Friday, May 15, 2009

Getting Around Taos, Part 2

After leaving the Earthship area, we continued west on Hwy 64. It was not long before the sagebrush plateau became a ponderosa pine forest with juniper, some pinon pine, cottonwoods, and higher up were aspen groves. As it happens, this is the greatest concentration of aspens in the state. At the lower elevations, some of them were just starting to leaf out but as we got higher, they were all bare. We traveled through green alpine valleys with creeks and meadows all around. And finally we arrived at Brazos Summit, the second highest mountain in New Mexico at 10,507 feet. Notice the snow is still hanging around here at the top of New Mexico. The vista photo is of the Chama Valley and the pale blue mountain in the far distance is Colorado. We drove into Chama which is a very small town noted mainly for its small gauge railroad called the Cumbres & Toltec. It is mainly for tourists to ride through the mountains from Chama, NM to Antonito, CO and return. In the old days it supplied food and other necessities to the gold miners.
After having lunch in a small cafe, we headed back south and east along Hwy 84 where we passed the cliffs that made Georgia O'Keefes Ghost Ranch so famous. These cliffs are about 250 million years old and are from the Triassic Period. They hold fossils of the Coelphysis Dinosaurs and there is a paleontology museum near Ghost Ranch. We saw a group of college kids out digging as we drove past. The last photo is of the Echo Amphitheatre which has been carved through wind erosion and is determined to be Jurassic Sandstone. Finally after a very long day of driving we arrived at Espanola and turned north on Hwy 68 back to Taos.

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