Hiking the Land of Enchantment

Travel is one of my passions in life.  A goal I have is to travel to all seven continents (I have traveled to three) and visit all 50 states (I have been to 28). One state I have wanted to see for a while is New Mexico and this summer I was fortunate to be able to meet up with two friends in Albuquerque. From their we headed to Taos and Santa Fe.

Called The Land of Enchantment because of its scenic beauty and rich history, New Mexico is exactly that. We went at the end of June into the first week of July – with elevations over 5,300 feet in Albuquerque, 7,000 feet starting in Taos, and 7,200 feet in Santa Fe – it was relatively cool for summer. From Albuquerque we headed to Taos and along the way we went on a few hikes. First we hiked the Petroglyph National Monument in the Boca Negro Canyon which was once a volcano that erupted and is now a canyon with many petroglyphs etched into the lava rock.

A petroglyph etched in a lava boulder.
A petroglyph etched in a lava boulder.

Next we headed to Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. I have never experienced a hike this beautiful. The pictures do not fully capture the grandeur of it all. We meandered through nooks and up (and then down) sharp ascents.

The base of the climb.
The base of the climb.
Along the way
Along the way
At the summit.
At the summit.
View from the top.
View from the top.

Once we reached Taos, which is a ski village in the winter, we went up to Taos Mountain Village to hike up to Williams Lake. Starting at an elevation of 10,223 feet and summiting at 11,229 feet, we climbed through the tree line and thin air.

Along the trail.
Along the trail.
Along the way up.
Along the way up.
Williams Lake at the top of the hike.
Williams Lake at the top of the hike.

On our way back to town we took a detour to see the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge which crosses the Rio Grande. While I do not have a fear of heights, I do have a fear of falling. Standing on a windy bridge that is the seventh highest bridge in the US at 565 feet, I was a bit nervous for this photo op:

Holding the rail tightly...
Holding the rail tightly…

In Santa Fe we went out to Bandelier National Monument for another hike. The area was originally settled by ancestors to the Puebloan peoples dating back to 1150 AD. Yet another hike to see the great beauty of the state so aptly called The Land of Enchantment.

 bandelier

At Bandelier

In all we hiked 16.4 miles including a few other trails along the way. Now it would not be a complete vacation without good food and seeing the sites, which I plan on sharing in my next post about this enchanting land.

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