LocumVentures: Atalaya Mountain Trail and Bandelier National Monument (Santa Fe, NM)

Soooo technically I went back on a separate trip away from my actual locum assignment to visit Santa Fe and that’s when I did these adventures; but, I intended to do them when I was working there back in March/April 2022. So, still counts, right?! Definitely two of the many things you MUST do if you go to Santa Fe.

Atalaya Mountain Trail

One of the more challenging hikes i’ve ever done because my lungs weren’t acclimated to the elevation in Santa Fe when I did it, Atalaya Mountain Trail is a 6.2 mile out-and-back hike with an elevation climb of ~1800 feet. It took a little under 4 hours, so my only regret was not bringing enough food or water. The views from the top are absolutely stunning and much to my chagrin… I’m glad that i was forced to climb it with a new Santa Fe friend.

Bandelier National Monument

Definitely a must do, Bandelier National Monument in Los Alamos has some of the most amazing historic cliff dwellings I have ever seen. Spanning >33,000 acres, there are reportedly something like 70 miles of hiking, but even the simple hiker can visit the small ~ 2 mile round trip to see the main set of cave dwellings and an amazing spot called the Alcove House (an ancestral Pueblo site) located 140ft up in the mountain and reached by a series of ladders. It’s not for the faint of heart if you have problems with heights though, apparently someone fell off and died once and even when I visited there was a woman that had to turn around at the first ladder. It’s about ~1-1.5 hours from Santa Fe and amazingly worth the drive on a brisk sunny day.


  1. I realize being a gunner in my early 20s isn’t what I really want to aspire to do. I want to travel and see the world and I’m amazing by your blog. I’m considering GAS, Internal Med, and Family Med. Which one would be the best to do Locum and manage your own hours while aggressiving seeking financial independence.


    • Haha at the end of the day, you should choose what you love to do and not make a goal for money otherwise you’ll be unhappy. I love my job and even though I work 20 days a month it doesn’t feel like work. I would suggest you figure out what you love first and do that. Once you do, you can figure out the rest later. Don’t lose sight of why you wanted to be a doctor just to try to get out of the rat race. That being said it comes down to hospital economics, which specialty gets the biggest reimbursements for the hospital but has a gap to fill in certain areas and sometimes shear luck. There will always be more adult patients than kids and always more general surgeries so thinking along those lines, I feel the market for internal medicine has always had the continued largest need.


  2. What an interesting place. I haven’t seen picture of this place like this. definitely on my list now. I hope you are not hiking into back country places unprepared and alone. It is dangerous be safe.


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