Pecos National Historical Park

Pecos National Historical Park is only about 70 miles from our house, so I am little embarrassed to admit that it has taken us two years to finally make it there. We pass it all the time on the way to wrestling tournaments or football games, but we never really have time to stop. On our way home from Kansas, we finally took the time. It was a great history lesson with a chance to stretch our legs for a bit.

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My crazy kids are photo-bomb happy…

I think if they heard “Hey, let me take your picture!” one more time, they would have hog-tied me and left me along the road somewhere…

A little over an hour after Leaving Pecos NHS, we arrived back home. As fun as it is to take trips, it is always nice to get back home. I am pretty sure the kitties were happy to see us! Charbie had fun out exploring with us, but I think even he was happy to have his favorite lounge spots back. Only two days left, and then it was back to school for the kids. There are just two months remaining in the school year, which seems hard to believe, but apparently time really has gone that fast.

Time to start planning our next adventure!

Twenty-One

We woke this morning to another beautiful round of snow. Instead of just wandering around the Visitor Center like I did the last time it snowed, I decided to venture out onto the Main Loop Trail. This is a beautiful trail when it is dry, so under snow it was downright amazing. Felt like a new place entirely, even though I have lost track of how many times I have walked it. The park is closed today so I had the entire trail to myself, which was definitely a first.

It snowed until about 9:30 this morning. The sun has tried coming out a few times, but the clouds still seem to be winning at this point. It is brighter than it was earlier, though, so I think the sun may win the battle yet.

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Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

I arrived home from vacation the day before the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta started, so rather than coming straight home, my family met me in Albuquerque, where we spent the night. We wanted to make sure we were at the park in time for the morning balloon glow. So at 3am we climbed out of bed and made our way over to Balloon Fiesta Park. I had gone to the Fiesta back when I was in grade school, but I do not remember it. I do, however, think that it had some lasting effect on me, though, because I have loved hot air balloons for as long as I can remember. So this was our chance, not only for me to refresh my memory, but to also share it with my family for the very first time.

And it was amazing! Absolutely. Amazing.

PS – No matter how hard you try, it is impossible to stop taking pictures of balloons when you are surrounded by them!

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The Scenic Route

On a beautiful Saturday, we took a drive to Albuquerque. It was National Park Week, so we figured a new park was in order. We opted to take the scenic route versus the freeway, and it was definitely worth it!DSC_0072

The spring greens were so vibrant and the red rock was just amazing.DSC_0054 - Copy

Near the little town of Jemez Springs is Soda Dam. Here, mineral deposits have built up, creating a natural dam blocking the Jemez River. An underground hot spring has been flowing here for centuries.

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It was a fun place to stop and explore on our way to Albuquerque.

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Albuquerque has Petroglyph National Monument right in its backyard. In the visitor’s center, we watched an award winning film on the forming of the escarpment and the history of the petroglyphs, then we were ready to hit the trail.

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There are a few trails to choose from, but we decided on the Piedras Marcadas Canyon hike. It was beyond amazing.

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After a fun day of exploring, we had some New Mexican food at Sadie’s, then headed for home. We opted for the scenic route again, even though it was beginning to get dark. All that red rock was even more spectacular in the setting sun.

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I am not sure what next weekend holds, but I do know that wherever we go, whichever direction we head, we will find something truly amazing in our path…

Quemazon Trail – Take Two

Water? Check. GPS? Check. Correct trailhead? Check. All right, let’s try this again!

DSCN0462Off of the Nature Trail is Cave of the Winds Trail, a small trail marked with rock cairns. The trail is less than a quarter mile, but if you can find it, it leads to a 100-foot cave. The cave entrance itself is merely a crack in the rocks, so even if you are lucky enough to find the trail, you may not be able to find the entrance. In our trail book, it took the author three trips to find it.

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Lucky for us, our kids double as blood hounds, and there was no way they were missing out on this cave two weekends in a row. I just stood at the top of the trail, waiting, knowing that it was only a matter of time before someone yelled up that they found it. Sure enough, Liam was successful. “I FOUND IT!”

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We were armed with flashlights, and the kids had a blast exploring the cave. It was quite amazing, minus all the spray paint, of course. But then again, the kids did get to crawl through an opening labeled the “The Birth Canal,” and that doesn’t exactly happen every day…

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Once we were done exploring, we climbed the 200-feet slope back up to the trail, where Charbie was waiting somewhat patiently for us to return. I would definitely consider this trail to be “kid-friendly.” It is amazing what a difference being on the right trail makes!