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Desert Solitaire

I finally found a place to watch the sun set in Santa Fe, on the top floor of the parking deck near my B&B. The colors and clouds were beautiful.

I finally found a place to watch the sun set in Santa Fe, on the top floor of the parking deck near my B&B. The colors and clouds were beautiful.

[Sunset over Santa Fe]

I drove from Taos through the Santa Fe National Forest. This tributary of the Rio Grande was still and beautiful, reflecting the early morning light.

I drove from Taos through the Santa Fe National Forest. This tributary of the Rio Grande was still and beautiful, reflecting the early morning light.

[Santa Fe National Forest]


[Morning light]

The landscape of Northern NM changes surprisingly quickly: from lush to dust, and back again.

The landscape of Northern NM changes surprisingly quickly: from lush to dust, and back again.

[Mesa]

Near Ned's casita in Vallecitos, a beautiful butterfly hovered, pollinating this desert flower.

Near Ned’s casita in Vallecitos, a beautiful butterfly hovered, pollinating this desert flower.

[Butterfly]

The rain was coming in as I was driving out of Vallecitos -- much needed moisture after a dry spring.

The rain was coming in as I was driving out of Vallecitos — much needed moisture after a dry spring.

[Storm rolling in]

I loved the shape of these clouds so pulled off on the side of the road to capture it, the coming storm.

I loved the shape of these clouds so pulled off on the side of the road to capture it, the coming storm.

[Clouds]

The area surrounding Los Alamos National Laboratory -- the birth place of the atomic bomb -- is stark but strangely beautiful.

The area surrounding Los Alamos National Laboratory — the birth place of the atomic bomb — is stark but strangely beautiful.

[Los Alamos]

Bandelier National Monument is both ecological and archaeologically signature, with Native American artifacts and hieroglyphs.

Bandelier National Monument is both ecological and archaeologically signature, with Native American artifacts and hieroglyphs.

[Bandelier]

Bandelier burned badly in 2011, and the ecosystem is still recovering, as desert brush gives way to new pine growth.

Bandelier burned badly in 2011, and the ecosystem is still recovering, as desert brush gives way to new pine growth.

[Off in the distance]

Between Santa Fe and Albuquerque is Tent Rocks National Monument.

Between Santa Fe and Albuquerque is Tent Rocks National Monument.

[Tent Rocks]

Tent Rocks

[Tent rocks]

Tent Rocks

[Tent rocks]

Tent Rocks

[Tent rocks to mesas]

I was on the top floor of my hotel in Las Cruces, and set my alarm for 6am both mornings to watch the sun rise over the mountains.

I was on the top floor of my hotel in Las Cruces, and set my alarm for 6am both mornings to watch the sun rise over the mountains.

[Organ Mountains]

Las Cruces sunrise

[Another sunrise]

Cottonwoods have deep roots, tapping into the aquifer far below the sand dunes.

Cottonwoods have deep roots, tapping into the aquifer far below the sand dunes.

[Lonely cottonwood]

White Sands National Monument is 60 square miles of dunes, amidst the much larger White Sands Missile Range.

White Sands National Monument is 60 square miles of dunes, amidst the much larger White Sands Missile Range.

[White Sands]

Countours

[Contours]

White Sands National Monument; Alamogordo, New Mexico

White Sands National Monument; Alamogordo, New Mexico

[footsteps]

Contours

[Shrubs]

The rain clouds were rolling in as the sun set in White Sands, creating beautiful god clouds over the mountains.

The rain clouds were rolling in as the sun set in White Sands, creating beautiful god clouds over the mountains.

[Last light]

Crepuscular rays

[Crepuscular rays]

White Sands Sun Set

[Big nature, little people]

Past Alamogordo, I drove up the mountains through Croud Croft, a cool forested retreat.

Past Alamogordo, I drove up the mountains through Croud Croft, a cool forested retreat.

[Cloud croft]

I took a nice solo hike in the mountains, and was rewarded with a few beautiful alpine stands.

I took a nice solo hike in the mountains, and was rewarded with a few beautiful alpine stands.

[Ruidoso]

Next stop, Carlsbad, where I was blown away by the strange formations in these caves.

Next stop, Carlsbad, where I was blown away by the strange formations in these caves.

[Carlsbad]

Caves

[Carlsbad]

Caves

[Carlsbad]

Caves

[Carlsbad]

Caves

[Carlsbad]

Caves

[Carlsbad]

Caves

[Carlsbad]

Caves

[Carlsbad]

Caves

[Carlsbad]

Caves

[Carlsbad]

I drove on the 9-mile dirt road through the outer edge of Carlsbad -- totally deserted, very beautiful.

I drove on the 9-mile dirt road through the outer edge of Carlsbad — totally deserted, very beautiful.

[Setting sun]

Looking out from Carlsbad toward the Guadalupe Mountains in TX.

Looking out from Carlsbad toward the Guadalupe Mountains in TX.

[Guadalupes]

Guadlupe Peak

[Guadaplupe]

The dunes south of Guadalupe National Park. If you are looking for the middle of nowhere, I can show you the way.

The dunes south of Guadalupe National Park. If you are looking for the middle of nowhere, I can show you the way.

[Middle of nowhere]

Where the desert meets the mountains

[Setting sun]

Setting sun

[It was all yellow]

I woke up early to get a head start on the heat, before hiking Guadalupe Mountain-- the highest point in TX at 8,751 feet.

I woke up early to get a head start on the heat, before hiking Guadalupe Mountain– the highest point in TX at 8,751 feet.

[Up the mountain]

View from the top.

[View from the top]

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