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.


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.


Day 193 – New Mexico North – Part 3

Day 193 of Year Long Road Trip Along America’s Scenic Byways

Cimarron Canyon State Park

After a quick stop in Red River, New Mexico for some one-day old donuts and coffee, VANilla weaved through the mountains and sped through the meadows to reach red granite cliffs Cimarron Canyon State Park.  At mile marker 292, we found what would have been a seven mile roundtrip hike had we completed the entire walk along Clear Creek Canyon Trail.  Instead we took about a two hour stroll along this Cimarron River tributary.

Cimarron River tributary in New Mexico

The creek was extremely over grown with bushes and trees, as was the path in some cases.  We climbed over a handful of fallen trees and crossed a number of bridges before we came upon a patch of violet butterflies.  They flocked to the ground between the trail and the river like a swarm of bees on honeycomb.  As we walked by, they flew around in a frenzy only to rest in the same area just seconds later.

great spangled fritillary in new mexico

Just past the butterflies, we reached a ten foot waterfall and a steep part to the trail.  We climbed the stair-stepped path supported by logs, followed the trail down toward the river, and then came face to face with a large, rock outcropping.  From the down river side, scaling the boulder looked quite ominous to Petey.  I had to set my backpack and camera down, straddle the obstacle, and lift my 60 pound mutt over the two foot monster!

great spangled fritillary in new mexico

Much to Petey’s liking, the path leveled out and for the most part remained shaded by pines and firs as we continued up river spotting orange
butterflies patterned with white dots and black stripes resting on white and yellow wildflowers.  We passed by several more small waterfalls (or perhaps large rapids) beneath the smoke filled sky, when we finally reached a forty foot fall which became our resting spot and turn around point. 

On our return trip to VANilla, the two foot monster no longer seemed impassable to Petey.  He dutifully turned part mountain goat and navigated the difficult terrain.  He even took a dip in the creek up to his belly instead of following me across the bridge. As my shadow, this was an unusual breach of character.

Sugarite Canyon State Park

After our hike, we briefly tooled around Cimarron, once ruled by Billy the Kid, Jesse James, and Wyatt Earp, before finding the Lake Alice Campground in Sugarite Canyon State Park northeast of Raton.  This campground was a bargain.  It only cost $10 and a free shower house was only one-mile down the road at the visitor’s entrance.  I know where my first stop in the morning will be.  ETB

Map of My Road Trip Across the USA

For a summary about my road trip across the USA, click HERE. For the interactive map, see the below link.

Other Articles About New Mexico You May Like


Check out the photographic note cards and key chains at my shop.  Each card has a travel story associated with it.  20% of proceeds are donated to charity.

photographic note card, western tiger swallowtail butterfly
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jemez falls, new mexico

Day 190 – Jemez Mountain Trail – Part 2

Day 190 of Year Long Road Trip Along America’s Scenic Byways

After another night in New Mexico’s forest, I was bound and determined to get to Jemez Falls.  The only way I knew how was to walk through the closed campgrounds or go to the East Fork Trailhead.  I thought the walk through the campground would be shorter for Petey, so I chose that route which ended up being at least 1.5 miles on a paved road before we got to the short trail. 


Day 189 – Jemez Mountain Trail

Day 189 of Year Long Road Trip Along America’s Scenic Byways

Echo Amphitheater

It turned out that a geocache was hidden just down the road from where I camped in Carson National Forest.  I found it not too far from another makeshift campground which included a homemade toilet – a wooden box with a toilet seat covering the hole.  After finding the cache, we took 84 south past farmland to Echo Amphitheater, a natural echo chamber carved into a sandstone cliff by wind and water. 

Petey joined me in the short, paved walk to the cliff where I hollered GO MAVS and listened as the walls repeated my exclamation.  This location in New Mexico is also a virtual cache, so I got to log another one!