Jun 28, 2010

New Mexico, end of trip

A few photos from Carlsbad Caverns:

Carlsbad Caverns natural entranceThis gigantic hole in the ground was feared by early settlers in New Mexico.

Carlsbad Caverns
Carlsbad Caverns
Carlsbad Caverns
Views of Chaco Canyon, ruins of ancient pueblos:

Chaco Canyon
This was once a thriving city with a population of thousands of people. They traded with the Mesa Verde people, as well as coastal people and Mexican Aztec people. The city went into decline in the 12th century A.D.

Chaco CanyonIf you plan to visit this remote site, be prepared for a full day. The easiest route includes twelve miles of washboard dirt roads, and the nearest town with a hotel is over 80 miles away.

Whites Sands National Monument, after a rainstorm:

White Sands
White Sands
surfing White Sands Photographs can't do that sunset justice. We hiked away from the road and lay on a towel. The sand was damp, and the temperature was perfect. We also saw a rainbow, and a huge full moon that night.

sunset over White Sands

Jun 22, 2010

New Mexico, Day 4

Day 2:
I brought a video camera into Carlsbad Caverns, since it handles low light better ... I will capture still shots from the video when I get home. Suffice it to say that Carlsbad Caverns is a beautiful walking trip, about 1 to 2 miles of subterranean hiking. Every bend reveals a new array of colorful pillars, stalactites like needles, stalagmites like giant drip castles, and chandeliers made of rock. The trip took us about 3 or 4 hours.

Afterwards, we drove to Roswell and settled into a quaint motel built in the adobe style. Roswell is a strange town. We began to suspect everyone who lives there might be part alien. Here's a photo of a gift shop on the main drag:

Roswell alien gift shop
Day 3:
We drove to Albuquerque, and stayed with a friend I met via the Odyssey workshop. This was a laid back day, playing Skib-Bo and Bananagrams.

friend's pueblo style house in Albuquerque
Day 4:
We hiked around Petroglyph National Monument, right outside Albuquerque. It was a hot day to be hiking up a hill, but the view and petroglyphs were worth it!

Petroglyphs left by Native Americans in New Mexico
Then we drove up to Santa Fe, and had lunch at a cafe in downtown, which is full of beautiful pueblo-style buildings, art galleries, and very narrow and winding streets.

cafe in downtown Santa Fe
We're looking forward to tonight, when we will be having dinner with a fantasy author, of whom we're all fans.

Jun 20, 2010

New Mexico, Day 1

Since this hotel has wifi, I've decided to try and post a day-by-day account of our road trip through New Mexico. My friend Amy flew in from Rhode Island the night before, and we had a dinner with writers before leaving Austin in the morning. We arrived in Carlsbad, New Mexico last night around 7pm MST, after dealing with tourists in Fredericksburg, Texas, and then driving for about 8 hours west. The whole 8 hour drive is a lot of Texas canyonlands. I think we saw a few ghost towns on the way. There was one Burger King, and maybe three gas stations. Lots of roadkill, including a wild boar and a vulture eating a deer (we didn't kill the animals, just drove past them).

Anyway, we checked into our hotel in Carlsbad, met up with our friend Brian, who drove down from Colorado, and went to dinner at a very crowded Chili's--apparently the only restaurant in town, other than a Subway. But we had a good time catching up.

So now we're ready to tour Carlsbad Caverns! I have my Flip video camera (since it handles darkness pretty well), and I'll see if I'm permitted to bring it into the cave.