Sunday, April 10, 2016

New Mexico--the Land of Enchantment


If you have been following along on my blog recently, you will know I've been chronicling about a trip my husband and I took in the fall, when we drove from our house in the Denver area to a family wedding in a suburb of Phoenix Arizona.  We first visited Mesa Verde National Park in SW Colorado, then the Four Corners Monument, also in SW Colorado, on through the Navajo Nation in Northern Arizona. While in Arizona we visited Saguaro National Park and the Petrified Forest National Park and the Painted Desert.  When we left the Petrified Forest National Park we headed right into the state of New Mexico by Interstate 40. It was late afternoon, and we knew we had many miles to drive before we reached the hotel where we had reservations in Las Vegas, New Mexico, for the night, which would be about halfway home.
(All photos and collages in this post will enlarge if clicked on)


New Mexico's motto is "The Land of Enchantment," and it is easy to see why. The landscapes we passed along the road were spectacular!


The late afternoon sun gave the landscape a beautiful glow.


It seemed as if we could see for hundreds of miles all around us, and we watched as rain clouds gathered before us.


Finally, it began to rain in one area while a big beautiful rainbow formed in the sky in another area!


Mother Nature put on a beautiful show while we drove ....


...and the rainbow followed us for many miles.


The rain stopped, but the large cumulus clouds remained on the horizon.


Such glorious scenery...


...we knew we would be back one day to explore more of New Mexico.


The sun began to set and it lit the sky with gold and crimson. 


As we approached Albuquerque , New Mexico, we drove NE onto Interstate 25, where we saw this tour bus in a gas station rest stop. Unfortunately, that is all we saw for the rest of the night, as the sun set and we drove the rest of the miles in darkness.


The next morning we checked out of our hotel and took a ride to the nearby Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge. This 4,200 acre refuge and conservation area promotes the protection of private working ranches via conservation easements. Las Vegas is Spanish for "the meadows," and this is the perfect place to personify much of what this area topography consists of, both short and long grass prairie. The refuge has nature trails, scenic drives and an overlook observation deck to observe migrating birds and land animals.  If you click on to enlarge the collage above you can read more about thee preserve and the animals that depend on the land. It was raining when we visited the preserve so we did not walk any of the trails, nor did I get any good photos of the wildlife, but it was still an interesting place to visit.


We also took a drive through the town of Las Vegas, New Mexico, that was established in 1835 by the Mexican government. During the Mexican America War in 1846, Stephan W. Kearney delivered an address at the Plaza of Las Vegas, claiming New Mexico for the United States.  Las Vegas became part of the Santa Fe Trail and its popularity grew,  A railroad came to the town in 1880 and the town continued to grow. Along with the development, however, came many new residents some of which had an unsavory element of the "wild west."  Notables were Doc Holliday, Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp, Mysterious Dave Mather, and Hoodoo Brown.



Click on the photo of the placard above which shows a map of the Santa Fe Trail, that led from Independence, Missouri to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and describes its significance to the American West.


Just by serendipity, my husband and I happened to stop for gas for our car at the last grand landmark on the Santa Fe Trail called Wagon Mound.  The nearby butte was said to resemble a Conestoga Wagon, very much like the early settlers used to carry all their belongings and families west.



Wagon Mound butte was the last great landmark on the westward journey across the plains of northeastern New Mexico, and the guidepost seen by all travelers on the High Plains section of the Cimarron Cutoff of the Santa Fe Trail.  Click on the placard above to read more about this spot.


We continued driving north through the plains area of New Mexico.


There was not much to see in this area besides the beautiful clouds and sky.


We reached the border between New Mexico.....


....and entered our home state of Colorado, where we would travel over more of the Santa Fe Trail over Raton Pass.


Raton Pass, at 7834 feet elevation, is a mountain pass and also a National Historic Landmark. The pass is located on the eastern side of the Sangre de Christo Mountains between Trinidad, Colorado and Raton, New Mexico, approximately 100 miles northeast of Santa Fe. The pass crosses the line of volcanic mesas that extend east.


If you click on the photos above and below you can read more about the pass and a brief history of the nearby town of Trinidad, Colorado.


Trinidad became a large coal mining town, and also became a melting pot of many ethnicities due to the abundance of mining jobs.  The coal mines closed over the years, but since the 1980's companies have been drilling gas wells here to extract coal bed methane gas.


Knowing we were a couple hundred miles from home we did not do any more stops along the way. As much as we love to travel, it is always good to return to the familiarity of home.


As we pulled into our driveway, we were welcomed home by a deer in our next door neighbor's yard. I'm sure she also had a nice time eating my flowers while we were away--smile.  It was good to be back, with many happy memories and photos, that I have been delighted to share with all of you!


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58 comments:

Michelle said...

I have been to many states out west, but not to New Mexico....yet! What a gorgeous place!

happywonderer.com said...

Such beautiful scenery! That was a beautiful road trip for sure.

The Gathering Place said...

You're pictures make me want yo travel! Beautiful! The West has fascinating scenery with all the different types of mountains. That's for sharing.

Linda W. said...

Love all your sky shots - the puffy clouds, endless roads, and rainbows! Looks like a great trip.

diane b said...

You have captured the scenery and mood of the sky beautifully. What a great road trip. I have enjoyed every minute with you. Yes its always good to get home.

Gemma Wiseman said...

So many spectacular landscapes under stunning skies. And love the blue of the Hendrix bus.

Sue said...

You made it down to my stomping grounds! Did you, by chance, stay at the Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas? Such great architecture in that little town- very much like a mid-western town, unlike the rest of the state. 😀 great pics of my home state!

eileeninmd said...

Hello Pat, you did do some traveling on that road trip! New Mexico is a beautiful state. I love the landscapes and the pretty rainbow. I will have to remember the Las Vegas Wildlife Refuge. I love your greeter too, a pretty deer.

Enjoy your day and the new week ahead!

Cathy Keller said...

Welcome home!!! I must say, your photos of the rainbow just took my breath away! It's bee too many years since I've been over Raton Pass, but your photos are wonderful. Wishing you a wonderful week!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I never knew there was a Las Vegas, New Mexico. You sure saw some beatiful sights on your trip, and that rainbow was just the most beautiful frosting on the cake!

Betsy Adams said...

Sounds like you had an awesome trip in the Fall, Pat. When we headed to the Grand Canyon --we were on I-40 where you were. We spent the night in Albuquerque.. Our drive in that area was NOT nearly as pretty as yours. It was JUNE --and hotter than blue blazes...

Gorgeous rainbows... WOW!!!

Loved seeing all of your trip pictures and glad you got home safely.
Hugs,
Betsy

Christine said...

Absolutely stunning scenery and your photos of the rainbow are just awesome! I am trying to imagine how the early pioneers managed to travel so many miles in those wagons!
Wonderful post so thanks for sharing!
Christineandhercamera.blogspot.com

LV said...

Wonderful trip. Glad you let us join you. Very interesting sights.

jeannettestgermain said...

Wow, such beautiful sights - the skies are amazing! to top it with a rainbow! It has been so long ago we took a trip out there. This makes me want to go again! Many thanks for including one of the sights in SEASONS! Have a great week and "see' you soon:)

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

My husband and a group of his friends went on a motorcycle trip out west and said this part of the country was great. I can see why from looking at your photos.

NC Sue said...

Those rainbow photos are extremely cool!
Thanks for sharing at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2016/04/the-many-faces-of-louie.html

Lisa said...

Those rainbow shots are "once in a lifetime photos"! Stunning doesn't even come close to describing their beauty. The area is appropriately named The Painted Desert. We visited Sante Fe many years ago and I thought it was lovely. #LTTL

Laura said...

Exquisite views Pat. LOVE that rainbow, what a treat!

colleen said...

Are there Hendrix impersonators, like Elivs? I'm a sucker for a rainbow and am happy to say I've been to most of the places you mentioned.

Nonnie said...

Your photos are stunning! I have visited Mesa Verde, Four Corners, and Raton Pass. Beautiful country. A couple of years ago, we did a tour of the West and one of the things we did was take a simulated ride in a covered wagon. The pioneers were tough, that's for sure.

carol l mckenna said...

It is definitely a Land of Enchantment and you have captured it so well and love the deer greeting you at home ~

Wishing you a Happy Week ~ ^_^

Photo Cache said...

Easy to see why the nickname stuck. What beautiful natural scenery. I also love the Victorian houses.

Worth a Thousand Words

Donna said...

What a fabulous visit...NM is where i would love to live...specifically in Santa Fe! I fell in love with it each time I drove through....thanks for taking us along on this wonderful trip!

Donna@GardensEyeView
and LivingFromHappiness

edenhills said...

As always, these are beautiful pictures, but that rainbow is amazing!

Chandra@GreenComotion said...

What a lovely tour of your visit to NM and CO!
The rainbow photograph is very beautiful.
Hooray for Hendrix!
Have a Happy Day!
Peace :)

Christian Weiß said...

Wow, wonderful photos and a great area.

Jeannie Marie said...

What a fascinating trip with so many wonderful photos!! I loved them all, especially the beautiful rainbow! Happy Blue Monday!

Judith @ Lavender Cottage said...

Wonderful landscapes of New Mexico through your lens Pat, and what a magnificent rainbow!

Jeanne said...

Hello Pat, I have sad this many times but I so enjoy visiting your traveling posts and seeing so many places with your photos. I have never seen much of Mexico until today. Big smile here.

Happy Blue Monday,
Hugs, Jeanne

Jeanne said...

Opps typo. Said not sad.
Could be because we traveled all day from Florida and I am so tired. A great visit with our two daughters and families who live in FL.

Jeanne again.

ladyfi said...

What gorgeous shots! I love the rainbow pictures you managed to capture. Stunning!

Nora said...

Oh I loved all the photos and the wonderful colors in them. It seems so bright there. Nice rainbow. But the bus is the best one of all, saw Jimi perform so many times, brings back memories.

Denise inVA said...

What an amazing trip that was Pat. I have enjoyed all your incredible photos. Such breathtaking scenery and interesting places, and that gorgeous scene of watching the rain and the rainbow. Spectacular! Always great to get home though isn't it? A sweet welcome home from the deer too. Thank you for sharing. All very enjoyable.

Rajesh said...

Beautiful shots of the place. I like that rainbow shot.

Kris said...

A few years ago, Mom and Nana and I flew to NM. Rented a car, and drove Nana to Albuquerque to visit her sister. Then she and I drove on to Santa Fe. We stayed at the historic and lovely La Fonda! We had the best time. We took a cooking class, and ate our way through this charming city! One thing I noticed, you could stand on a soda can and see the whole state! We also went to Taos. Visited some reservations. The local people there do NOT like us visiting! I was surprised by that!
Lovely photos Pat, as always!
xo Kris

Pamela Gordon said...

There is so much beauty to see in our world and I am so glad that you share what you've seen with us here. It is all so interesting and the scenery is amazing and so different. Thanks Pat! I appreciate it very much.

Rambling Woods said...

Wow, that is beautiful and right from the car too... Love to see this for myself... Michelle

Ruth Rieckehoff said...

What an epic trip you had! One day I want to do an entire loop thru the states in the Colorado Plateau. I need to convince my husband that that can be our big trip of the year. New Mexico looks amazing!

Cheryl @ TFD said...

Your photos are spectacular, Pat! I think the scenery in NM is so beautiful and I want to see it again. There is so much to see in the CO, UT, AZ and NM that I wish I could spend months exploring! I really loved your shots of the rainbow...how neat is that to have it following! Have a nice week!

Sara - My Woodland Garden said...

What a gorgeous scenery! You have had a very interesting trip, but it's always lovely to come back home. "Welcome to colorful Colorado" sounds very nice. :)
Thank you for sharing! xx

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Your beautiful bright pictures perfectly capture the beauty that is NM.! In 1999, on our first RV trip out of the Pacific Northwest/California, we headed to Colorado to see the kids who had just moved there. Our goal after that great visit was the Texas Gulf Coast, but when we pulled into New Mexico I kind of wanted to stay there forever. There was so much natural beauty and so many things to do and see. We just loved it and it was the first time it really dawned on me that we were retired and didn't need to leave until we were ready to do so! We stayed in several great spots in the State and didn't find anything we didn't love!

podso said...

Such magnificent photos, Pat, and I'm sure they don't do justice to have amazing the scenery was. The storm clouds and the rainbow--you did a great job capturing that. You live in such a beautiful area, and so nice you can travel not so far away and see such views.

Kate said...

Stunning photos! I especially enjoyed the rain and rainbow shots.

Al said...

New Mexico is a beautiful state - I've done my share of driving in it for various reasons. Great photos!

Judy Biggerstaff said...

I have been to New Mexico. These are beautiful images, the rainbow is stunning.

Gracie said...

I keep showing your beautiful photos of the wild to my husband and he becomes more and more excited about a trip there....

Deb @ Frugal Little Bungalow said...

oh Pat what a glorious sky show in this post and that rainbow as a bonus; just beautiful! :)

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

Pat, I've enjoyed traveling with you! What gorgeous photos you have captured! The sky is so large in the west, it goes on forever. And seeing that large rainbow-oh so lovely. Thank you for taking me to the Land of Enchantment. Your welcome home greeter is a cutie! ♥

Jim said...

Beautiful sky shots.
Sydney – City and Suburbs

Art and Sand said...

We love New Mexico - our first visit years ago was to stay on a ranch in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and we fell in love.

Thanks for sharing with SYC.

Thomas Lee said...

Spectacular shots all the way

Alexander said...

Lovely day to travel and nice shot of the rainbow. Good catch!

Have a beautiful weekend!

Alexander
Alex's World! - http://alex.kakinan.com

handmade by amalia said...

I'm enjoying this series. The wide open spaces are amazing. And that rainbow!
Amalia
xo

Vee said...

Ahhh it's been a long time since I saw those big open skies. Your photos are wonderful... the rainbow looks just as if you could have found your pot of gold.

Spare Parts and Pics said...

One of my favorite states!! Those are incredible rainbow shots.

Susan Anderson said...

Amazing shots of a great trip! I am still blown away by the rainbow one…that would warm anyone's heart.

=)

Barb said...

I'm enjoying your posts about your trip. Bob and I sometimes take a mini-vacation to Taos, Sante Fe, and Albuquerque. Can you imagine crossing the country in a Conestoga Wagon? That rainbow was a bonus!

Lisa Kerner said...

My first experience of NM was on a trip with my mom to Texas when I was in middle school. I remember being blown away by the landscape. I haven't been back since, I can hardly wait to see it again.

Lisa @ LTTL