River pics are sitting on Miles’s inbox.

  10. I love the photos, Melissa–they are spectacular! I can only imagine actually being there. So glad you had that time to do what you love and be with people you love. Warmth and vitality comes through from both of you in that pic. 🙂

    I chuckled when I read your comment about never being at a loss for words. As you know, I am not a woman of few words either. I enjoy other bloggers’ Wordless Wednesday photos, but can’t see myself going there. LOL

    Thanks so much for sharing!

  11. Melissa says:

    GDave — hey, this is the nutrition network, not Plus, I have no idea what ATIM.

    Looking forward to your river pics. You need to get that blog of yours up and running!


  12. Melissa says:


    Well, guess what? I’m back down here in Taos, NM. I came home for a couple of days and turned around and drove back down. I’ll get back to my food photos soon!

    Wordless Wednesday? I didn’t know about that. Hmmm? Nope, I don’t think I could do it.



  13. Cheryl says:

    what beautiful pictures. I especially love the doggie crew. Mountains are so good for the soul!

  14. Melissa says:

    Hi Cheryl — thanks, I appreciate your comments and I totally agree about the doggie crew. Great dogs, whether in work mode or play mode!

  15. Elsie Nean says:

    My goodness, I thought I had commented on your lovely blog but it clearly did not show. I have server bother at certain times during the evening 🙁
    Anyway, Ms Nutrician Eggplant, you have nourished my soul too with your superb photos. That was some weekend, you lucky AG.
    As to Claude, I shall race Cid :). Mind you, looking at you, I would have no chance :(.

  16. Cid says:


    Looking at Elsie’s comment reminded me that I recently saw a vintage Japanese haori jacket with an eggplant design…. just the thing don’t you think? 🙂


  17. Melissa says:


    Thank you for your nice sentiments. I think you and Cid may have to dash down the ski slopes after Claude. He’s an excellent skier and cuts quite the figure racing down the mountain in his black and white checked chef pants (he’s a bit of an eccentric as well). The hotel is right on the mountain next to the ski lift and he dashes in and out of the kitchen for a few runs here and there.

    In fact, it seems to me I recall Grand Marnier sponsoring a series of Chef Ski Races in which Claude did quite well. I’ll have to check my sources on that as my memory is a bit foggy.

    But yes, he’s a doll.

    P.S. And Elsie, as for the picture, I chose a photo in which you couldn’t see all that much of me.


  18. Melissa says:


    There you go again, throwing out words that I have to look up.

    A vintage Japanese haori? Sounds like something you’d look lovely in, especially if you and Elsie take up skiing. It would make for an elegant ensemble as you chased Chef Claude down the ski hill.


  19. Cid says:


    After a shot of Grand Marnier Elsie would be off in hot pursuit of chef Claude, and frankly I don’t think his chances of escape look good 🙂 It’s no use me joining in, the sleeves on my haori would flap about and I’d end up on the wrong slope 🙂


  20. Melissa says:


    My vision of this scenario is getting more and more colorful and more and more outlandish. I think I better create a new post today to put a stop to our spiraling imaginations.

    Until next time, anyway.


    Sweet potato pie cookies are in the works.

    Stay tuned.

  21. Elsie Nean says:

    Just to stop you worrying. I was 14 when I last stood on skis in the Black Forest. As there is not a hill in sight here, I had to abandon the sport.
    So I think Claude may be safe for now unless I accidently shoot down a hill (as I did in the B. Forest), could not stop for going so fast and shouted: get out the way :).
    See you on your next post!

  22. Melissa says:

    Elsie and Cid (and the rest of this colorful cast of characters),

    Thank you — you brighten my days!

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