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Category: Touring

The Malpais: Badlands of New Mexico

El Malpais National Monument & El Morro National Monument
My 40th Birthday Foray into Arizona and New Mexico
Sunday, February 16, 2020

The last day of my 40th Birthday Foray into Arizona and New Mexico had finally arrived and although we technically had one more day left for the trip because of Presidents Day on Monday, we decided that we would rather drive home later this evening and have Monday off to rest and get ready to go back to work on Tuesday than stick around another day. After spending the night in Los Lunas we started driving west on historic Route 66 toward Grants so we could visit The Malpais (an extensive area of rough, barren lava flows) of New Mexico for the first time. We had started this week-long adventure along the old Route 66 at Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona the previous weekend, and now we would be ending it just down the road from there in New Mexico.

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Messages in Stone Below the Sierra Blanca

Return to the Three Rivers Petroglyph Site
My 40th Birthday Foray into Arizona and New Mexico
Saturday, February 15, 2020

After spending an amazing night at White Sands National Park, we stopped in Alamogordo for a quick breakfast and then headed over to the Three Rivers Petroglyph Site so we could spend the rest of the day there. Just like with White Sands, we had visited the Three Rivers petroglyphs Site during our Honeymoon Adventure three years ago, but back then I didn’t realize just how many petroglyphs are found here and we did not have nearly enough time to really explore this area as much as I would have liked, so I’ve wanted to return to spend more time here searching for petroglyphs. This time we planned to spend most of the day hiking along the top ridge until sunset to see what we could find. I was a little concerned that there might not be enough to keep us busy for a full day, but I was again surprised by just how many petroglyphs are found here and we still didn’t have enough time to see them all! I guess a third visit in the future is probably in order the next time we find ourselves down this way!

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Gila Cliff Dwellings of the Mogollon Mountains

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
My 40th Birthday Foray into Arizona and New Mexico
Thursday, February 13, 2020

After our nice overnight trip into Aravaipa Canyon, Thursday was going to be a shorter and easier day for us. Today we planned to drive up into the Mogollon Mountains from Silver City to visit Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, which is a small Monument that was established in 1907 by Theodore Roosevelt at the edge of the Gila Wilderness. In case you didn’t know, the Gila Wilderness was the nation’s very first designated wilderness area. Although we didn’t have much time to visit this large wilderness area on this trip, I would certainly like to return in the future for a longer backpacking trip.

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Rock Art Ranch: Chevelon Canyon

My 40th Birthday Foray into Arizona and New Mexico
Monday, February 10, 2020

After spending a nice weekend exploring Petrified Forest National Park for the first time, it was time to move on to our next destination of the trip. Since I have wanted to visit the petroglyphs of the Rock Art Ranch in Chevelon Canyon for many years and we were already going to be nearby in Holbrook, I had called a few weeks prior to schedule a tour for Monday morning. While checking the weather forecast on Sunday evening it looked like there was a storm system moving through the area that could interrupt these plans. When we woke up on Monday morning it was already windy and cold out along with sleet, rain and snow falling. However, looking at the updated weather forecast it looked like we might luck out as the precipitation was supposed to stop before our tour at 10:00am. After breakfast and loading up our vehicle it was still raining out as we made our way over to the ranch, but thankfully it did stop during our drive out there, so the timing was perfect!

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Thousand Below: The Waterfalls of Havasu Canyon

Braving the Crowds and Permit Process to Finally Visit Havasupai
Wednesday – Sunday, October 23-27, 2019

I typically try to avoid crowded and very popular locations when I head out into the backcountry, but Havasu Canyon is one area that I felt I needed to make an exception for. I guess I should have tried to go over a decade ago when I first learned about this place, but who knew then how popular it was going to become thanks to Instagram and other social media platforms? This year I decided it was finally time to try to obtain permits, and although the process was very frustrating when they became available at the beginning of February, I was lucky and able to secure permits for the exact dates that I wanted at the end of October! Instead of spending our annual backpacking trip to the Grand Canyon exploring the Esplanade of the North Rim, this year we would be spending that time in Havasu Canyon.

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