Cerillos Hills State Park

During my three-week jaunt around New Mexico, I tended to circle back toward Sandia Park one day of the weekend to visit my friend Tina.  Of course, this visit also included using the washer and dryer and taking a long shower.  I must have driven through Madrid, a cute town between Sandia Park (Albuquerque) and Santa Fe, three times and never stopped.  As a result, I insisted we do hike nearby and go for lunch.  In so doing, we visited Cerillos Hills State Park.


Three Fall Hikes Near Taos

Taos is located in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in north-central New Mexico.  The artsy town is home to a world-class ski resort and features many outdoor activity options.  As a hiking enthusiast, I checked out three trails while visiting this fall. 


Things To Do in Alamogordo

Alamogordo, the county seat of Otero, is located in the Tularosa Basin of the Chihuahuan Desert in southern New Mexico. 

Alamogordo was founded in 1898 when the El Paso and Northeastern Railroad came to the area.  It was designed as a company town to persist after construction of the railway, for which Alamogordo supplied timber for the railroad ties.

With the establishment of the White Sands National Monument in 1934, Alamogordo’s economy became more reliant on tourism until the Alamogordo Army Air Field (present-day Holloman Air Force Base) was constructed in 1942.

While the White Sands National Monument is still one of the largest attraction in the Alamogordo, the Air Force Base on the city’s western flank also has a significant presence. 

When visiting the area, you will see how space oriented the area is.  Some things to do in Alamogordo including the following:

instruments in the dunn telescope

Sunspot Solar Observatory

History of the Sunspot Solar Observatory

The site was selected in 1947 after World War II as “Solar Weather” interfered with radio and radar communications during the war.  The premier solar observatory at the time was located near Climax, Colorado at 11,000 feet.  During winter months it could not be reached, and it was frequently cloudy.

As a result, scientist Jack Evans who worked at the High Altitude Observatory in Climax along with two others was tasked with finding a new site which would be funded by the newly formed United State Air Force.

The site, which overlooks the Tularosa Basin and White Sands Missile Range, is isolated from major air pollution and enjoys many sunny days in the dry, arid climate.  Consequently, it is an excellent place to observe solar flares.



So, one of the things I love to do is take tours of factories, farms, and the like.  I always find it interesting to see how things are grown and processed and what machines are used in the process.  Today, I visited PistachioLand near Alamorgordo, New Mexico.

It is easily located on US 70 with the world’s largest 35-foot pistachio nut that stands out front.  The tour guide claimed it wasn’t for attracting people, but simply a son’s way of honoring his father who used to take him on road trips to see large attractions as a kid.

Of course, however, it attracts many including Larry the Cable Guy, Al Roker, and the Ozzy Osbourne family who have all filmed there.

sunrise in Chaco Culture National Historical Park

Chaco Culture National Historical Park – Day 3

For my third full day in Chaco Culture National Historical Park I hiked to Peñasco Blanco.  The trailhead to Peñasco Blanco is located at the Pueblo del Arroyo parking lot, and the 7.2-mile hike is the longest in Chaco Culture National Historical Park.  Aside from the length, this dog friendly hike is very easy.

annie in chaco culture national historical park

Chaco Culture National Historical Park – Day 2

Hungo Pavi

For my second day in Chaco Culture National Historical Park, I visited Una Vida by the Visitor Center, Hungo Pavi, Kin Kletso, the Pueblo Alto Complex, and Pueblo del Arroyo. Due to the one-way, 8-mile driving loop in Chaco Canyon, I stopped at Hungo Pavi first.

Hungo Pavi great house is located at the mouth of Mockingbird Canyon near natural drainages, seeps, and springs.  It is the most accessible great house in Chaco Culture National Historical Park. It takes little time to visit, and I popped in without Annie before continuing to my next back country hike with my crazy mutt.

pueblo bonito, chaco culture national historical park

Chaco Culture National Historical Park – Day 1

Chaco Culture National Historical Park features many Chacoan ruins from 1,000 years ago.  President Theodore Roosevelt designated the area as a National Monument in 1907 and it became a National Historical Park in 1980.  Chaco Culture National Historical Park is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, gaining the designation in 1987.

Chaco Culture National Historical Park is located in the middle of nowhere New Mexico.  It is surrounded by Indian land and as a result, the drive through the high desert fields to get there is sparse.  The park may be reached from the south or the north.

mama moose and baby in state forest state park

State Sign Challenge: Colorado

Just as with the State of Washington sign, I didn’t have any trouble finding the Colorful Colorado sign.  In fact, I have had this photo for some time!  For those who can’t figure this costume out, I’m John Denver and Annie is weed (Rocky Mountain High)!

If you have a fun state sign photo (taken responsibly), please share.  Join the challenge.