Fall 2021: New Mexico

This spring was my first visit to New Mexico, and I just dipped my toe into the waters, so to speak.  In the fall, I went back for more.

Rio Grande del Norte National Monument

Rift Valley Trail

The Rio Grande is famous for being the border between the U.S. and Mexico, but did you know that it also runs from north to south thru New Mexico?  There, it is carves a gorge  through a flat desert and creates an interesting canyon.

From this perspective, the land is flat all the way to the mountains with the big exception of the big gouge in the earth created by the Rio Grande del Norte River. While you can’t see very much inside it, you can get a feel of its place in the landscape in a way that a flat map cannot show.
Taos Junction Bridge is one of several that allow vehicles to cross the gorge
This vantage point shows what it is like inside the gorge. A road lets visitors get down close to the river, while boaters float downstream and I view from above.

Wheeler Peak

At 13,161 ft, Wheeler Peak (not to be confused with the Wheeler Peak in Nevada) is the tallest mountain in New Mexico.  So of course, there is a popular trail which leads to the top.

It’s a busy climb. (Note the many little figures climbing up the mountain.) The tread is good and the pace is steady. Even at the top, it’s not especially difficult. But it’s also never easy.
Peaks always have many good views. This is just one of them. But on this trip, I found better views (and better lighting) on my roundabout return trip.
Just below the peak, this has been a pretty cool hike, but it’s not yet noon. I think I’ll break with everyone else (who take the trail heading down fom right to left) and take a long detour (which goes straight ahead).  “Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”
Horseshoe Lake sits in an alpine basin surrounted by subtle colors
You mean they have skiing in Taos?
Sisters can sometimes be alike and yet so different from each other
The shades of brown remind me of many places in Death Valley. But here the shades of green create a second variety.
Father and daughter. I was surprised by how many kids I saw on this trail and how well they did. Talk about shared memories!
You’ll never guess where the Williams Lake Trail leads