Winter is the right time to hike New Mexico. No scorpions or rattlesnakes in sight. John Wayne riding through an arroyo after the bad guys is easy to imagine (his movie The Cowboys was filmed here in 1972). Sharing a trail with a steer is possible if you’re near good water. And coyotes call to each other late into the night. One down side: it’s almost impossible to stop humming Happy Trails.
The next time someone says they’d like to live in the mountains imagine life in the Puye Cliff Dwellings of northern New Mexico. Over the course of a millennia Native Americans dug caves and built adobe like structures into the mountain for shelter in winter. Pottery shards are widely scattered displaying their creative use of color and design.
Named for their blood red appearance at sunset, the Sangre de Cristo mountains are the southern most range of the Rocky Mountains traversing southern Colorado and New Mexico. The low foothills around Santa Fe are dotted with sparse groves of pinyon pine, prickly pear and cholla cactus perfect for hiking even during the winter months.
The tiny village of Trinidad California tucked behind its beach head and 19th century replica lighthouse has a long history. First as a village site for native peoples before harboring Spaniards, Russians and Brits in the 1500-1600s. European settlers arrived in the 1800s; their grave markers still evident in the town’s cemetery. Today Trinidad is a tourist mecca and fishing village known for supplying Dungeness crabs to California and states beyond.
If you’ve ever been hit by even a small wave you know there’s power behind that water. Sea stacks are the eroded rock formation left standing after a millennia of wave activity. They add character to an already beautiful coastline AND make great nesting sites for birds and other wildlife.
With all those tasty treats around it’s not uncommon to gain five pounds or more between Halloween and New Years. Which means NOW is a great time to walk your favorite sidewalk, path or trail. There’s a good chance you’ll encounter one of your neighbors looking to stay ahead of the curve (pun intended) too!
With sunsets like these it’s easy to understand why California is called the Golden State. According to Stephen Corfidi NOAA meteorologist, these colors are no accident. As a region on the earth’s surface rotates away from the sun the extra long wavelengths that remain visible to the human eye at sunset happen to be the orange, red and golden hues. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
California’s old growth redwoods are out of this world. Thankfully through efforts of many preservation groups we can be both awed and inspired. So inspired was Hollywood, scenes for the fictitious Moon of Endor from Star Wars Return of the Jedi were filmed in the state’s Redwood National and State Parks where these photos were taken.