New Mexico Journals

New Mexico Roadtrip

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An October 1999 trip to New Mexico by lcampbell

Sunset Photo, New Mexico, United States More Photos
Quote: This was a short New Mexico Roadtrip with my pal Jen who had recently moved to Albuquerque and wanted to see some of the sights. We visited Bandelier National Monument, Carlsbad Caverns, and White Sands National Monument. I loved the desert ecosystem and the food!

New Mexico Roadtrip

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Overview

Sunset Photo, New Mexico, United States
Quote:
There are two types of roadtrips – the first is where you have some sort of a plan. The other is the kind we took – no plan whatsoever. We hit the road not knowing what to expect. The result was a pretty good time, especially because it was the first time my friend Jen and I had done a roadtrip together. But there were some aspects that could have been improved by doing some research ahead of time, which I will mention for your benefit in my journal entries. We visited Bandelier National Monument, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, and White Sands National Monument. My favorite ended up being White Sands, which I had never heard of until we were driving past it and decided, on a whim, to stop....Read More

Bandelier National Monument

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Attraction

Bandelier National Monument Photo, Los Alamos, New Mexico
Quote:
The big draw to Bandelier for most folks is the pueblo dwellings. These "ruins" can be seen by a guided ranger walk or by a self-guided tour. Jen and I took the self-guided tour after purchasing a guide in the Visitor Center. I thought it was amazing that native people chose to live up on cliff walls, until I found out all of the advantages to doing so – defense, water, and temperature control. And what amazing construction to still be standing after so long. After taking about an hour to see the dwellings, we weren’t ready to leave yet. So we went on a hike to the Rio Grande River. This was a great hike! It seems that most visitors don’t venture beyond the cliff dwellings, so we had the e...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 18, 2001

Bandelier National Monument
15 Entrance Rd.
Los Alamos, New Mexico 87544
(505) 672-3861

Where NOT to camp near Carlsbad Caverns

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Attraction

The parking lot Photo, New Mexico, United States
Quote:
My road trip buddy is not really enthusiastic about camping or hiking, but is nice enough to humor me on this road trip. "It will be fun!" I tell her, "Like when we were in college." We had driven all day through southeastern New Mexico with zero scenery – really, I’m not exaggerating, there was nothing. We were en route to Carlsbad Caverns National Park. It was getting late, so we weren’t going to visit the Caverns until the next day. A bit grouchy from the boring ride, and from starting to get hungry, we looked for a campground. The map showed a campground just outside the eastern boundary of Carlsbad Caverns – the only campground around as far as I could tell (there are no campg...Read More

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on November 18, 2001

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

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Attraction

Carlsbad Caverns Photo, New Mexico, United States
Quote:
There are 94 caves in Carlsbad Caverns National Park. The main cavern for public use is Carlsbad Cavern. You can see it by taking a ranger-led tour, or by doing a self-guided tour. We did a self-guided tour. You enter into the cave via a paved trail in a series of switchbacks going into the darkness. Once inside, the paths are lighted and have railings. There are interpretive signs along the way that tell you about what you are seeing. There are countless formations in all shapes and sizes, pools of water, and rock shelves. When it is quiet, you can hear water dripping in from above. The Big Room was amazing, and the huge variety of shapes and textures of the stalactites and stalagmites was i...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 18, 2001

White Sands National Monument

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Attraction

White Sands National Monument Photo, New Mexico, United States
Quote:
Because we did not have any set plan for our road trip, Jen and I decided to head west from Carlsbad, not knowing what, if anything, was there. Along the way we found White Sands National Monument. Huh…. I thought I knew of most of the National Park Service units, but I guess not. Let's check it out! White Sands is a 275 square mile gypsum sand dunes. A huge white beach without the water! It is near Alamogordo, New Mexico, east of Las Cruces on Highway 70. The dunes are located in Tularosa Basin on the north end of the Chihuahuan Desert. We actually saw the dunes during our drive through a mountain pass to the east, but we didn’t know what we were looking at. We saw a big shiny patch, wi...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 18, 2001

Aguirre Springs Campground

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Attraction

Aguirre Springs Campground Photo, New Mexico, United States
Quote:
After visiting White Sands National Monument, we continued driving west on Highway 70 and started looking for a campground. There were no campgrounds at White Sands, so we had no idea what we would find. A few miles west, we saw a sign for a campground. It turned out to be a great find! It was a Bureau of Land Management area called Organ Mountains Recreation Area. The campsite cost a whopping $3 per night. At first we were a little concerned because the place was packed with families. But we held out hope because nobody had any tents set up. Low and behold, in the late afternoon, all the picnickers left, and only a few folks were left overnight. But even if the campground was ve...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 18, 2001