I decided to finally take a drive on highway 518, also known as the High Road to Taos. It was a winding two-laned mountain road with beautiful views… an adventure in my own backyard. I was taking a long route to Los Alamos where I planned to go for a run. I had already taken the short route previously and wanted to see more of New Mexico this time. My excursion took me through old small New Mexican towns that though tucked away were full of character.
Paseo del Pueblo Sur (Highway 68), the “main drag” through Taos, meets Highway 518 just south of the Town of Taos in Ranchos de Taos. I turned left, heading south on the High Road. When I came upon an overlook where I could pull off of the road, I had to stop and take a picture of the breath-taking view of Bear Wallow Ridge.
When I arrived at the juncture of 518 and highway 75, I turned right, or west, onto 75. I drove through the small towns of Vadito and Penasco. Then I turned south on highway 76 and had to pull over again to capture this view. When I took the picture I had the feeling that I have often had since moving to New Mexico — and that is bewilderment at how much of this state is undiscovered by the outside world. I did not pass hoards of condo developments or commercial districts with neon signs — just quiet, peaceful old towns.
I continued on 76 through Chimayo and the cute little town of La Puebla then drove through Espanola and headed to Los Alamos on highway 30 and then on 502. Fortunately, there was another overlook where I could pull off of the road and capture a view similar to those that inspired Georgia O’Keef — one with desert mesas in the foreground and purple mountains in the background. It reminded me of why New Mexico is called the “Land of Enchantment.”
I arrived at the trailhead of the Canyon Rim Trail in Los Alamos. The temperature was 53 degrees and there wasn’t a single cloud in the sky. I took a picture of my view from the trail. This was much better than a treadmill workout and the journey there had its own rewards.
Blogpost and photos by Beth Dobos