Dear Maia and Isaac,
It is funny how we sometimes don’t explore the neat places that are close to our homes. Today, I wanted to get in one more hike before my Southwest road trip. We leave on Friday! So, we drove out to a place where there are a lot of connected trails just out of town. We took a short one called Dakota Rim. Honestly, I have never hiked here before. That GJHikes sit is really helpful for finding new places to explore.
It was only a couple miles in and out – I had to carry Maizzy most of the way. It is funny, she falls asleep within seconds of putting her Doggles on. They should have something like that for newborn babies 🙂
The hike was pretty – you could see a storm all around us. I love seeking storms in the distance. I think the way clouds change is one of the best things in nature. No picture is ever exactly the same. Relationships sometimes have storms. Sometimes they sprout new growth and sometimes they are destructive. Time will tell.
I am going to post a few photos of my hike. I love canyons and red rock earth, so I will be back to explore this area.
So – I have my road trip all planned. I will leave here on Friday after work and go to the Four Corners area to New Mexico. Every other year, I go through New Mexico. It means less time with the big saguaro cactus, so I go straight to Arizona the other years.
The first full day of the trip will be a week from today. We will head south to Shiprock, New Mexico where they have a flee market sometimes. I have gotten you some cool Navajo stuff there a few times. I don’t know if we will stop or not, but the Shiprock itself is really cool – a big bluff.
From there, we will head south on New Mexico Highway 371. This highway goes through some badlands. Badlands are actually beautiful with different rock structures – but it was hard for Native Americans and settlers to grow food or sustain themselves. We have on stop planned at a National Monument called El Morro. It looks pretty cool and there is a Native American ruin on top of a big rock structure. That Monument is next to El Malpais National Monument – Malpais means badlands. We will spend the night in a place called Grants.
The second full day takes us close to Albuquerque – but I don’t like traveling in cities, so we are taking a bypass. Then, we will turn off on US 60 and drive to Salinas Ruins National Monument. I was here a few years ago and these are huge ruins of Spanish missions. I think those old ruins were one of my best serendipity discoveries of any of my road trips – so I am jazzed to see them again! Then we will turn on US 54 to a town named Carrizozo where we will spend the night.
The third full day will take us further south on US 54 until we turn west on US 70 to White Sands National Monument. I had a dream that I visited that place on my road trip – so I decided to follow that dream. It is even dog-friendly! Then we drive to Las Cruses on US 70 – then it is a freeway for a while. I prefer less busy roads but this was the quickest way to get to Arizona. We will stay at a town called Deming that night. There is a Rock Hound State Park there that sounds cool to visit if there is time.
Then comes day four, where we cross into Arizona. There is a place called Chiricahua National Monument on the way that looks like a lot of cool rock structures. It is not very dog-friendly, but they have a nice drive you can take from your car to see the rocks. Once we see that, we will head into Tucson on I-10 and spend the night.
Day 5 brings our quick trip to see the saguaro cactus at Catalina State Park that is right outside of Tucson. It will be our 3rd visit. My first road trip with Maizzy to see the saguaro was centered on our visit to this park. After we do some hiking, we will head to Show Low (named after a card game) via Highway 77. This is now a familiar route to me as it is the quickest way to get back to the Four Corners area. It crosses the Salt River Canyon on one wildest switchback roads I have ever driven. It is beautiful. We will spend the night in Show Low.
A trip to the familiar Petrified Forrest National Park comes on day 6. There is a hike to a place called Agate House – it is a Native American ruin made of petrified wood. That place is so cool. I like this Park because it is dog-friendly. Then we head east on I-40 (use to be the famous Route 66) for a few miles before we turn north on Indian Route 12. This route has really pretty red rock structures. We end up in Window Rock (capital of the Navajo Nation) for the night.
Our last full day will take us to Canyon de Chelly National Monument – it has the prettiest red rock ever. I love that canyon! There are Navajo artists selling art at the pull-outs, and I usually buy a couple things. The dogs can be on footpaths to the overlooks, and that is good enough for me. We will probably take Highway 264 to Highway 191, then head north. You can take Indian Route 12, too, which we did last year and it is really pretty. We will be back in Cortez that night and head home on Saturday.
I will try to blog about our stops every night. It is a nice way to share and remember myself. So, I will see you here on the blog on Friday or Saturday! I am so happy that I can take you along. I am as excited as an astronaut about to take off for the moon. The mellow hike today was good medicine.
Love, Grandma Hartt