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Tag: new mexico

Thanksgiving in the Land of Enchantment

Defensive Sites of Dinétah, Black Friday in Chaco Canyon II & Images of Dinétah
Thanksgiving Weekend | Thursday – Sunday, November 25-28, 2021

It feels like I’ve already spent a lot of time in the Land of Enchantment this year with visits to El Malpais National Monument, Mount Taylor and Wheeler Peak– so this seemed like the perfect year to skip our annual Thanksgiving visit to Cedar Mesa and head back to northwestern New Mexico instead. We actually did the same thing five years ago, so this wouldn’t be our first time spending Thanksgiving in La Tierra Del Encanto. We had originally planned to head to New Mexico last year for Thanksgiving, but the COVID restrictions at the time made us change our plans, so we were really looking forward to finally getting back this year! We left home early on Thursday morning and drove over Red Mountain Pass through the San Juan Mountains to Bloomfield, where we would be spending a couple of nights while we explored Dinétah and Chaco Culture National Historical Park for the next couple of days.

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The Highest Peak in New Mexico: Wheeler Peak

Finishing the Four Corners State High Points | Friday & Saturday, September 3-4, 2021

After climbing Humphreys Peak on Thursday, and then spending this morning on Mount Taylor near Grants, it was now finally time to finish off the Four Corner state high points with Wheeler Peak in New Mexico. Following my short visit to the La Cieneguilla Petroglyphs near Santa Fe this afternoon, I continued north to Taos and then headed up to the trailhead in the Taos Ski Valley. I was hoping to find a place to spend the night along the way, but the Taos Ski Valley was not really my kind of place to visit and camping options were very limited. Luckily, just before leaving home I had thrown my backpacking gear into the Jeep, just in case, so I thought it would probably be a better idea to just backpack up to Williams Lake in the late afternoon and then hike to the summit of Wheeler Peak first thing in the morning. The weather forecast for the rest of the evening was looking good, so that’s what I decided to do. The hike up to Williams Lake is not very long, just under 2 miles with about 1,000 feet of elevation gain, so it didn’t take me long to reach the lake, but like the other hikes I had done earlier in the day, it was still very humid out.

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San Mateo Mountain: Mount Taylor & La Mosca

The Four Sacred Mountains of the Navajo | La Cieneguilla Petroglyphs
Thursday & Friday, September 2-3, 2021

After climbing Humphreys Peak on Thursday morning and then leaving Arizona, I made my way into New Mexico so I could climb the highest peak in the state to complete the Four Corners state high points. But Wheeler Peak would have to wait one more day so I could take a short detour near Grants to hike to the summit of Mount Taylor, which is the Sacred Mountain of the South to the Navajo people (Diné). I’ve actually wanted to hike Mount Taylor ever since I first laid eyes on it last year during our visit to El Malpais National Monument, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to do so since it was right along the way. It sure feels like I’ve been spending a lot of time in this area lately, but I’m not complaining since I’m really enjoying it! Once I made it to Grants, I stopped for a quick dinner and gas in town and then drove up onto San Mateo Mountain so I could visit the La Mosca Lookout and find a place to camp for the night.

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The Chaco Phenomenon of the San Juan Basin

Tour of the Ancients: Chimney Rock National Monument, Twin Angels Pueblo & Lowry Pueblo
Thursday & Friday, May 20-21, 2021

After leaving El Malpais National Monument in the early afternoon on Thursday, we then drove north across the San Juan Basin on our way to Durango. There was a storm system moving into the area this evening and it was supposed to rain overnight and throughout the day on Friday, so we thought it would be best to get a hotel room in town tonight. On our way we made a short detour to visit the Twin Angels Pueblo, which is a Chacoan Great House located at the edge of Kutz Canyon, not far from Angel Peak. We were planning to visit Chimney Rock National Monument on Friday and had already visited the Dittert Site in the El Malpais National Conservation Area earlier in the week, so I thought it would be nice to visit yet another Chaco Outlier this week.

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Rivers of Ancient Fires: The Malpais

Tuesday – Thursday, May 18-20, 2021

After spending two nice days in Arizona exploring Petrified Forest National Park, it was time to move on to New Mexico so we could spend a couple of days along the Continental Divide at the southeast margin of the Colorado Plateau in El Malpais National Monument and the El Malpais National Conservation Area. Last winter we spent a short day in this area but were unable to do much because the roads were snow-covered and muddy from a recent winter storm, so we had vowed to come back as soon as we could in warmer weather. We had hoped to do a little caving on our next visit, but because the caves are all currently closed due to COVID-19, we had to stay above ground this trip. Of course, there were plenty of other hiking opportunities to keep us busy and that just means we now have another excuse to come back when the caves are open again!

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