Today was again a National Park day. I first visited Arches National Park and later in the afternoon Canyonlands National Park which is really close to the first one. Both were very impressive and incomparable to anything else I saw until now.
Arches National Park
Canyonlands National Park
Today I had 2 sightseeings on the plan, so I decided to get up really early. After driving some part of the Route 66 among other roads I arrived at Canyon de Chelly National Monument.
Canyon de Chelly
Canyon de Chelly is a place where exclusively indian/native american people live. The land belongs to the Navajo nation, one of the multiple indian tribes. If you want to explore the ground of the canyon you have to hire an indian scout (Navajo) who will show you the canyon either on a pickup or a horse riding tour. For the other visitors there is still the rim route which goes along the top of the canyon. There is only one place where it is allowed to hike down. The name of the hiking path is „The White House Trail“
and takes you to the old ruins of an ancient pueblo civilization (Navajo).
I didn’t have too much time so I almost run down and up for the 2 hour hiking including some lunch at the bottom of the canyon. At the end of the canyon rim you get to the famous „Spider Rock“.
All in all the canyon is beautiful to see. A little bit annoying were the plenty of signals warning you from not letting anything valuable in the car. It looks like this indian land is still a little bit wild.
After the beautiful scenery at Canyon de Chelly I drove all the way to the Monument Valley along lonely roads across the dessert of Arizona.
When I arrived at Monument Valley the sun was already starting to disappear. At this time of the day the colour of the rocks gets even more intense and red.
And so I left Monument Valley behind me.
Today I spent again only one day to visit the actual city on the plan, namely Albuquerque. It is the biggest city in the State of New Mexico in terms of population and I was already here for the Ballon Fiesta a couple of weeks ago. For some people the city may be known for facts like being the company seat of Microsoft at the time of their foundation or being featured in the TV series “Breaking Bad”.
The main street in Albuquerque is also part of the very well known and historic Route 66.
After having spent some time in the city I drove to the top of the nearby Sandia Mountains, which can be seen already from far away when driving to Albuquerque.
Albuquerque turning into night:
And back to the city for some dinner and nightlife.
Actually I wanted to arrive in Santa Fe the afternoon before but a flat tire caused some delays in my plans and I got to Santa Fe when it was already evening the day before.
Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi
When visiting the historic Palace of the Governors (established in 1609-1610) and the New Mexico History Museum I could realize that the city has a long history for american terms.
Most activity takes place in the historic downtown where a lot of the builduings are build based on a pueblo-style.
After this short but entertaining visit I left the city in the evening to continue my way further to the south.
During the last few weeks I have been taming wild mustangs in order to get adopted on a horse ranch in Largo Canyon, New Mexico. What initially was not on my plan resulted to be my longest stay in the same place so far. Patricia and John have started their business and programs a few years ago and they received Carlos and me with open arms. Together with other interns soon we would become a big family. It was a magnificent opportunity for us to learn how to tame and ride horses.
The horse ranch is located in a really remote place. Situated in Largo Canyon you have to drive a 25 mile unpaved road to get here. Actually the next little town is a one hour drive from where we were living. You could find yourself several days without seeing anybody else than the persons working on the ranch itself.
During our free time we had the opportunity to hike along and on top of the Canyon where we could perceive and feel some of the desert of New Mexico.
When the days passed the canyon turned more and more colourful signaling that the time didn’t remain still and we already had entered automn.
During my stay in Largo Canyon I had also the opportunity to visit the biggest balloon event of the world, the Ballon Fiesta in Albuquerque…
But also go back to the state of Colorado and visit the town of Durango and its museum about the railraod to Silverton among other…
The only bad news I had was that my friend Carlos had to leave during my stay in Largo Canyon. Personal motivations and reasons lead him to leave earlier for California. We agreed to meet up again in San Francisco. In the picture below, him, doing the typical handstand foto to every place he goes.
Wednesday the 16th of October was the day when I would be back again on the road and making my way through the new mexican desert.
Today was a transition day, where we would be driving for a long part of the day to our next destiny. After having left Aspen the day before during late afternoon, we drove through towns like Carbondale, Delta and Montrose to finally arrive to a town, whose name we only got to new the next morning, Ridgway.
It was probably the freezing temperatures, which woke us up early in the morning. After a short breakfast and stop at a gas station we were ready for the journey. The first town we arrived was Ouray, hided in a narrow valley, forming part of the Rocky Mountains. The next two passes we had to drive through had been snowed over night. The road conditions were not the best ones and the road didn’t seem too safe, especially when you don’t have a guard rail and the downhill grade is several hundred meters. But maybe the views at some places were worth it to drive through that day…
When arriving and leaving the mining town of Silverton the views got even more spectacular…
Shortly after lunchtime we arrived in Farmington, New Mexico, where we had time to have lunch and buying some things before meeting John, the elder man who would introduce us to our next adventure, which would last several weeks.
After having experienced the short but intense nightlife of Denver we drove the very beautiful road towards Aspen. We chose the Independence Pass which during winter season is closed for traffic.
During the journey we could appreciate the upcoming fall season due to the colourful forest caracter.
Already in Aspen we had the opportunity to meet some very welcoming and nice Couchsurfers, who introduced us to other locals.
The locals here are just awsome and friendly. Together we spent a magnificent weekend, alternating between promenades along the river, tasty dinners and live concerts. The best thing about Aspen is that there is still a lot of life during off-season.
Even if the town is small, Carlos and me had a great time this 2 days and felt like if we should have stayed longer.