2012Hot2Cold travel blog

our campsite at Bandolier National Monument

we saw no bears 'operating'

looking across the canyon at the Los Alamos mesa


heading deeper into the Jemez Mountains



not a lot of traffic

an aspen in yellow

leaving the Bandolier National Monument

and entering the Valles Caldera National Preserve

sign at an overlook

the caldera looks enormous

and it is!

no elk in sight today, but there are hundreds out there in...

reading this sign you realize that the valley before you is just...

maybe one sixth or less

this is hot water and it never freezes in the winter


a touching memorial to someone who died here

even those hills in the distance are inside and a part of...



this man retired from the Los Alamos lab and he was so...

continuing on

the following photos are of our drive through the Jemez Mountains and...






trees were only yellow at the lower elevations - the upper elevations...


a rare sight in the New Mexico desert


that tree ahead bears many scars of the vehicles that have hit...






at this point we were traveling through successive Indian Reservations



the highway north to Farmington


crossing the Continental Divide - or should we say 're-crossing it'?

our campground in Farmington


the office

the owner has built this amazing outdoor model train setup

a sign advising folks leaving the park

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Driving thru Jemez Valley

We were unable to find a place to park and take the shuttle down to see the Bandolier ruins today, so we just got on the road early and headed out. Our destination today was the town of Farmington, New Mexico, and our route was through the Jemez Mountains, and then northwest another 100 miles. The drive was scenic and interesting.

The first hour we were driving through the Bandolier National Monument grounds, but we emerged onto the Valles Caldera National Preserve - and were soon at a turnout which overlooked the immense and awe inspiring caldera. As we took pictures and read the signs we realized that the huge valley we were seeing was only a fraction of the whole caldera, and that it extended far beyond the mountain tops we were seeing in the distance. Now we were really in awe!

While we were there we engaged in two interesting conversations, one with a man from Alaska who was visiting his son who lived in Los Alamos, and the other with a man who stopped to see the elk and who we learned had retired from the Los Alamos Lab a few years ago. New Mexico is like Newfoundland, Canada in the respect that you don’t want to say ‘hello’ to anyone unless you are ready and willing to be engaged in at least a half an hour of conversation. Everyone is that friendly, and the conversations are ones that once you get into them, you find yourself wishing they could just go on and on.

We finally tore ourselves away, and continued on to our destination, arriving in Farmington by late afternoon and stopping for the night at a quaint place called the Mom and Pop RV Park. This will be our last night in New Mexico and we are surely going to miss it!

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