Saturday, June 14, 2014

Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway - 6/13/14

Today we explored this very beautiful part of New Mexico. Known as the Enchanted Circle we started at Eagles Nest and traversed the 84 miles of the circular tour stopping at various locations along the way. The tour circles Wheelers Peak, the highest point in New Mexico at 13,161 feet.

Because we are staying in Capulin, New Mexico, we made this a day trip in our car. We drove to Raton, NM, then took 64-S along the Cimarron Branch of the Sante Fe Trail to Eagle Nest (about 90 miles). With the beautiful landscape here and wildlife sightings, we thoroughly enjoyed the trip.

The highlights of the trip were:
  • Wildlife sightings along the Sante Fe Trail. We saw many young elk along the way and stopped to snap some photos on a handsome young one.

  • Cimarron Canyon State Park en route to Eagle Nest.

  • Eagle Nest State Park. Beautiful scenery an large lake here.

  • Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park in Angel Fire. 
    • John is a Vietnam Vet so this place had special significant for us both. 
    • See separate post with photos about the exhibits in the visitor center, the documentary film, and the unique chapel.  
  • Taos - an art colony and unique town. We enjoyed browsing the shops and found a great dog back pack for Sadie for hiking (she can carry her own water, food and treats!) Also, had a very nice lunch at the Bent St Cafe & Deli. Sadie was allowed to sit with us on the patio.

  • Questa - the scenic area around this town where the molybdenum mine has been in operation since 1906 is spectacular.

  • Red River - an Old West Town with a ski resort. This place was bustling with people with many "trading post" type stores, bars/restaurants, hotels and cabins, and a ski lift.  The ski slopes can be seen from the main road through town. 

  • Bobcat Pass - the area we drove through to reach the point from where we started the loop.

We had planned to stop at Taos Pueblo but it was closed today because it is a feast day. It is located on a Pueblo Reservation, so they determine the schedule for visits by the public. 150 individuals still live in the pueblo that was originally built and has been continuously occupied for the last 1000-1400 years. Wow!! We will see it during a future visit to this area, as it is high on our "must see" list.

On the way back to Capulin, we stopped in Raton for dinner at a local restaurant (Icehouse Restaurant) that we selected because 1) there are not too many places to eat in Raton other than fast food) and, 2) it had a 90% rating on Urban Spoon. It was good! Neither of us felt like fixing dinner after our busy (and exhausting) day. Capulin is about 30 miles away, but it is wide open grasslands with no restaurants in between.

All and all a memorable day. 


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