Posted at 9:42 am , on October 30, 2020
Week No. 3 . . . The Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway is an 83-mile loop through the mountains, valleys, mesa’s and national forestland of Northern New Mexico. The loop goes from Taos to Questa to Red River to Eagle Nest to Angel Fire and back around to Taos. This picture was taken along the Rio Grande River between Espanola and Taos. Taos had by far the best fall colors with the Cottonwood trees ablaze with golden leaves. Most of these pictures were taken as we were driving but we did stop occasionally to capture some panoramic photos. Along the way the scenery changes from the Taos colors to the valleys of Angel Fire. The lake at Eagle Nest is so picturesque with the sparkling blue water with the hilltop landscape in the background. Red River is a tourist haven nestled in the mountains with pine trees, rivers and ponds. It’s always cooler up in the northern part of the state and a great getaway to cool off in the summer month’s or enjoy skiing in the winter. Taos is one of my favorite places on earth. It’s the most charming little town with unique local artists displaying their works in and around town. Whenever you visit New Mexico this might be the perfect place to start.
Posted at 10:24 am , on October 28, 2020
We first visited the 4th of July trailhead in August. We were looking for a place to hike where it was cooler because at that time the temperature was quite warm in Albuquerque and was too hot for outdoor activities. 4th of July trailhead is located on the south and west side of the Manzano Mountains. It’s about 1 1/2 hours to get to the trailhead with the last 6 miles being a dusty dirt road dotted with big rocks and potholes to navigate through. It’s slow going that last bit but well worth the trip. When the colors began to change we knew that 4th of July trail would be packed with people on the weekend with very little parking so we went during the week. We arrived around 3:30 in the afternoon. As it turned out our timing couldn’t have been more perfect. The sun was lower and coming through the trees lighting them up in their most vibrant colors. From the August greenery to the October colors, the trail was indescribable. I wouldn’t have recognized it had we not just been there a couple month’s earlier. The colors were even more vibrant that I could imagine. And as we walked I tried to get every color of leaf which ranged from an off white to a vibrant purple. Almost every color was represented and it reminded me of an enchanted forest from a fairy tale. I can’t imagine another place quite like 4th of July trailhead! Come take a walk with us and enjoy the colors of New Mexico!
Posted at 10:25 am , on October 26, 2020
Since Joe and I returned to New Mexico we’ve enjoyed taking day trips and hiking trails that are new to us. This year we were determined to see some of the fall colors around the state. We spent 3 weekends in October exploring different areas, each one offering a distinctive experience. The first weekend we went north to the ski valley near Santa Fe to hike the Aspen Vista Trail which is about 11 miles round trip. And no we didn’t make it the entire way but we did walk about 7 of the 11 miles. The Aspens are plentiful and they are spectacular! The golden yellow leaves at times look as if they are on fire. The early morning hours are the quiet times when the trails are less traveled and we can take our time to enjoy the view. With Covid 19 spiking again and nothing to do it seemed like everyone had the same idea to get away and enjoy the beautiful leaf tour. By driving to the trails early, we could easily get a parking spot and enjoy the trails with a handful of early birds. By lunchtime it’s a different story, many more folks just getting started as we wind our way back. We always pack a picnic lunch and find a spot to enjoy the view. It’s a serene time to get away in this year 2020. We are fortunate to be able to travel an hour or two to a beautiful haven in which to get away and forget the worries of the world if only for one day!
Posted at 2:33 pm , on April 27, 2020
Who could have predicted that our world would change as we know it in only a matter of weeks. Do you ever wonder if the world will ever be the same again? Over the past few weeks I take little for granted and am grateful for the little things that keep me grounded and help me forget all the madness. While Joe and I are doing well, we recognize that so many families are sacrificing in ways I can’t even imagine. When our governor announced a “stay at home” order, everything got real for me. I have to admit I was nervous for days worrying about things I couldn’t control. Once the shock wore off I picked myself up and decided to find something productive to do. I got back to blogging but also started taking a diary of photos each day of our favorite meals and some views we spotted from our own backyard. With Spring’s arrival not only have the birds arrived but also other dessert wildlife making tracks through our yard. From sunrise to sunset I find beauty in things I took for granted only a few weeks ago. Life continues on as things look normal outside even though the world around us is not. May you all find something each day to give you peace and positive thoughts in the days ahead. We are all in this together! March 26, 2020, I woke up early to one of the darkest and richest sunrises I have ever witnessed. The sky was completely covered in clouds of dark blue. It was simply an amazing sight!
Posted at 9:01 am , on October 15, 2019
It’s that time of year again!! Every year on the first weekend of October the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque takes flight with 9 days of colorful balloons. Balloons of every shape and color imaginable fill the skies over our city. We were rookies last year and didn’t know what to expect. This year we planned ahead and everything fell into place for the best experience we’ve ever had! First, we decided to skip the weekend mass ascension and instead went on Wednesday for the Flight of the Nations event. This event recognizes the International balloons that participate in the fiesta as they carry their nations flags while lifting up into the skies. We found lighter crowds than on the weekends and almost as many balloons that took to the skies representing International countries, states, colleges, many shaped balloons plus any and all colors of the rainbow that you can imagine. We got up early and were out the door at 4:30 a.m. to head to the balloon field. We are approximately 6 miles away but you never know how traffic is going to be. We’ve heard horror stories of long lines, taking over an hour to park only to find that parking is already full. Not the case on this day. We were parked and inside the park a little after 5 a.m. Inside the park there are numerous places to get coffee, hot chocolate and breakfast burritos plus several tents filled with arts and crafts to walk through and pass the time. The “Dawn Patrol” begins between 5:45 and 6 a.m.. In the morning before dawn about a dozen balloons will begin to inflate. As they fire their burners, the balloons will appear to glow in the dark. One of the crew members told us that this year they were going to lift off in unison for the first time, normally they would go a few at a time. By accident we just happened to get to the Dawn Patrol balloons as they were laying them out on the ground. We watched them go through the process and had a front row view. I have never been to see the Dawn Patrol or a Balloon Glow evening event before. It’s hard to find the words to describe how beautiful it is as they glow and twinkle. If that were the only thing to see I would have gone away happy. But I hope you will scroll down and enjoy the rest of the morning as dawn breaks and balloons all around us ascend into the beautiful NM skies. Maybe you will be inspired to come to the balloon fiesta next year.
Posted at 1:50 pm , on October 8, 2019
Joe and I first tasted prickly pear jelly and syrup at the Downtown Growers Market here in Albuquerque. They were passing out samples and I loved it at first taste. You will find prickly pear cactus plants in most neighborhoods here in Albuquerque, I thought surely I would be able to find the ripened fruit in a local fruit market but so far I haven’t found any. My niece offered me the fruit aka “tuna” off her cactus and I happily took her up on her offer. So Joe and I went over with gloves and tongs and picked two bags full. It was about 6 pounds of raw fruit and made just over 6 cups of juice. I wasn’t exactly sure how to prep them but knew that the prickly splinters aka “glochids” needed to be removed. We have a small weed burner that we used to burn off the glochids. As Joe was burning them off we noticed that the fruit reacted like a roasted chile with the fruit blistering and the outer skin separating from the fruit. At that point I decided to steam them like a chile to see if that would make peeling them easier. I placed them in 3 bowls with tight lids and refrigerated them overnight. The next morning I set up my kitchen to work up the fruit. I sliced them in half and scooped out the fruit like you would an avocado. It was so easy and in no time I had a big bowl of prickly pear fruit ready to process. I pureed the fruit in a blender and strained the pulp to remove the seeds. Then I ladled the juice into 1/2 pint jars. With this juice you can make any number of things from jelly and syrup to candy or sorbet. I’ve even found pies and cheesecakes that have been flavored with this sweet nectar. I went into this as an experiment and found it a tasty adventure. This year I made jelly and syrup but next time I may try something more adventurous.
Posted at 10:31 am , on October 4, 2019
Another unique place to visit within the Gila Wilderness is the Catwalk National Recreation Trail. Just a few miles northeast of Glenwood, NM, this area is rich in mining history when in the 1890’s an ore processing plant was built. Water was needed for the plant and a steel pipeline was built to draw water from the Whitewater Canyon. They built a walkway of wooden planks through the canyon but the processing plant only lasted about 10 years. In the 1930’s the Civilian Conservation Corps rebuilt the walkway which is used as a recreational trail today. Beyond the Catwalk are more rugged trails leading into the Gila Wilderness. We had planned to go a bit further on these trails but they were closed for renovations. Another time perhaps. However, we so enjoyed the walk along the Catwalk which was approximately a 2 mile walk round trip. It’s a beautifully hidden gem that I’ve always wanted to explore. We walked the trail in the early morning when it was relatively quiet and very few people to share the trail. It was so peaceful with the cool, comfortable temperatures with only the sounds of water flowing and the birds chirping. Fall is a wonderful time of year to explore New Mexico!
Posted at 11:27 am , on October 1, 2019
Recently Joe and I took a couple days to go hiking and see the sights in the Gila Wilderness area which is located in southwest New Mexico near Silver City. Normally one would think, southwest New Mexico, hmmm . . . hot, desert, less vegetation. In fact there are several national forest areas in this region with mountains, rolling hills and valleys dotted with various pine trees, cedar trees and wild flowers. The temperature naturally feels a bit cooler in the mountains and it makes for an enjoyable hike. Silver City was a boomtown during the 1880’s as a mining community where they mined silver, gold, copper, lead and zinc. Today Silver City is still a small community and small college town, home to Western New Mexico University. The community has renovated the downtown area with local artists showcasing their art in the little shops as well as restaurants and antique consignment shops. It’s a great place to walk and visit with the locals as well as shop for unique finds that you might not find anywhere else. On Saturday morning we headed north of Silver City to the Gila Cliff Dwellings. We began a moderate hike along a trail that leads to a cave in the distance. As you get closer can see the long standing dwelling that was believed to be built by the Anasazi or Mogollon people in or around 1280’s. It’s an astounding sight to see and gives you a sense of how the people of that time lived and survived. I found it amazing that these cliff dwellings are so well preserved after so many centuries have passed. Hope you enjoy our little hike through history.
Posted at 10:06 am , on September 10, 2019
Welcome to my kitchen! After 3 1/2 month’s of demo, patience and a lot of hard work we finally have the kitchen we dreamed of. I have to give my husband Joe so much credit, he took my ideas and made it a reality. When we moved from Kansas back to New Mexico we both had our own visions of what we wanted in a home. He wanted a space to store his tools and an area for woodworking projects and I wanted an open kitchen. And we both wanted a view of the mountains. Well we got two out of three. My kitchen was big enough but wasn’t open by any means. The kitchen in Kansas was small but was organized and designed to be functional. Everything was in reach and it was easy to prepare and cook in my tiny kitchen. The kitchen in Albuquerque was not functional at all, at least not for me. I rearranged things time after time and couldn’t find a way to make it flow. So we decided to take 6 month’s to find out what worked and what didn’t work in order to design a work area with ample storage space. We started just before Memorial day and finished up on Labor day. After a few days spent moving back in and organizing things, I’m ready to get back in the kitchen!
Posted at 12:03 pm , on May 31, 2019
Three Rivers Petroglyph is located in the Southern Central part of New Mexico between Carrizozo and Tularosa. It is rare to find such a location where you can hike so close and walk among the rock carvings. There are many sites in New Mexico that have petroglyphs, in fact Joe and I live near several trails where you can hike and find many petroglyph drawings right here in Albuquerque. We enjoy getting out to walk the trails and are always excited to find something new that we’ve missed on a previous hike. Three Rivers is a treasure in that there are more than 20,000 known petroglyph drawings clustered in a this small area. You can see many of them along two trails that lead you through a 1 mile hike. It is one of the great wonders of the Southwest. Some of the drawings depict birds, humans, animals, fish, insects and plants, as well as numerous geometric and abstract designs. Some are faded and hard to make out what they are while others are still quite vivid and easy to determine what they were trying to convey. I’ve always loved to explore the petroglyphs and try to interpret the story native people left behind for us. We had a great day and made a large loop from Carrizozo to Tularosa and through Ruidoso Downs, and up to Hondo where we visted the Hondo Iris Farm. The drive takes you some of the most beautiful scenery of mountains and valleys. Hondo was our turn around point as we headed back north through Lincoln National Forest where Smokey the Bear was rescued in 1950 and now buried. For anyone who loves the history of the Southwest and Native American people who resided here, Three Rivers is an amazing place to visit.