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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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Wedding Canyon Loop 2019

Rediscovering the Colorado National Monument #1
New Year’s Day | Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year! This year Diane and I woke up early on New Year’s Day and headed over to the Colorado National Monument so we could hike the Wedding Canyon Loop at sunrise like we do almost every year. We arrived shortly before sunrise and were the first vehicle at the Monument Canyon Trailhead. When we started hiking the temperature out was in the single digits and the early morning dawn light was just beginning to illuminate the landscape. There was fresh snow on the trail from a big snowstorm the previous day, but there wasn’t quite as much snow on the ground here as there was at our house. We watched the clouds change color as we made our way to the mouth of Wedding Canyon and then hiked up the canyon to Independence Monument, which is the halfway point of the loop. From there we followed the lower Monument Canyon Trail back down to the trailhead making a complete loop around The Island. As usual, it was a great way to start the new year, even though it was cold out!

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Christmas Eve Clouds

Christmas Eve | Monday, December 24, 2018

When I got out of work early on Christmas Eve it looked like the winter storm that had been around all day was finally starting to clear out, and I thought it might be a good opportunity to photograph a nice sunset. I stopped home quickly to grab my camera and then headed up to the Colorado National Monument to see if I could get a few photos. Unfortunately, there was a thick bank of low clouds hovering right over the Monument and I never got the light that I was hoping for. I waited around for a while hoping the clouds would clear before sunset, but they never did, so I ended up not taking many photos. I’ll share the few photos I did take below.

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An Afternoon at The Monument

Sunday, January 7, 2018

If you saw this post over on my mircoBLOG, you’ll know that my weekend didn’t go quite as planned. Since I came home early on Saturday night I decided to sleep in late on Sunday morning and had no plans to do anything for the rest of the day. However, in the early afternoon I noticed that a winter storm was going to be breaking up over the Grand Valley, so I headed over to the Colorado National Monument to see if I could take some photos. I was hoping there would be some cool atmospherics like during this visit to The Monument (I can’t believe that was almost five years ago!), but that would not happen this time.

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Wedding Canyon Loop 2018

New Year’s Day | Monday, January 1, 2018

After going on my last hike of 2017 the previous day, it was now time for me to go on my very first hike of 2018! I woke up early on Monday morning and drove over to the Lower Monument Canyon Trailhead in the Colorado National Monument so I could hike the Wedding Canyon Loop. This is one of my favorite hikes in the Monument and one I recommend to anyone who asks me about hiking in the area. Hiking this loop on New year’s Day has become somewhat of a tradition for me the past couple of years, and I wanted to keep that up. Plus, it’s just a great way to start off the new year close to home!

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