Tag Archives: travel

Fall Foliage Tour — Beginning the Enchanted Circle of New Mexico


Taos Loop Fall Foliage-024

Early last October Ursula and I took a little road trip.  It began with a stop at Trinity Site, location of the first atomic bomb detonation.  You can see links to my articles on that adventure below following today’s post.  As for the rest of the trip — a fall foliage tour along the famous Enchanted Circle  through Taos, Questa, Red River, the Carson National Forest, Eagle’s Nest, and Angel Fire — I saved that for now.

Enchanted Circle drive

Enchanted Circle Byway

The reason for that delay is simple:  I wanted to time my articles on this journey to coincide with this year’s fall foliage season.  The Enchanted Circle Byway, also called “the Taos Loop”, is an 83-mile road trip through both nature and time that begins and ends in the art community of Taos, New Mexico.  The byway circles Wheeler Peak, which at 13,161 feet/4,011 meters is the tallest point in New Mexico.

Heading north from Santa Fe and descending into Taos the first “enchanting” view is of the Rio Grande Gorge, a deep scar that runs through the Taos Plateau volcanic field.  The gorge and surrounding areas are encompassed by the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, established in 2013.

Below are two views of the Rio Grande Gorge taken from high ground southwest of Taos.  The first shot was taken in the late afternoon on October 3, 2015.  The second was taken near midday the following day as we concluded our trip and started home.

Late after noon at the Rio Grande Gorge

Late after noon at the Rio Grande Gorge

Midday view of the Rio Grande Gorge in sunlight

Midday view of the Rio Grande Gorge in sunlight

Our intended destination this night was the resort town of Red River, where after the long drive from Trinity Site we hoped to find decent lodging at an affordable price.  You’ll see how we lucked out on Wednesday.  I’ll just say for now that this is a place I can highly recommend on your tour of the Enchanted Circle Byway.  Along the way we were treated to some magnificent perfectly lighted views beneath dramatic skies:

Road to Red River

Road to Red River

Road to Red River

Road to Red River

Road to Red River

Road to Red River

Road to Red River

Road to Red River

Quarry-Scarred Mountain

Quarry-Scarred Mountain

A preview of what lies ahead, from Wheeler Peak to our entry into fall foliage country:

Enchanted Circle drive

Enchanted Circle drive

Taos Loop

Taos Loop

Trinity Site series (sample photos below links):

Sample photos from the Trinity Site series:

“Jumbo”

“Ground Zero”

“The Gadget”

Historical photos of the Trinity blast

McDonald Ranch — Where the first bomb was assembled

Trinitite removal warning

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Filed under Automobiles and Driving, Photography, R. Doug Wicker, travel, vacation

Fun Photo Friday — Todos Santos Favorites


Pink Flamingo

Pink Flamingo in Red

All around here in the desert you’ll see a cactus that appears very much to be the saguaro associated with the Sonoran Desert up around Tucson, Arizona.  Tucson is rather dear to me, as it’s where I met and married the love of my life, whom you’ve met in many of my travel articles.  But I digress.  We were talking cactii here.  These cactii at the southern tip of the Baja are not saguaro.  They’re the world’s largest, however — the towering cardón cactus (pachycereus pringlei,or elephant cactus).  These monsters can grow to 70 feet/21 meters and weigh 25 tons/22.7 metric tons!  Here are some smaller examples:

Cardón Cactus — Often confused with Saguaro

Cardón Cactus — Often confused with Saguaro

Below is today’s photo gallery.  Click on any image to enlarge and bring up today’s slide show.  This concluded our journey aboard the Golden Princess as she made her way from Chile to Los Angeles back in March, 2015.  I hope you’ve enjoyed the journey.

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Filed under Fun Photo Friday, Photography, R. Doug Wicker, travel, vacation

Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Pilar


Mission Bells heard from The Hotel California?

Mission Bells heard from The Hotel California?

As I said Monday, in my article on the Hotel California, there’s a mission right around the bend.  This is the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Pilar (Church of Our Lady of the Pillar) for the Misión Santa Rosa de las Palmas.  The mission was founded in 1733, and the first structure established for this mission was built in 1747.  This adobe building was erected in 19th Century, although it does retain some of the original walls from 1747, most notably the entryway.

Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Pilar

Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Pilar

Inside the church it’s surprisingly bright and airy, considering that missions built back in the 1700s served dual functions as fortresses.

Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Pilar

Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Pilar

The altar is surprisingly light and colorful as well.

Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Pilar

Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Pilar

Across the street from the church is the cheerfully decorated Central Plaza.

The Central Plaza — across the street from the mission

The Central Plaza — across the street from the mission

After visiting the church it’s time to get back on the streets for some more fun photography:

Todos Santos arts and crafts store

Todos Santos arts and crafts store

Todos Santos flowers

Todos Santos flowers

Todos Santos street

Todos Santos street

Todos Santos  3-29-2015 10-52-17 AM

First The Eagles, then The Doors . . . or at least one of them

Todos Santos crafts shop

Todos Santos crafts shop

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Filed under Photography, R. Doug Wicker, travel, vacation