Enchanted Once Again

Just when I start to wonder if we have run out of new places to explore, we discover another New Mexico treasure in our back yard. Well, not exactly our back yard but close enough for a day hike from Albuquerque.

The Ojito Wilderness is a vast no man’s land northwest of town that we have explored on previous hikes. The challenge is always navigating the rough, dirt roads that can become impassable in wet weather. Late October is a safe bet for finding dry conditions, sunny skies and cool temperatures. A cold front had passed through the state last night and the forecast called for strong winds and a drastic drop in temperatures. As it turned out, we had great hiking weather. The roads were dicey in a couple of areas but not as bad as some that we have been on.

We were following driving directions to a parking area that would be the beginning of a 6-mile out and back hike into Tapia Canyon. The last mile of driving on a 2-track dirt road, though, wasn’t doable in our car. So our hike was 8 miles, by the time that we did the extra walk from the car to the descent into the canyon.

One of the roads through the Rio Puerco Valley on the way to the hike.
The road to Tapia Canyon passes through Guadalupe Ghost Town–several abandoned adobe buildings, including this 2-story.
Heading into the canyon.
Looks like a face, sternly guarding the entrance to the canyon.
This one reminded me of a dog.
Fall colors.
Swallow nests in the cliff walls.
Several panels of ancestral Pueblo rock carvings could be seen along the canyon walls.

Walking under this “natural bridge” led into a narrow slot canyon.

Nature’s Rock Art.
Man’s Rock Art.
The trail climbed out of the canyon at one point to view this Pueblo ruin.

View from rim of canyon towards Cabezon Peak.

As the crow flies, this hike isn’t that far from Albuquerque, although by the time that you wind over all of the dirt roads it is a long drive. But the drive is more than worth it, not just for the hike, but for the scenery that you pass along the way. And one of the best parts is that the whole day we were out there enjoying this marvelous New Mexico landscape we did not see another person. A truly enchanting day in the Land of Enchantment.

Author: bjregan

Enjoying retirement activities. Main goals for retirement are to stay spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally healthy.

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