Sunday, August 16, 2009

White Sands National Monument

An interesting time to visit White Sands National Monument is during a wind storm. The gypsum (it's not really sand) drifts like fine snow. You get ready to step out into this frozen world but then it's about 75 degrees out. My senses were confused. The wind also reduces numbers of other tourists.

Annie didn't think breathing gypsum was a very good idea. She's probably right.

Roots holding on to maintain there little stationary islands in a moving world.

Truth or Consequences

The town of Truth or Consequences in central New Mexico is built on natural hot springs. Some how the town has also been able to avoid changing since the 50's. Renovation goes on and we were lucky enough to find this newly renovated hot tub motel. The hot tubs are concrete with bottoms made of small river rock where the water just flows up through and out the drain, constantly.. a must stop along the banks of the Rio Grande.

Annie in fully soaked relaxed mode.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Mogollon, New Mexico

Annie and I took the 12 mile drive to the mining town of Mogollon.  Definitely not a road for people who are afraid of heights.  The  road climbs up to about 10000 feet elevation and gets narrower and steeper as you go.  Definitely one lane most places with blind curves and drop offs with seemingly no bottoms.  Spectacular views of the valleys when you can find a pull-out.
Mogollon is still alive but barely.  Mining has dried up and a few people hang on by tourism.  Artists from Texas filled the streets in the 50's and 60's.

I was told this was once a gallery.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Catwalk Canyon, New Mexico

Hopefully these images allow us to remember the beauty of this place.

Catwalk Canyon, New Mexico

Catwalk canyon, a remnant from mining days is a must see place in western New Mexico.  The trail travels up a slot canyon that would be impassable without the construction of the catwalks.  They were originally built to support a water line that carried water to a mine.  Approximately 15 years ago the catwalk was still made of the original metal, very rusty and questionably safe.  Recent upgrades changed the flavor of the experience but not the canyon. This image is at the top of the trail.
It doesn't take much to get this suspension bridge jumping.
This must have been placed by helicopter?

The newest wheelchair accessible section.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wandering Home, New Mexico

I finally dragged Annie, scratching and clawing out of Arizona.  We stopped in western New Mexico and stayed two nights in a one room cabin just out of the town of Glenwood.  Our first hike took us up a slot canyon called Alma Creek.  Evening light made the adventure even more dream like.  A must see place. At the mouth of the canyon we found the above fence post being eaten by a large tree, sort of taking back its own kind.

This area is a little death valley with all its interesting rock formations except it has water.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Not all roughing it.

Our daughter Faith gifted us with an evening at Camp La Paloma. Yes that's Starbucks coffee.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona

A trip to northern Arizona should always include the Sedona area.

Wupatki National Monument

About 30 miles north of Sunset Crater are ancient puebloan dwellings.  Built nearly 1000 years ago it is amazing that so many of the walls are still standing.  The stone work is magnificant. The lines of the walls are beautiful.

It is rugged country and was dry when the inhabitants lived here.  The Navaho's still live just north of here.  I mentioned the wind earlier.  The picture below is the back side of the dust storm blowing out over the Navaho Nation. We were glad to be up wind.

Sunset Crater Volcano

After attending a memorial in Scottsdale for Annie's beloved Aunt Janet and we continued onto a fantastic road trip with our daughter Faith north to the Flagstaff area.  We were searching for a meteor crater (we will have to return to complete that mission, missed by about 50 miles) and ended up at Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument just north of Flagstaff.  Unlike the Chiricahua's this volcano erupted only 800 years ago. It was really windy which actually added to the experience of the area.  The snowy peak in the top picture is Mount Humphrey's at 12,633, the tallest mountain in AZ and another volcano.
Native Americans were living in the area during the eruptions.  The volcanic ash that settled on the surrounding land actually supported Native Americans agriculture for another century by adding nutrients to the soils.
Archeological discoveries indicate that there were enough earth quakes before the actual explosion that the Natives had moved out of the pit houses that were buried under ash flows.

The volcano spewed ash and had side vent lava flows.

Chiricahua Mountains

East of the Dragoon Mountains are the Chiricahua Mountains which includes the Chiricahua National Monument.  These are volcanic mountains including the remnants of a volcanic rim and the ash that it blew out. (This happened millions of years ago and erosion has exposed the solidified ash flows into columnar pillars) Rising up out of the desert to around 9000 ft. there is water that flows in the creeks.  We found this abandoned orchard in bloom up Turkey Creek. Turkeys have been reintroduced here and they were gobbling just on the other side of these trees.