New Mexico Bucket List – S ~ Blogging Through The Alphabet

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Catching up has us moving around the southern and south central part of New Mexico now. Specifically, let’s go to Capitan, home of Smokey Bear.

O Smokey face

If you have read much on the blog, you have figured out that there is some connection for me with Smokey Bear. I grew up in Smokey’s hometown. (I even have a picture of me as a child being held by Smokey Bear. Of course, it is on slides and so not easily accessible right now.) Capitan has a nice museum about Smokey Bear, telling his story and following the time that he has spent as the spokes-bear for the Forest Service.

O praying SmokeyYou probably know his most famous saying “Only YOU can prevent forest fires.” Well, they have changed that now but that is the one I grew up with. And it is on just about all of the things I have that feature Smokey. There are parades to celebrate Smokey – the Smokey Bear Stampede – but I don’t recall exactly when that is. I am thinking early May. Any parade in Capitan will generally have Smokey participating.

There is a lot that you can study with Smokey and I highly recommend it. Check out the posts I have done that include Smokey.

Next stop is Sunspot Solar Observatory. To get there, you have to climb high up the mountains of the Lincoln National Forest and wind around the roads above Cloudcroft. But, it is a neat place that provides a great deal of research. It was established in 1947.

The history of how and why Sunspot came to be goes back to World War II. There was so much knowledge gained during the war. Much of it was just beginning to be understood and required more study. One of these things was the connection between the sun and its activity on Earth and things like radio waves. While a solar observatory was in use in Colorado, there were problems with the weather. So the military was brought in as a funding source and they found a new site for a new observatory – Sacramento Peak in southern NM. It was everything they were looking for and so Sunspot came to be. They still study the sun and the activity on the surface of the sun.

Sunspot Visitor Center

I was really interested in space when I was in high school and was able to visit Sunspot for a tour. I wish I remembered more about that visit. I know I found it fascinating and was amazed at how large the telescopes were but I just don’t remember a whole lot of the details. (I do remember that I forgot to call my mom to let her know I had arrived safely. I was tracked down and I will never forget that call to my mom! She probably won’t either.)

You can visit Sunspot and they do have guided tours available. Visit their site to learn more. Oh, and it looks like you should read up on the roads to get there if visiting. There is a warning about following GPS systems for one of the turns! You know, these mountain roads fool GPS systems sometimes.

We are heading back up to the northern part of the state now to find Soda Dam.


Soda Dam is found along the Jemez Mountain Trail. It is a natural dam on the Jemez River. It is created by the minerals in the water that have built up over the years, leaving this unique formation and waterfall. It is supposed to be a short walk away from the highway and worth the stop. It falls under some of the most amazing waterfalls in New Mexico. I do hope to be able to stop there some day.

So many wonderful places! I have even more, at least one of which I thought I had shared with you and haven’t. But my space seems to be getting long! I will share the Santa Fe Children’s Museum soon. That is definitely a wonderful place for the kids to visit. So much opportunity for imagination, creativity, and learning.

Santa Fe itself has some wonderful places to visit. Check out the posts on Palace of the Governors, Meow Wolf, and Loretto Chapel. There are several others that use Santa Fe as a jumping off point. You can do a search of the blog here and find more. There is so much to do in Santa Fe that you can’t help but enjoy yourself.

I think this catches me up to the current week and the current linkup. Whew! That is a lot of places to visit but you can’t say that you don’t have a clue what to do in NM!

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

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7 thoughts on “New Mexico Bucket List – S ~ Blogging Through The Alphabet

  1. dawnpeluso July 4, 2019 at 7:02 am Reply

    We love Smokey! There is a giant mechanical smokey at our state fair that talks to all the kids and mine love to go see him every year.

  2. Annette Vellenga (@athomepets) July 11, 2019 at 12:28 pm Reply

    I knew Smokey was from the US, but I didn’t know he was from New Mexico. and OH… the beauty of that waterfall.. just lovely!

  3. Kristen July 11, 2019 at 1:00 pm Reply

    Wow – the Soda Dam is really cool looking. I love waterfalls.

  4. […] Q – Gran Quivira R – River of Lights, Rio Grande, Rail Runner Express S – Smokey Bear, Sunspot, Soda Dam T – Turquoise U – UFOs V – Valle Caldera, Very Large Array  W – White […]

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