Tuesday, June 30, 2015

autohiking north on Monday

I packed lunch and we headed north on US 84 towards Abiquiu around 10 a.m. yesterday.    This is Georgia O'Keeffe country and we looked forward to seeing her inspiration.   A reservation is required to tour her home, and we didn't have one, so we were content to just drive around and experience the landscape.

We came upon Abuquiu Reservoir, a Corps of Engineers developed water recreation area and decided it was the perfect spot for lunch.

Dave checks out our potential lunch spot

It was warm and so very quiet.   There were a few people enjoying the water  and picnicking on its shores, but otherwise it was just us and the birds.   We enjoyed watching a pair of Western Grebes diving and fishing for their lunch.

The shore was lined with smooth pink rocks punctuated with tiny yellow flowers.  A perfect spot to just sit and enjoy the world.

All good things must come to an end.    Luckily we were finished eating and were just soaking up the sun and the sights when a group of about 10 motorcycles pulled in.     They dismounted and swarmed over one end of the shoreline, erecting a sun shade, and talking loudly about their drive up.    Loudly.    Pretty soon their "chase" truck arrived complete with an onboard gas grill and lots of large coolers.    Tables were set up, grilling and drinking commenced - time for us to go!

We continued down the road to find the Corps. of Engineer's Campground.   It is quite nice, we'd love to stay there the next time we're in the area.   Further along we came to the earthen dam and visitor's center, with more beautiful views of the water.

We left the Reservoir area with a promise to return the next time we're in northern New Mexico.      Instead of driving back the way we came (something Dave almost never opts to do) we continued north on US 84 intending to turn west on US 64, then south on US 284 and back into Santa Fe.    More spectacular scenery.

We saw a National Forest Service sign for Echo Amphitheater so we made a quick left, put our National Park Service card on the dash and set off on a wide, flat path toward the sounds of squealing children.

If you know us, you know that walking toward the sound of squealing, shrieking children is not something we normally do

The path led us up through a cool stand of stunted trees and underbrush, past small flowering cactus and fantastic rock formations.   Little girls high pitched voices urged us on.

It was absolutely wonderful hearing the little voices echoing off the natural echo chamber before us.    The kids were mesmerized by their voices bouncing around, they were crazy about how far their voices would carry and so were we.   They were doing what we would have done years ago, before our adult filters made us aware of politeness, of not bothering other people, of not looking or sounding foolish.   They did what we secretly wanted to do.

looking directly over my head in the amphitheater

The kids were herded away and we were finally there alone.   A different experience all together, equally wonderful to be there in silence with only birdsong echoing off the walls.     We stayed awhile until the sound of thunder began to ricochet around us.     Uh Oh.....time to hot foot it back to the car.  

By the time we got buckled up and ready to drive the sky was dark.    We decided to just continue on our route and see what the weather would be.   Its only rain after all.

The ride along US 64 took us high along a ridge in the Carson National Forest.    It was lined with tall pines, ferns and wild flowers.

   We stopped at tiny Hopewell Lake (9500 feet above sea level) and watched people fish for awhile.    It was a beautiful ride, it was a long ride, but altogether a beautiful one.   When we got back to Beluga at 5:30 we realized that we'd driven over 230 miles!    No wonder we were tired!

We leave Santa Fe tomorrow.   We'll  spent a couple days at Sugarite Canyon just at the border of New Mexico and Colorado before heading back up to Golden, Colorado.


  1. What a perfectly lovely day seeing places I've yet to visit. thank you for taking me there! That blooming cactus is striking.

  2. Great autohike!! Those painted hills are gorgoeus. I've needed a rock fix and you provided it:) Thanks for taking along on your fun day. Glad you were able to enjoy your lunch before those motorcycle riders took over the quiet. Love that blooming cholla!

  3. We love drives like this, where you can stop or not. Looks like some pretty sweet places to enjoy the views and take your people noise in measured doses. Children being silly is so delightful, not sure I could have kept quiet in an echo chamber :-) Love the pics, especially the gnarly log. I think I'm starting to miss the sunshine a bit.

  4. I enjoyed your sightseeing especially these areas we have never been. And would should be on our list sometime fall.
    The wildflowers on US 64 is enough for me to swoon over.