Skiing along the edge of a thirteen (13) mile wide caldera is well, intimidating! The below photo shows only a small portion of the Valles Caldera which is now a national preserve. Formed over a million years ago when a volcanic dome erupted, geothermal activity ie soaking in hot springs is a popular activity in this part of Northern New Mexico.
Delightful to see several inches of new snow falling today. In the high desert we learn to appreciate precipitation in any form! Despite our dry climate, the spotted towhee thrives here year round. A colorful bird with lots of personality, it’s bold like a cardinal yet playful like chickadee.
There’s the old seafarer’s red sky at morn sailors be warned. Hikers need a similar cautioning like white trail at dawn hikers may face plant on the rocks. It doesn’t roll off the tongue as nicely, but a good reminder none-the-less.
Getting to the highest point at Santa Fe Ski takes about an hour of SLOW progress. Up hill hiking in thin air provides ample opportunity to pause and enjoy the view across the valley to Los Alamos, the one time secret location of the Manhattan Project.
In town it feels like fall + summer = fummer. But up here at 12,000 feet the ski hill employees are getting ready for a new season. Trickles of water flow under thin patches of ice. Winds chap your face to a bright red. And aspens transition from yellow to brown. Riding the lift for a better view just $12.
On an abandoned road outside Santa Fe New Mexico I surprised this coyote looking for a meal. At my home just up the road it’s common to see a roadrunner around the structure looking for small lizards and bugs. Overall a good example of the food chain here in the high desert.
Of course all the days are 24 hours but FALL officially ends today starting WINTER’S slow progression. A nice lenticular cloud formed over the western horizon and cool blasts of air tell us to watch the time or get caught on the trail after sunset now at the latter end of the 4 o’clock hour.
Out west people stop on the roadside to take pictures of the setting sun. It’s a good time to count your cold weather blessings too…yes another day of direct sunshine and free vitamin D.
A ten mile hike through the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains puts one in the right frame of mind to handle the upcoming holiday stress. It’s also an effective way to burn extra calories in anticipation of the inevitable holiday treats!
6-7 million years ago volcanoes dispersed ash and rock over what’s now northern New Mexico in some areas up to 1000 feet thick! Weather, wind and water flows have eroded these deposits leaving an unworldly place now called Tent Rocks National Monument. In recent millennia native peoples have lived here (notice the fire scorched cave ceiling) benefiting from its closeness to the Rio Grande.