Hi again everyone,
Welcome to my final post on my April trip to Taos, New Mexico. In this article, I’ll share words and photos of some places that I went that didn’t fit into any of the other blogs. I’ll also reflect on some of my most cherished moments and photos. Let’s get started.
After the photo workshop ended Sunday afternoon, I pointed my rental car to the north of Taos to the 84 mile Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway. Just before reaching Questa, I turned off the main highway towards the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument operated by the BLM that includes the Wild Rivers Scenic Area. My first stop was at this interesting cemetery along side the road. From my quick perusal, I determined there were a number of veterans buried in this cemetery thus the proliferation of flags adorning the graves.
Whereas the Bandelier National Monument was designated as such in 1916, the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument wasn’t proclaimed a national monument until March 2013 by President Obama. This 242,000 acre public land features the Rio Grande River Gorge and the location where the Red River flows into the Rio Grande. Rafting, boating, hiking, bike riding, camping and sightseeing are popular activities in this area. Since I visited on a Sunday, the visitor center was closed, a little disappointing but I noted there weren’t very many visitors that day. The road looped along the Rio Grande Gorge and offered beautiful views of the deep Gorge. Here are a couple of photos from my tour of the Monument.
Leaving the National Monument, I ventured back on to the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway and admired the mountains and lush valleys. As I was driving along I came across a couple of herds of mountain goats that quickly scampered almost straight up the side of a hill to get a way from my prying camera! Then just around the corner in an open valley below the road was a large herd of elk, must have been 50 or more. There were a couple of gawkers like myself just standing outside our cars watching this herd for several minutes. Funny thing was that they also had some lookouts keeping an eye on us just in case we did something to harm or spook them.
Near the elk sighting was this view of trees struggling to thrive on the rocky promontory. It always amazes me to see nature overcome seemingly overwhelming odds to survive.
The remainder of the drive was beautiful though uneventful. I arrived back in Taos after dark, another good day in the bag. The next morning I started making my way back to Albuquerque but first stopped in downtown Taos to view the plaza. We’d been so busy that I hadn’t a chance to take a look. Most of the shops (catering to the many tourists) were still closed but I did capture a few photos for my memory book. The top photo is of the chili ristras, strings of chili peppers, common throughout New Mexico, that are said to bring good luck and good health. I did wonder where the ladder featured in the second photo was taking adventurous climbers.
After my short visit to the Taos Plaza, I made another stop at the photogenic San Francisco de Asis that I’ve described in previous posts. You might remember that I talked to the padre, Father Dino who recommended I stop at the nearby county park that provided access to the Rio Grande Gorge. There was an old road, now closed, that provided a trail down to the river’s edge that I hiked down a ways for some better photos knowing full well that I had to walk up that road to get out! The top three photos are of the Gorge while the fourth is how in years past the area was used as an illegal dump.
The next morning I made my way back to Albuquerque for my return to Madison. I arrived in Albuquerque with plenty of time to spare so I set my GPS for Old Town Albuquerque. I had good memories of stopping here in 1985 when we were on our way to Tucson. Old Town is the site of the original town of Albuquerque when it was developed by the Spanish around 1700. Today it’s a tourist destination with authentic restaurants, shops, museums and galleries housed in some of the original buildings. It was more touristy than I remembered but still fun to see and experience. I recall it being much more rustic than the current more modern look. Here are a few photos that I took as I walked around the area.
As I waited for my return flight home, I reflected on my fun and productive visit to the Taos area, Santa Fe and Albuquerque. I took a lot of photos and saw a lot of great country. Here are some of my favorite photos and from this experience.
And this photo is my favorite of all my photos, mostly for the interesting and unusual cloud formation the afternoon I took this photo.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this series on Taos. I sure enjoyed writing about it and reminiscing what a wonderful time I had and look forward to a return visit.
Up next New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival v.2018.
Until next week, travel safe.