New Mexico state fossil.
Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, New Mexico.
     After leaving Colorado we headed south to New Mexico and ended up in the town of Farmington. Farmington is an unremarkable town in the middle of a high desert, but it had the only Honda dealership for a couple of hundred miles and we needed an oil change.  So after finding a campsite in "Mom and Pop's RV Park," we decided to do some touring.  We stumbled upon 2 fantastic scenic areas-Angle's Peak Wilderness and Bisti (Bis-tie) Wilderness.

I spotted my 1st Tarantula on a Taos hiking trail.
Since I am an aficionado of the "Syfi Channel," I was fully aware that this 2-3" fellow had the ability to jump
at least 10 feet in the air, could quickly devour human flesh, and would instantly turn a body into a giant spider egg-stack!  
So after snapping the photo I quickly ran away from this guy.

                 Angle's Peak was an interesting mountain, but the surprise was its canyon.  Canyons can be really cool surprises while exploring the byways of the west.  You don't have any clue that a fantastic beauty may be hidden a few feet from the road until you glance over your shoulder and the grand expanse of canyon reveals itself.  Angle's Peak was one of those surprises, especially since we were expecting a mountain. 
Angle's Peak Wilderness.
Angle's Peak is the pointy thing at the top of the photo.
Angle's Peak Wilderness.
Angle's Peak Wilderness.
     Bisti was another canyon but way cooler.  The hike into the canyon started at the bottom of the canyon and had no formal trails.  After walking for approximately 1 mile and taking a right around some desert dunes, a truly fantastic canyon appeared.  The canyon offered dozens of narrow "box canyons" to explore with weird, unusual rock formations throughout.  I want to go back and do a lot more exploring in this vast, isolated wilderness.

Bisti Wilderness
     Then it was on to Abiquiu, New Mexico to relax and explore "Georgia O'Keeffe" country.  We scored a beautiful site at a Corp of Engineers campground on Abiquiu Lake.  Our site looked across a turquoise lake to red walled canyons and Pedernal Mountain.  Pedernal Mountain was made famous by Georgia O'Keeffe as it appeared in several of her paintings.

Pedernal Mountain as viewed from our campsite.
Peace Monastery.
Located 13 miles up a dirt road along the Chana
Wild and Scenic River near Abiquiu, New Mexico.
The monastery was designed to blend seamlessly into the landscape.
Ghost Ranch, Abique, New Mexico.
While we were visiting Ghost Ranch there was a huge movie
crew filming a soon to be released western movie.
Ghost Ranch has been filmed in several western movies, including
"Cowboys versus Aliens."
The view from our campsite across Abiquiu Lake.
     After Abiquiu we headed to Taos for a 10 day adventure.  Taos was a real highlight for many reasons.  Taos is in an upscale ski/tourist town enriched with a strong dedication to the arts.  It is located at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range which featured Wheeler Peak, the highest mountain in New Mexico.  
Taos Area.
Taos Area.

Rio Grande River (New Mexico).
Taos Area.
     We even had visitors from Connecticut!  Cort and Jane (Jane is one of Nancy's close teacher friends) were touring the area with Mike and Linda, also from CT.  We joined this fun group on their vacation for a day and a half; visiting museums and motoring along the scenic byways of Taos.  They even stopped by for lunch one day.  One night, after dinner, we went to the Taos Inn for some music. We were greeted by the music of a weird county/bluegrass group which claimed to present African stylings.  I don't know what to call their musical genre, but the hit tune of the night was entitled "B-double E-double R-UN!"  (Think about it.)  We had a blast with these 4 people and hope they will visit again.
New Mexico Vietnam Veteran's Memorial
Court, Mike, Jane & Linda
Millicent Rogers Museum
Taos, New Mexico
Millicent Rogers Museum
Taos, New Mexico.
It was like looking at a mirror.
(You can tell a lot about a person by their choice of photos!)
     After our friends left, Nancy and I relaxed and did our own exploring.  My relaxation came in the form of an assault of the afore-mentioned Wheeler Peak.  The hike was a total of 9 miles with over 3,000 feet of elevation gain to the summit at 13,161'.  Since the hike was mostly above tree-line, the views were incredible.  The trail generally traversed the scree of avalanche chutes.  Beside the wear-and-tear on the boots and ankles presented by the scree, I was hiking in these avalanche chutes wondering when I might be visited by a boulder from above. The good news for me is that I am now fully acclimated to hiking over 13,000'.  (It used to be a very strange feeling when I tried to take a deep breath at the higher altitudes and I didn't feel my lungs fill with air!)

Views from Wheeler Mountain. 
Old Man of the Mountain.
     We are now heading to Albuquerque for the Balloon Fiesta!  We can't wait.
Res Ipsa Loquitur!
(The thing speaks for itself.)