Tag Archives: New Mexico

Autumn Color in the Jemez Mountains-Part II

In my most recent post on this blog Bosque Bill and I had just finished our lovely picnic lunch at Fenton Lake, and we were planning to return to Corrales and Albuquerque’s North Valley. We returned along a different route along the Rio Cebolla via Forest Road 376.

There were brilliant golden swaths of Quaking Aspen all along the way.

Golden Quaking Aspen, Jemez Mountains, Santa Fe National Forest, New Mexico.

Golden Quaking Aspen.

Golden Quaking Aspen, Jemez Mountains

Another colony of Quaking Aspen.

Quaking Aspen cascade down a hillside.

Quaking Aspen cascade down a hillside.

We saw one area where the aspen were so beautiful that we decided to walk into the trees for a number of photos. Here are a few of them:

Aspen grove, Jemez Mountains.

Aspen grove

Aspen grove, Jemez Mountains.

Aspen grove, anther view.

Aspen grove, Jemez Mountains

Another aspen grove.

Aspen grove, Jemez Mountains.

Looking up through the aspen canopy.

As we drove down the forest road along the Rio Cebolla we left the aspen behind. The river which merged with the Rio de las Vacas to become the Guadalupe River, descended into Guadalupe Canyon, and the vegetation became primarily Gambel Oak.

Gambel Oak, Rio Cebolla, Jemez Mountains

Gambel Oak

Gambel Oak, Rio Cebolla, Jemez Mountains.

Gambel Oak, Rio Cebolla.

Gambel Oak, Rio Cebolla, Jemez Mountains.

Another view of the Rio Cebolla from the road.

We descended farther down the logging road that wound through the Guadalupe Canyon along the river. Although he walls of the canyon became steeper there was still fall foliage along the road.

Rock canyon, Rio Cebolla.

Rock canyon, Rio Cebolla.

A glimpse of the Rio Cebolla at the bottom of the canyon.

A glimpse of the Rio Cebolla at the bottom of the canyon.

The Gilman Tunnels are at the narrowest part of Guadalupe Canyon, near the bottom of the canyon and close to the junction of the forest road with the State Highway. These tunnels were originally blasted out of the rock in the 1920’s for a logging railroad. They are not long tunnels, but they are an attractive feature of the drive.

One of the Gilman Tunnels.

One of the Gilman Tunnels.

After we drove through the Gilman Tunnels, the landscape opened up and we could see the beautiful red rock formations of the Jemez Valley.

Spectacular red rock cliffs

Spectacular red rock cliffs.

It was a lovely day with spectacular scenery, fine weather, good food and great company. Happy birthday Bosque Bill!

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Autumn Color in the Jemez Mountains-Part I

Golden Quaking Aspen

Golden Quaking Aspen

Along with the Sangre de Cristo range 35 miles distant across the Rio Grande valley, the Jemez Mountains form part of the southern Rocky Mountains, which stretch over 2,000 miles north into Canada. The Jemez Mountains contain no great natural landmarks, rather they are a large area of mostly undisturbed forested wilderness, with rocky peaks, meadows, mountain streams, lakes and waterfalls. More unusual features result from past volcanic activity: There are hot springs, sulphurous vents and a caldera, which is a ring of hills comprising the remains of several long-extinct volcanoes. All the mountains form part of the 1.6 million acre Santa Fe National Forest. This area was the the site of the destructive La Concha fire this past summer.

Bosque Bill and I decided to take a trip to the Jemez last weekend to see the fall colors. It was Bill’s birthday, and we thought that that a photo outing combined with a picnic would be a terrific way to celebrate.

Our first stop was at a camping area near the Pueblo of Jemez, which is an independent sovereign nation with an independent government and tribal court system. It is a federally recognized American Indian tribe with 3,400 tribal members, most of whom reside in a puebloan village that is known as Walatowa, a Towa word meaning “this is the place.”

The scenery at this first stop was lovely, although the fall colors were just beginning to show.

Jemez fall colors

The Jemez River and red cliffs.

We saw American Robins in the Rocky Mountain Junipers, feasting on berries.

American Robin in a Rocky Mountain Juniper

American Robin in a Rocky Mountain Juniper

Dark-eyed Juncos foraged on the ground.

Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon variety).

Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon variety).

Our next stop was Battleship Rock, a spectacular basalt rock cliff at the confluence of the Jemez River and the East Fork of the Jemez River. An interesting fact about this formation is that the basalt columnar joints are horizontal rather than the much more common vertical joints.

Battleship Rock

Prow of Battleship Rock, surrounded by fall colors.

Fly fisherman near Battleship Rock.

Fly fisherman near Battleship Rock.

Jemez River near Battleship Rock.

Jemez River near Battleship Rock.

Glorious Gambel Oak color near Battleship Rock.

Glorious Gambel Oak color near Battleship Rock.

Before we took the road to Fenton Lake, we stopped to admire this hillside covered in flaming Gambel Oak foliage.

Gambel Oak cover this hillside.

Gambel Oak cover this hillside.

We paused to admire this lovely Mountain Bluebird.

Jemez Fall Color

Mountain Bluebird

On our way to Fenton Lake we stopped at an overlook where we got our first real look at Quaking Aspen and their spectacular golden autumn color.

Golden Quaking Aspen in the Jemez Mountains.

Golden Quaking Aspen in the Jemez Mountains.

Lovely stand of Quaking Aspen at the overlook.

Lovely stand of Quaking Aspen at the overlook.

Another view from the overlook.

Another view from the overlook.

Gambel Oak at the overlook in the Jemez Mountains.

Gambel Oak at the overlook.


We stopped and ate a lovely picnic lunch at Fenton Lake. We were joined by two Steller’s Jays …

Steller's Jay, Fenton Lake, Jemez Mountains, New Mexico.

Steller's Jay

… and this cute little Least Chipmunk.

Least Chipmunk, Fenton Lake, Jemez Mountains, New Mexico.

Least Chipmunk

Everywhere we went we were surrounded by gorgeous fall color.

Quaking Aspen, Jemez Mountain, Santa Fe National Forest, New Mexico.

Quaking Aspen grove.

In Part II of this post I will show you what we saw on our return trip.

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I Feel Pretty

I feel pretty,
Oh, so pretty,
I feel pretty and witty and bright!
And I pity
Any girl who isn’t me tonight.

Praying Mantis

I feel charming,
Oh, so charming
It’s alarming how charming I feel!
And so pretty
That I hardly can believe I’m real.

Praying Mantis

See the pretty girl in that mirror there:
Who can that attractive girl be?
Such a pretty face,
Such a pretty dress,
Such a pretty smile,
Such a pretty me!

Praying Mantis

I feel stunning
And entrancing,
Feel like running and dancing for joy,
For I’m loved
By a pretty wonderful boy!
(Whose head I ripped off.)

Praying Mantis

Music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

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Balloon Glow 2011

In my opinion one of the best parts of the Balloon Fiesta is the Balloon Glow. You do not have to get up at 4:30 am as Balloon Glows are evening events. The traffic for afternoon events is often not quite as bad. Most important, the sight of the Balloons glowing in the autumn evening is really lovely.

This year we had rain during the Balloon Fiesta. The Special Shapes Rodeo and the Special Shapes Rodeo Glowdeo were both canceled because of rain. Fortunately, the weather for the last Balloon Glow of the Fiesta was gorgeous. Balloon crews began to inflate the balloons as the sun began to set.

Balloon Glow, October 7, 2011

Balloons inflating

Many people came to see the balloons, and I discovered what Santa Claus does in October!

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Balloon Glow, October 7, 2011.

Santa Claus at the Balloon Fiesta

The balloons inflated, and the pilots worked the burners, causing the balloons to glow.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Balloon Glow, October 7, 2011.

Octopus balloon

The balloons looked beautiful as they glowed against the sunset.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Balloon Glow, October 7, 2011.

Balloons glow against the sunset.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Balloon Glow, October 7, 2011.

More balloons against the sunset.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Balloon Glow, October 7, 2011.

Iwi the Kiwi and others

Here are several more photos from the Balloon Glow:

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Balloon Glow, October 7, 2011.

Butterfly

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Balloon Glow, October 7, 2011.

Balloon group

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Balloon Glow, October 7, 2011.

Airabelle

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Balloon Glow, October 7, 2011.

Balloon Glow

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Balloon Glow, October 7, 2011.

Balloon Glow

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Balloon Glow, October 7, 2011.

Haunted Mansion

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Balloon Glow, October 7, 2011.

Balloon Glow closeup

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Balloon Glow, October 7, 2011.

Zebra

There were dazzling fireworks after the Balloon Glow.

Here is a short video of the Balloon Glow and fireworks display:

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Up, Up and Away!

In a previous post about the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta I posted photos of balloons preparing to launch. The officials decided that the winds were calm enough for the launch, and the spectators watched as balloons rose into the beautiful blue sky. I have been taking photos at the Balloon Fiesta for years, and this year I decided to concentrate on photographing individual balloons.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October 8, 2011

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October 8, 2011.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October 8, 2011.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October 8, 2011.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October 8, 2011.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October 8, 2011.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October 8, 2011.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October 8, 2011.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October 8, 2011.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October 8, 2011.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October 8, 2011.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October 8, 2011.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October 8, 2011.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October 8, 2011.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October 8, 2011.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October 8, 2011.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October 8, 2011.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October 8, 2011.

Here is a short view of the mass ascension:

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Wordless Wednesday-Wings on Wednesday

Viceroy  (Limenitis archippus)

Mexican Bluewing (Myscelia ethusa)

White Peacock (Anartia jatrophae)

Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae)

Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae)

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The Balloon Fiesta-At Last

This year was an interesting one at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. The first weekend was beautiful with flawless launches, but I never go on the first weekend because of the crowds, which are often more that 100,000 people. I usually go on Thursday, Friday and the second Saturday, because those days are dedicated to the special shapes, which are my favorites. This year it rained on Thursday and Friday. On Saturday, I rose at 4:30 a.m., determined to see balloons.

It had snowed in the Sandias the night before, and it was cold as we stood around wondering whether the balloons would be cleared to launch.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October 8, 2011

Snow on the Sandias

The field was very wet and it was a bit breezy, which put the launch on hold. At 8:00 a.m. we got the word that the balloons were cleared to launch.

The balloons began to cold-inflate, which means that the balloon crew blows air into the balloon envelope with a big fan.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October 8, 2011.

Cold inflation

In a very short period of time there were inflated balloons all over the launch field.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October 8, 2011.

Balloons waiting to launch.

Airabelle the Creamland cow is always a crowd favorite.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October 8, 2011.

Airabelle

Balloons continued to inflate and began to launch.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October 8, 2011.

Special shapes inflating, balloon launching.

The official Fiesta balloon launched, the band played the National Anthem, and the launch was officially underway.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October 8, 2011

Official Fiesta Balloon.

Let’s sit back and watch the balloons prepare to launch.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October 8, 2011.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October 8, 2011.

Butterfly and basketball.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October 8, 2011.

Iwi the Kiwi, from New Zealand.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October 8, 2011.

A cool dude.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October 8, 2011.

Pepe Le Pew

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October 8, 2011

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October 8, 2011.

Spider Pig.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October 8, 2011.

Butterfly and bees.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October 8, 2011.

Wells Fargo Stagecoach.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October 8, 2011.

Haunted Mansion and Clock.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October 8, 2011.

Haunted Mansion.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October 8, 2011.

Nelly-B

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October 8, 2011.

Shark

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October 8, 2011.

Kitty

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October 8, 2011.

Balloon Fiesta Tourist.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October 8, 2011.

Super FMG

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October 8, 2011.

Zebra

I will post more Balloon Fiesta photos over the next week or so. Stay tuned.

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