me and annie in chaco culture national historical park

Two Weeks in New Mexico

State Sign Challenge: New Mexico

I already posted a pic of me and Annie in front of the New Mexico State Sign as that was my first border crossing in VANgo six months ago.  My excitement got the best of me since I wasn’t even spending any length of time in New Mexico on my way to Arizona.  Regardless, here it is again now that I’m writing my summary of my time spent here.  In case you didn’t know, the roadrunner is New Mexico’s state bird. If you have a fun state sign photo (taken responsibly), I’d love to see it!

Before I start talking about New Mexico, for the holidays this year GPSMyCity, the company who uses my posts for walks around cities, is letting me give away 10 free “memberships.” If you are interested, comment below, and you can use the app for free (a $19.99) for a year. I have found their maps very useful for my travels, and despite being approached by many companies to promote, this is one of the few that I do. Check them out. There’s no catch, and I don’t get anything in return. I will tell them you are one of my ten that want it.

quarai of the salinas pueblos missions

Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument

Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument is a complex of three Spanish missions located near Mountainair, New Mexico.  The area was originally inhabited by the Tiwa and Tompiro language-speaking pueblo people who operated a thriving trade community.

In the 1620’s, however, the Spanish missionaries and government came to the area.  The Franciscan friars tried teaching and enforcing their faith on the Indians.  At first the Indians were cooperative as the Spanish brought useful tools and other materials.  For over 15 years, they helped the missionairies build big churches and learned their ways. 


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.