Why do I love New Mexico? Let me start at the beginning: The photo shown below was taken on Interstate 25, somewhere near Albuquerque, New Mexico during my second visit to this city more than a decade ago. I had driven from Denver, Colorado and down through Santa Fe, New Mexico on the last leg of a cross-country road trip. Stopping the car, I pulled off an exit somewhere between Santa Fe and Albuquerque and grabbed this photo.
I had never seen colors like these in a landscape before. At least, not in a living, breathing landscape with my own eyes. The first time I visited Albuquerque, about six months earlier than this, most of the drive had taken place after sundown. I saw the city Albuquerque proper but missed the landscape that hosts it. Now, I was seeing that landscape in all its glory, suffused with crisp New Mexico sunlight. What a revelation!
I have since come to realize that there are three things that I am hopelessly drawn to in New Mexico. The first is red clay. Any landscape that has red clay or red rock formations instantly wins my affection. That is one of the reasons I am so drawn to the Jemez Mountains, with its dramatic red rock vistas best viewed from the Jemez Pueblo.
The next thing I find irresistible about New Mexico is the classic Adobe desert color palette (see photo below). These colors are ubiquitous in homes and buildings throughout New Mexico and are part of a historic heritage that has existed here for centuries. The most common colors are Adobe tan with turquoise trim. Add a chile ristra and you have iconic New Mexico style.
Finally, I love the old pick-up trucks that find an enduring home in New Mexico. I never gave them much thought prior to visiting New Mexico. However, old Chevy and Ford pick-up trucks seem to compliment New Mexico so well, whether rusting quietly in an old barn or lovingly preserved as a daily driver.
This website captures some of my favorite things in New Mexico. Check out this post for some of my favorite Albuquerque day trips. The photo below shows a scene from the Jemez mountains near Soda Dam on the Jemez Mountain Trail. All photos by [email protected] (the man in the Panama hat).