New Mexico vacation – Part 1

I finally got a chance to upload my vacation pictures and since there are so many of them, I decided to split them up into two posts for the two parts of our trip!

What did I wear on vacation, you may be wondering? I went for very casual and easy on this vacation since I knew we’d be spending a lot of time in the mountains hiking and staying in a cabin, and didn’t feel like much in the way of high-maintenance routines or clothing. I brought a couple of dresses, moccasins, cowboy boots, a stack of Bakelite bangles, one purse, a few pair of earrings and some separates. It turned out to be a lot cooler most of the time than weather forecasts had led us to believe, so I ended up wearing my jeans and cardigan much more than I planned.

But it was warm and sunny on this day, so I threw on a favorite tie-back dress and cowboy boots for dinner out with family. I did a quick hot sticks set for a little bit of curl and eschewed my usual red lipstick (which I did pretty much for the whole trip).

New Mexico is a beautiful state, and we spent our time in the high desert in the mountains around Los Alamos (where we were visiting my dad and family) and Taos (where we stayed in a cabin). I’ve been going to New Mexico for my whole life and love it there.

One thing that was unsettling was seeing the landscape after the enormous Los Conchas wild fire that ravaged the Jemez Mountains earlier this summer, burning over 150,000 acres. My family was evacuated for several days while the fire approached the town (it didn’t reach town, fortunately). To put it mildly, it was A Big Huge Deal. I didn’t talk about the fire on my blog at the time but I did at least want to mention it after our visit.

The photos above were taken on a hike that was less than 2 miles away from the starting point of the fire (I’ll spare you photos I took of some of the forest destroyed by the fire). In fact the trail is called the Los Conchas trail. It’s in a beautiful location and fortunately was in the opposite direction the fire traveled. However the stream that runs through it obviously had become a raging torrent at least once due to post-fire flooding, which you can see by the wide muddy area and murky-looking water in the below photo.

Anyway, I was so happy we could still hike that trail! 🙂

One fun new experience we had was roasting chiles. Chiles are, not surprisingly, huge in New Mexico. It was chile season, so we tried our hand at roasting them at my dad’s.

Well, Mel roasted. We watched.

While it was neat, this is the real way to get chiles, roasted by a professional! See them tumbling around in the roaster? They crank the handle periodically and around and around they go. The smell is intoxicating.

That was taken at a little roadside market, where they also had a seemingly unlimited variety of dried chiles to choose from. We brought home a couple of bags… that should last quite some time!

One interesting thing about their town is that there’s a public stable, where residents can keep horses. There are also goats, chickens and even a few llama there, too. My dad’s wife has two beautiful horses. This is Cinnamon doing a cute little dance with her foot as she eats. So dainty for a big horse!

There are more animals at their home. Two cats, a dog and two rabbits! This is Lucy.

And here we are in front of one of the barns back out at the stables. I just loved the weathered red paint.

One day we went on a little road trip into Georgia O’Keeffe country around Abiquiu. We stopped at the Ghost Ranch, famous for paleontological finds as well as being the inspiration for many Georgia O’Keeffe paintings and appearing in several movies (most recently Cowboys & Aliens). The vistas there are breathtaking. My pictures can’t even begin to do it justice.

While there we visited their two small paleontology and anthropology museums.

The paleontology museum was named after paleontologist Dr. Florence Hawley Ellis. It was fascinating reading about her life and her work. The first job I remember saying that I wanted once I reached the age where kids say “I want to be … when I grow up” was a paleontologist. In reality I went nowhere near that path, but I definitely still have a soft spot in my heart for it. So of course I loved a little museum named after a famous female paleontologist who started her career during the Great Depression.

This is a bad picture since this sign was above my head, but look how spunky she looked in 1941!

After Ghost Ranch we went to Echo Ampitheatre, a natural rock formation where you can hear amazing echos when you’re right up next to it. It was raining when we first arrived, so we looked at it up through the rain drops…

The sky soon lightened, and the rain started to fade (though you can still see rains as white spots in the photo below)…

And then it stopped. Blue skies! This happens all the time during summer in New Mexico.

While we were leaving a couple walked up to the ampitheatre and started singing. Hearing their voices echoing was pretty amazing.

Here’s a photo from a scenic viewpoint on the way back. Literally, it’s one of those places where there’s a sign that says “Scenic Overlook” by a wide spot in the road.

Stay tuned for the next part of the trip, including our little cabin in the mountains, a bit of thrifting, knitting, hiking, a double rainbow and amazing adobe buildings. 🙂

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Golly, 15 Comments!

  • Looks like you had a fab time!


  • New Mexico sure is beautiful! I love the last picture for the awesome blue color on the house doors/shutter/flower pot….a great place to stand for a picture!



  • Looks amazing! Beautiful scenery and interesting things to look at! And you look ever awesome as well x


  • Oh, how stunning!! My family used to vacation around Santa Fe when I was growin’ up; it’s such fun to visit vicariously through your pretty pictures 🙂 And your outfits are too cute and match the setting just right!


  • Beautiful! I miss NM. I went to school just over the Texas border, and spent a lot of time there. I’m getting hungry for tamales now, thinking about it!


  • What breathtaking photographs! Thank you for sharing. New Mexico looks very inviting and serene.



  • Good lord, that place is beautiful. My family spent a lot of time in northern Arizona when I was a kid and your photos reminded me so much of those trips. I know what you mean about those views being breathtaking. It’s kind of unreal sometimes.

    You, of course, look ridiculously smart and stylish. I love the red moccasins.


  • oh wow such beautiful photos, sounds like a fabulous vacation. I’ve never been to that area, only so much you can do when flying over from the UK!

    The Museum of Anthropology and Palaeontology looks amazing, we love doing that kind of thing whilst on vacation too


  • How I love the West! Those arid landscapes are just breathtaking.
    I would love to see more of New Mexico, but with family in Colorado and Mr. B’s obsession with Death Valley, we never seem to have the opportunity to explore anywhere else. Glad I can visit vicariously through your wonderful photos!


  • Thanks everyone!

    @Welcome to DeluxeVille I couldn’t believe how beautiful that building was with the blue shutters, I am so glad no one was home! LOL

    @Dakota It’s such a place of inspiration, isn’t it? Glad you could relive through some of my pics. 🙂

    @SusieQT Mmm the tamales were amazing!

    @Moe Thanks doll! I thought the photo of Mel by that little old cabin was particularly funny as it looked like a painted studio backdrop in the background, ha ha!


  • gah, these photos are nothing short of amazing. NM is one of the prettiest states! last year my bf went to the chile festival in Hatch and flew back a box full of roasted chiles! froze ’em and ate them all year round!!! 🙂 so, so good!

    can’t wait to see the rest of your trip pics.


  • Fun!!! The only desert state I’ve been to is Nevada and we didn’t see much scenery because we were in Las Vegas the whole time. New Mexico looks gorgeous! And I love your casual outfits–so cute.

    Florence Hawley Ellis does look awfully spunky. How cool that she has a museum named after her!


  • Did you do the embroidery on that little peasant blouse? It’s so cute!!


  • Wow, it looks so beautiful there! And I love all of your outfits – they super cute but seem perfect for a vacation. =)
    -Andi x


  • Wow–what a beautiful place to take a trip! 🙂 I love your jeans outfits especially; I’m in the process of building up to making jeans (or jeans-like; I think time-wise I have to edit things a bit and not go too crazy… lol.) since I desperately need them. 😉 The plaid blouse/jeans combo is my favorite!!! 🙂


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