Where: on vacation until our summer job begins. Current stop: New Mexico
For all you hear about sunny New Mexico, it seems that we’re here at the wrong time to enjoy the golden warmth. It’s not quite like the gray of Ohio, where you can go weeks without seeing the sun, but it also hasn’t been very bright. Today is especially gloomy, with rain predicted all day. So, here’s another long collection of photos, from the few points in the last week with some light.
Last week, anticipating a repair stop in Albuquerque, we visited Manzano Mountains State Park, just southeast of the city. The park is about 7000 feet high, and deep in a pine forest. I chose this stop not only for proximity to the shop, but also because of all the hiking in the National Forest right behind it. We woke up our first morning there and headed out to the trailhead with a packed lunch, ready for a big hike. However, just as we entered the forest boundary, we encountered a locked gate. Stymied, we returned to the state park to ask what was up. As it turns out, the forest is “closed” in the winter, and only open to foot traffic. We never got a good reason why–there wasn’t a lick of snow on the ground, so it wasn’t due to dangerous roads. But, the ranger had an alternate suggestion, to visit some petroglyphs in a canyon behind the park. It was a great outing, with no one else out, and fairly warm temperatures down in the canyon.
This was a string of heads, each one about 2 inches high, and the line ran about 5 feet along the wall. Perhaps a yearbook? :
The next day, armed with plenty of food and water, we drove back to that locked gate, and walked all the way to the trailhead. We were enjoying ourselves so much that we decided to do the hike up to the crest, to 9900 feet. The trail wove through cool cliffs and waterfalls, with great views over the snow covered valleys. We were out for about 6 hours, and didn’t seen a single other person or car!
Our repair in Albuquerque was quick, easy and cheap. If you ever need anything in that area, be sure to see Tony’s RV Repair!
Officially entering northern New Mexico, our next stop was Cochiti Lake. The campground was awesome, with loads of first come- first serve dry camping spots that overlook the lake. It was the perfect base to explore in all directions, and we generally only had a couple other people in our loop. It was quiet enough for the Adventure Cat to get out every day.
Kasha Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument was a true gem, with other worldly shapes and colors, a slot canyon, and outstanding views. I took way too many pictures there, especially once the skies cleared and the deep NM blue came out.
From this overlook, we could see Cochiti Lake:
This picture had not been altered. The sky was actually that blue!:
We took a day trip down the Turquoise Trail, and visited Tinkertown, a quirky little museum of one man’s creations and collections. Ross Ward started carving as a hobby in 1962, and eventually created a whole town filled with the characters of his imagination. He started off exhibiting the display at county fairs and carnivals, and opened a museum when his display got too big to move. The museum is a sprawling maze of imagination and fun, with collections of all kinds, like wedding cake toppers, antique fun machines, and even a sailboat that a family member sailed around the world. There’s darn few perfect museums in the world, but this a top contender!
The card from the Grandmother said that “You love a beautiful home and one of these days you will be in possession of one”:
Everything in the town was made by hand, and so detailed!:
The oldest wedding cake topper in this collection was a wax pair from the 1840s:
We also took a few day trips into Santa Fe. One day was mainly as a major resupply, hitting the big box stores that are hard to come by in little towns. We did stroll through the downtown plaza, which was positively bustling with the after church crowd of Palm Sunday. The next day, we hiked the Atalaya Trail, with views out over the city and to the mountain ranges beyond.
San Miguel Mission, the oldest church in the US, from 1610:
On the trail, we appreciated the honesty and the options. (We chose steeper for the up and easier for the down.) :
I was woefully under dressed for the top:
Til next week!