Nice sunset view as we pass over London, England, on our way to Albania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Hiking in Albania, Kosovo, and Montenegro.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Porto, Portugal on June 25th!

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Forest fire hike

Another beautiful day.

We are parked up at the edge of Santa Fe National Forest near Los Alamos, New Mexico. Across the road is more recreational land, but it's called Bandalier National Monument.

Vacant government land comes under a lot of different jurisdictions here in the United States.

There are National Forests, State Forests, National Parks, State Parks, National Monuments, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land, U.S. Fish and Wildlife land, Wildlife Sanctuaries, and I'm probably missing a few. They all basically do the same thing... preserve the wide open spaces for recreational use. You'd think they could combine under one umbrella to save money, but that would be too logical.

We set off on a hike at about 10:00am. We walked across the road onto the Bandelier National Monument land, and found a trailhead that said it went to the Visitors Center... 12 miles away.

We certainly didn't plan on going that far, so figured we would go for 3 miles or so and then turn around. It didn't look like a strenuous hike, so Ruth hadn't brought her hiking poles.

A forest fire devastated the area in 2011.

A spotted towhee.

We think this is a young robin.

Some type of iris?

A northern flicker.

They must have had some kind of big wind storm go through within the last year.

It makes for some interesting scenery.

I like this photo.

Somebody has a sense of humor!

We were just getting to the point where we were thinking about turning around when we came to the edge of a deep canyon. The path continued down the steep hill, with many switchbacks. This was where Ruth wished she had her hiking poles. 

We decided to try going down, and made it about half way. We hadn't planned on that strenuous of a hike and didn't bring any lunch with us. As it was, we wouldn't make it back until around 1:00pm and I was getting hungry already.

Heading down into the gorge.

You can get a good idea of how steep it is here!

We turned around shortly after this.

We were taking a break when a single girl came down the trail behind us. She was the only person we saw on the trail, but it didn't look like that popular of a trail to begin with.

She said that it's common for people to hike the trail one way to the visitors center and get picked up there. It follows the bottom of the canyon, so you never have to do the steep climb back up.

But we didn't have a choice... we had to do the steep climb back up so we turned around before we made it to the bottom.

Heading up hill.

White breasted nuthatch.

We had done 6.2 miles (10 kms).

Back at the RV, we had lunch and relaxed. Did some reading, had a nap, played some backgammon.

Ruth made some bread and hamburger buns.

Thanks for yeast, Bob and Denise!

Today, we are moving on. This has been a great spot for 3 nights! We are going to try to go to the Gilman Tunnels, then loop back around towards Santa Fe. 

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And in Canada...

Good deal on this 15.6" HP Laptop.


  1. Replies
    1. Even with the forest fire damage it was definitely an interesting hike and in a way you got to see more of the landscape which you might otherwise not have see through the trees that would have been there.

  2. We liked that area with few visitors. Could be the crappy road to get there. We love our nap after a hike too.

    1. We agree there weren't many visitors. Further along highway 4 that totally changes though as we found out yesterday when we did our drive.

      Kevin enjoys his afternoon naps! :-)

  3. Great bird knowledge as always.

    1. Not always! Google really helps and it helps me learn as we go. :-)

  4. Beautiful scenery and bird pictures as always! I was holding my breath as I followed your trek down that steep trail. Lol!

    1. Thank you Lynnette!

      I was holding my breath a couple of times as we hiked down that trail into the canyon. If I had had my trekking poles I would have been fine but I don't like steep paths like that with loose gravel under my shoes. It is only going down that bothers me though, going up isn't an issue.


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