Peggy and I are sitting in our van on the edge of the Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Reserve on the Rio Grande River in central New Mexico. It’s supposed to be a major winter gathering place for numerous species of waterfowl, even the close to extinct whooping crane. We are watching as sandhill cranes return to the reserve in long lines after a day feeding along the river. At least a thousand have flown by so far.
We were greeted by a road runner when we came into the campground. The owner told us to watch out for wild pigs. I wonder if he meant peccaries. They are nastier than pigs and come with razor sharp tusks, great for rooting up food— or doing serious damage to pesky tourists. Here piggy, piggy, piggy. We saw lots of fresh tracks this morning when we were hiking up a desert wash near Los Lunas looking for petroglyphs, but there were no peccaries.
Other than the train that just roared by and the sound of sandhill cranes settling in for the night, it seems extraordinarily quiet here. If you travel 30 miles due east from where we are, however, you come on the Trinity site where the first atomic bomb was blown up on July 16, 1945, forever changing the world. A bit farther east, Smokey the Bear was discovered in a tree hiding out from a wildfire in 1950, and Billy the Kid practiced his fast-gun draws in the Lincoln County War of 1878. Continue on and you come to Roswell where UFO fans will forever declare that flying saucers crashed in 1947 and the government hid the fact. Traveling the opposite direction into the Rockies some 60 miles, the Very Large Array of radio telescopes searches the skies for alien life and other astronomical wonders. Lots has happened in this quiet place.
I rode my bike through here in 1989 as part of my 10,000-mile bike trek around North America. I crossed the Rockies in one day, bicycling 100 miles. If that seems a bit daunting, like it did to me at the time, the second 50-miles were all downhill. Woohoo!
We have just completed a delightful few days of exploring Taos, Abiquiu and Ghost Ranch following in the footsteps of Georgia O’Keefe and her friend Ansel Adams. It should make a fun blog. But that is all in the future. Today I want to share a few of the photos we took at the Hubble Trading Post, Canyon De Chelly and at Monument Valley. (Written a few days ago.)
NEXT POST: The New Mexico world of Georgia O’Keefe and Ansel Adams.
36 thoughts on “The Hubble Trading Post, Canyon de Chelly, and Monument Valley…”
Glorious post, Curt with stunning photos and fascinating descriptions! Awe-inspiring and you bring us right along on your trip, tour … just glad the peccaries stayed away! 😀
Thanks, Annika! We always enjoy posting about our adventures. The Southwest is special. And actually, we would have enjoyed seeing some peccaries. 🙂 –Curt
That, in many ways, is our favorite part of the country. We first visited Hubble in 1981 and have been back several times. I try to keep Alie away – she always buys a rug. 🙂
Laughing, Ray. There are certainly a lot of beautiful rugs there to buy. And the area is special, both from its historical perspective and its beauty. I should add geology as well and Native American lore. –Curt
Gorgeous. I was last here at age 14 when you could explore at will on your own.
Yes it is gorgeous, Cindy, and we are finding more and more places where limits are placed on what you can do. Sad. In a way, I understand it, but it doesn’t make me happy, like the petroglyphs being fenced off in Petrified National Park. We are so used to wandering among the petroglyphs. –Curt
Such gorgeous landscapes! I’d like to explore the cave dwellings and meet some of the locals. It sounds like a relaxing, yet educational place to visit. The trading post is a must-stop for me. I love places like that in the Southwest.
The Southwest is packed full of places I am sure you would like, Juliann! Peggy and I love it. I’ll do some more on the trading post. –Curt
Fabulous pictures Curt. Monument Valley was one of my favourite places on my National Parks tour in 1995 because of my love of Western Movies. Thanks for the memory nudge!
Thanks! I’ll do another more detailed post on Canyon de Chelly and Monument Valley, Andrew, including talking more about the movies! Our guide, James, BTW, trained horses for appearing in Western movies. –Curt
I remember signs saying ‘keep to the paths’ so not to walk across precious fauna and damage it. I couldn’t help thinking that John Ford was allowed to run a full cavalry brigade and an entire Indian nation across the valley!
Laughing. And you are exactly right, Andrew. The Navajos are quite appreciative of the fame that Ford brought to their area. And tourists. There is even a John Ford overlook. What seemed a bit strange to me is that he named all of the monuments and the Navajo Nation has kept his names rather than using their own, which I think might be more interesting. – Curt
A magnificent place to be, Curt. Each picture was as interesting as the last.
But, you had to go there to see a road runner, while I just had to go grocery shopping last Sunday to stop and have a conversation with a 3-foot wood stork!!
He sure was a lay-back fella!!
Thanks, G. As for Florida, I have experienced that ‘wonderful bird’ on every corner and look forward to doing so again! –Curt
After 49 years here, that was my first wood stork to greet me. Just too crowded for them anymore.
Sad to hear that, G. I guess they haven’t adapted like some of the other birds, black buzzards, for example. 🙂
We have turkey buzzards to pick up the slack! 🙂
I’ll bet. And anything else that is edible and left out in the open!
Great pics and commentary. Thanks for reminding me of the Fickle Finger of Fate.
Rowan and Martin was a must-see program for me, Peggy. And I always waited to see who would get the Fickle Finger of Fate award! We could use some humor like that now. :)–Curt
I’m so glad I decided to follow your blog! Although I’ve been to many of the places you describe in your blog, you have a way of presenting them with a different perspective that deepens the experience for me. Thank you.
Much appreciated. We are glad to have you following along. Peggy and I love to explore the world around us and to share our experiences. Thanks. –Curt
Awesome places, Curt! And great pictures. Peggy knows how to capture special moments, for sure!
That she does, Christie. Of course it helps to be surrounded by such beauty. 🙂 Thanks. –Curt
What a spectacular place! Thanks for the fabulous photos.
It is. And it is definitely our pleasure, Carol.
Curt, this post is so beautiful that I now find I don’t know where to start to respond to all that grips me. Read your post yesterday and thought another read today would help to get a response together. No dice.
I love it all, from the first monument through and including the rocks with the faces that seem to laugh at you. Oh, the rock dwellings … , you see what I mean.
It would be an essay.
So, thank you
Thank you, Miriam. It’s a very special area full of beauty, history, and a bit of wackiness to balance things out. I appreciate your generous comments. –Curt
What a gorgeous place this is, and that opening shot is stunning. It sounds as if you’re having a grand adventure!
A grand adventure it was, Alison. (We arrived back home yesterday.) Many more posts coming. 🙂 Thanks on the first photo. I saw the old stump off to the side and knew it had potential to enhance was already and impressive site. –Curt
I had a hard time not completing your “Hubble” with “telescope” when I read the title, and after looking through the photos, it seems like it might have fit, after all. There’s an unworldly, or other-worldly, beauty to all this, and you can Peggy capture it wonderfully well. I especially like those curled toes — or claws, if you will. I don’t remember seeing something quite like them in your previous posts. I like the curves.
The ‘other worldly’ beauty of the Southwest is what pulls us back to the area time and time again, Linda. That and the history combined with the Native American and ancient people’s cultures. I have posts coming up on the Taos Pueblo and the Three River’s Petroglyph site, Georgia O’Keefe’s New Mexico and several more on the natural beauty of the area. There is no lack of blog material. (grin) What’s lacking is time! –Curt
I see pictures like this and keep wondering, why has it been so long since I’ve been to the Southwest? The one trip I did make, way back when, didn’t include Monument Valley. Looks like it should, should I ever return.
Nothing to do Dave but grab your camera and head for the Southwest! We hardly touched on what there is to see in a month. –Curt
Absolutely loved Canyon de Chelle and could have, should have spent more time walking around and through and taking pictures. Yours are lovely. I’m also fond of Navajo rugs, although the one we bought in Santa Fe looks a bit out of place among my East Tennessee things. No matter. I’ve found that travelers don’t really have a style — just collected things and lots of memories. Works for us.
We are right there with you on Canyon de Shelley, Rusha! Great beauty. But we haven’t bought any Navajo rugs yet. 🙂 –Curt