Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A quick visit to Los Alamos

We made a trip today to Los Alamos, New Mexico (an hour's drive west from Santa Fe) for John to see an oral surgeon there. After his appointment, we had a little time to walk around the grounds of Fuller Lodge next door to the dentist's office, and we got some pictures.

Fuller Lodge was originally one of the largest structures at the Los Alamos Boys Ranch School; it was built in 1928, and was taken over by the Army in 1942 for housing post personnel as the nuclear labs at Los Alamos grew during the war. The building and the grounds right now are part of a neat historical park and museum. The little museum is an especially good one chronicling the history of the Ranch School and the growth of the Army presence and Manhattan Project in Los Alamos during World War II.

During wartime, military personnel or their family members that died were not allowed to be buried in the town and were interred elsewhere. For each person who died, a rose bush was planted here at Fuller Lodge, and this very old rose garden still remains and is cared for by the ladies of a Los Alamos Garden Club:

WE HAD LUNCH AT EL PARASOL, guacamole and pork burritoes that were delicious:

Los Alamos is a beautiful town of 12,000; it sits high up on several plateaus in the northern Jemez Mountains at 7320 feet. It has also been called "the hill" since World War II days. The trip up the mountain and then the return trip back down have breath-taking scenery that has some of the most gorgeous views in the state. Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of the mountain vistas. Next time.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Rain barrels

Last weekend John bought two rain barrels to put under our canales (drain spouts) to catch the precious rain that falls here in New Mexico so we can use it for watering our flowers and trees.

Each barrel holds 60 gallons of water. In two rain storms this week, the rain barrels have been filled. They have water spigots at the bottom to fill our watering cans. Pretty cool.

The Train Station at Lamy, New Mexico

This past Monday we went to Lamy for my brother-in-law Gary to catch his Amtrak train back east. It was a beautiful day and the wait under the big trees in Lamy was pleasant.

But -- the station is looking shabby. At least the exterior, I didn't go inside. The outside could use a fresh new coat of stucco. I feel bad that the first impression that visitors getting off the train get of the Santa Fe area is the rundown station.

AND - the train was late. THEN after arriving late, the train sat there for three hours while they got a new engine for it - they were having problems with the engine on the eastbound train -- and the westbound incoming train had two engines - but even so it took them an awfully long time to get back underway.

The train DID look intriguing, and gave us ideas about taking a little Amtrak trip someday in the future.

Cerro Pedernal

Cerro Pedernal is a narrow mesa that lies at the north end of the Jemez Mountain range, south of Abiquiu Lake. It's highest point is 9,862 feet. The name means "flint hill". It is an area of interesting geology. The peak is capped by the results of lava flows almost 8 million years ago, and the resulting rock is andesite and basalt, which came from the area of Encino Peak, a volcano to the southwest. You can google Cerro Pedernal and find loads of geologic information.

So much for geology. The reason I am intrigued by Cerro Pedernal is because of its role in the life of the late American landscape artist, Georgia O'Keeffe, who lived in the area during the last several decades of her life and for whom Cerro Pedernal was not only a subject for at least a dozen of her paintings but also a mountain she loved and hiked several times.

O'Keefe often called Pedernal her own private mountain, saying "God told me if I painted it often enough I could have it." After her death in 1986 her ashes were scattered at the top.

The day we went to Abiquiu and on up to Echo Amphitheater, the scenery was so utterly stunning that it could take your breath away. But there, for miles, Cerro Pedernal loomed on the western horizon, and my gaze kept returning to it. I could easily see the allure it held for Georgia O'Keefe for so many years of her life.

Here are the photos I took that day:

Friday, June 26, 2009

Echo Amphitheater

Echo Amphitheater is a natural rock formation located 17 miles northwest of Abiquiu, New Mexico; it is located on Carson National Forest land.

Hiking up to the amphitheater from the parking lot is worth the ten minute walk because near the amphitheater there is an echo phenomena that is really fun.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Abiquiu Lake/Abiquiu Dam, New Mexico

Abiquiu Reservoir / Dam was constructed in 1963 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the Rio Chama watershed. Abiquiu Lake now covers about 2,000 acres of land north of Abiquiu, on land that was formerly a part of Ghost Ranch. It's quite a sight!

Abiquiu, New Mexico

We wrapped up our trip around part of northern New Mexico last week with a visit to the area around Abiquiu. I have many "favorite" parts of NM and Abiquiu is high on the list. We've been up there many times. The red rock mountains there, the Rio Chama, Abiquiu Dam -- all make for pretty breath-taking scenery.

El Rito, New Mexico

The day following our trip around the Enchanted Circle, we headed west out of Taos, where the scenery changed a lot and we went through smaller mountains and high desert terrain. These pictures were taken in and around El Rito, New Mexico:

Completing the circle.

Just a few more pictures as we complete our trip around the Enchanted Circle in northern New Mexico: