Tag Archives: New Mexico

New Mexico Bucket List – Z ~ Blogging Through The Alphabet

Z - Zia

We are at the end. These seem to come to an end so quickly. As we have traveled around New Mexico, I hope you have found a few places and ideas to add to your next trip to the Land of Enchantment. When you look at the state, one image comes up over and over – the Zia.

The Zia is the symbol of the state and has been borrowed from the native culture of the state. The Zia is an ancient symbol with great meaning to the people of Zia Pueblo. The sun symbol is a circle connecting four groups of four lines. The four groups of four rays each extend out from the circle, top, bottom, left, and right. They stand for the following:

  • The four cardinal directions (north, south, east, west)
  • The four seasons of the year (spring, summer, fall, winter)
  • The four periods of the day (morning, noon, evening, night)
  • The four steps of life (childhood, youth, adulthood, old age)

The symbol was found in the early 1900s on a pot and became a symbol for the state, which joined the US in 1912. The Zia was used on the state flag, designed in 1920. It has since become synonymous with New Mexico and seems to be a symbol of pride and power.

But, the Zia Pueblo has recently begun to decry the use of the Zia symbol by the state, claiming it was used illegally and essentially stolen by the state for use. There is ongoing discussion and legal actions and it will be decided at some point whether New Mexico can continue to use the symbol it has been using for almost 100 years.

I hope that a common understanding can be found without removing the use of the Zia from the state; it is THE symbol that everyone knows and remembers fondly. I also hope the understanding can come about without the over-regulation of it, as it seems the Pueblo is trying to put trademark regulations on it. If that becomes the case, I feel NM will have lost much of its identity. But, we shall see, I guess.

At any rate, the Zia is a bright and welcoming symbol for all to come visit the Land of Enchantment. Please come and see all that New Mexico has to offer.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Thank you for joining us on the adventures through New Mexico as we went Blogging Through The Alphabet with others from the Homeschool Review Crew. We will be back up and running with another round of Blogging Through The Alphabet in mid-September.

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New Mexico Bucket List – Y ~ Blogging Through the Alphabet

Blogging Through The Alphabet Y image

I forgot to tell you ahead of time but I chose to skip X for this round. The reason – so much of the language of New Mexico is influenced by Spanish and native languages that you just don’t find words starting with the letter X. So, I skipped it. On to Y.

Yucca!

Do you know what a yucca is? (You say it just like it looks – yuck/a)

This is the state flower. It is a beautiful, tall, spiky plant with round or bell-shaped blossoms in a long, slender cluster at the top. The yucca is native to hot, dry areas, such as the desert southwest in the US, Central America, and the West Indies. There are other places where you can find yucca plants.

Yucca at White Sands

Yucca at White Sands; picture from NPS

The plant itself is known by many different names – soapweed (because parts of the roots can be used as a soap substitute), beargrass, Spanish bayonet, and others. Nicknames include Lamps of Our Lord and Our Lords’ Candles.

They are pollinated by a specific species of moth that lives only on the yucca plant. It is an evergreen and you can find them throughout the state.

Most parts of the plant are edible, though they may be less appealing when you look at the long, spiky leaves. The flowers, leaves, fruits, and stems can all be eaten.

This is a beautiful symbol of the state.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

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Each week we will be linking up with the hosts of Blogging Through the Alphabet. Please visit some of these other blogs to get things like book lists, vegan recipes, and wonderful places to visit, just to name the topics I can think of off the top of my head.

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You can also join us and link up your own Blogging Through The Alphabet Post!! Just be sure to follow these simple rules–

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* If you have time, check out a few of the other posts and share the love.
* The most important rule is to make sure you are having fun! This is not something we want you to be stressed out over. We want to see all the fun ideas that everyone comes up with for the letters!

New Mexico Bucket List – W ~ Blogging Through The Alphabet

Blogging Through The Alphabet W vertical image

There is always one place that pops to mind immediately when I think of anything related to New Mexico with the letter W – White Sands.

I have lots of wonderful memories of time spent at White Sands. I grew up a bit over an hour away and we would go once a year or so, it seems like. White Sands is a National Monument so it is run by the National Park Service. There is plenty to do and see in this large expanse of white sand.

White Sands is located in the southern part of the state, just outside of Alamogordo. The Tularosa Basin is where you find over 275 miles of pure white gypsum sand dunes. The National Monument preserves a portion of this. Much of it is also found as part of the White Sands Missile Range.

If you visit the monument, you can run around the dunes, playing in the sand, sliding down the hills, or jumping off the edge of the highest one you can find. Take a picnic lunch and enjoy the day. If the wind picks up or a rain storm starts coming in, you will probably want to leave since it is not fun to be sand blasted. 🙂 But it is amazing to watch a storm come in over the dunes. Beautiful.

There are some other things you can do – hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, or cycling. Check in with the Ranger Station to find out about all of that.

You might recognize White Sands Missile Range as the place where much missile and rocket tests have been done. Probably the best known of these is the Trinity Site. This is where the first atomic bomb was tested. This was done not quite 3 weeks before an atomic bomb was dropped on Japan during WWII. There is a visitor center at this site and the area is open to the public a couple of times each year.

The WSMR is also a place where many of the rockets designed by Werner Von Braun (the German scientist who had a large role in the space race) were tested. The German scientists were housed close to the Missile Range and they tested many of the V-2 and further advancements.

The White Sands Missile Range was used for many different tests for the military and defense purposes. I can remember many times needing to go to Las Cruces or Albuquerque. To do so from our house, we had to travel through parts of the missile range and we made sure to check on missile testing before we left because it was not unusual for the roads to be closed if there was testing going on.

The other place to visit this week is Wheeler Peak. This is the tallest peak in the state is found up north, close to Taos and Red River. This beautiful peak is found in the Carson National Forest and is open to the public for many different outdoor activities. This peak is at 13, 161 feet above sea level. There is quite a bit of wildlife that you can expect to see while hiking or backpacking in the area.

Named for the man who surveyed the area in the late 1800s, Wheeler Peak is lovely place and great outdoor area. Be sure to take a look at the weather before you head out because the area is in the northern part of the state. This means that you could easily encounter late season storms in the spring or early season storms in the fall. Winter means that you should expect snow to be there but there are winter sports that you can do.

You can also make the Enchanted Circle drive which includes Wheeler Peak. Loads of options for visiting this mountain.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Each week we will be linking up with the hosts of Blogging Through the Alphabet. Please visit some of these other blogs to get things like book lists, vegan recipes, and wonderful places to visit, just to name the topics I can think of off the top of my head.

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You can also join us and link up your own Blogging Through The Alphabet Post!! Just be sure to follow these simple rules–

* Each post must be family friendly. If it is not, we have the right to remove it.
* When linking up to this post, you give us permission to share your post and/or a photo from your post in future posts and social media shares.
* Place the Blog Button from the site onto the post you are linking up.
* Use the hashtag #abcblogging when promoting your post. This will help us find you and help us promote you as well.
* If you have time, check out a few of the other posts and share the love.
* The most important rule is to make sure you are having fun! This is not something we want you to be stressed out over. We want to see all the fun ideas that everyone comes up with for the letters!

New Mexico Bucket List – V ~ Blogging Through The Alphabet

Blogging Through The Alphabet V image

There are some things in New Mexico that seem just, well, strange. As we noted in an earlier post, one of these is volcanoes in New Mexico. The other is what is called the Very Large Array or VLA. Let’s visit the VLA first.

VLA A024,_VLA_Radio_Telescopes,_New_Mexico,_USA,_2001

By Brian W. Schaller – Own work, FAL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30495896

The Very Large Array is an astronomical radio observation station. You will find the VLA about 50 miles west of the city of Socorro, out on the plains. There are 27 of the radio antennas out there, positioned in a large Y shape. Each of the antennas is 82 feet in diameter. The uniqueness of this is that each of the signals is combined to essentially create a single signal from what is the equivalent of a receiver 22 miles by 422 feet.

VLA Karl_G._Jansky_Very_Large_Array_(8279314499)

By BriYYZ from Toronto, Canada – Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25905886

So what does the VLA actually do? From the National Radio Astronomy Observatory site, “Radio astronomy is the study of celestial objects that give off radio waves. With radio astronomy, we study astronomical phenomena that are often invisible or hidden in other portions of the electromagnetic spectrum.” The gathered information is used by astronomers around the world.

On northward now to the Valles Caldera National Preserve. I think I may have put park on the image that I made for this week but it is technically a preserve, handled under the National Park Service. This area is located in the north-central part of the state in the Jemez Mountains. The preserve includes most of the caldera created by an eruption many, many years ago. A caldera is formed when the ground collapses into the magma chambers as the magma is erupted in a series of eruptions. (Yellowstone is another example of a caldera.)

The caldera is dormant, though not extinct. According to the NPS site, there are signs of volcanic life including boiling sulphuric acid fumaroles and hot springs. This area is considered one of the world’s best examples of an intact volcanic caldera.

In addition to the volcanic history found here, there is also plenty of examples of human history. This area was widely used for hunting and gathering lifestyles prior to the agricultural lifestyle that came about. The area has great obsidian deposits and many native cultures treasure the area and its resources. There is also a history here of the Spanish and Mexican settlements in the area, including some important land grants.

Valles Caldera Mountain_Bikers1

mountain bikers at Valles Caldera photo from National Park Service

The park is a beautiful place and there are many activities visitors can participate in. Of course, there is hiking and camping. There is fishing, horseback riding, visiting historic sites, mountain biking, and other activities including ranger-led options.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Blogging Through The Alphabet V vertical image

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Each week we will be linking up with the hosts of Blogging Through the Alphabet. Please visit some of these other blogs to get things like book lists, vegan recipes, and wonderful places to visit, just to name the topics I can think of off the top of my head.

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You can also join us and link up your own Blogging Through The Alphabet Post!! Just be sure to follow these simple rules–

* Each post must be family friendly. If it is not, we have the right to remove it.
* When linking up to this post, you give us permission to share your post and/or a photo from your post in future posts and social media shares.
* Place the Blog Button from the site onto the post you are linking up.
* Use the hashtag #abcblogging when promoting your post. This will help us find you and help us promote you as well.
* If you have time, check out a few of the other posts and share the love.
* The most important rule is to make sure you are having fun! This is not something we want you to be stressed out over. We want to see all the fun ideas that everyone comes up with for the letters!

New Mexico Bucket List – U ~ Blogging Through The Alphabet

Blogging Through The Alphabet U vertical image

Late again. I don’t know how these summer weeks are flying by so fast but I look up and I have missed it again! This week, though, I think I will blame it on the UFO. 🙂

Yes, we are going to head over to eastern NM to visit Roswell. Roswell is known to any sci-fi person as the place where the UFO crashed in 1947. Well, the story goes that it actually crashed about 70 miles northwest of Roswell, which is close to Capitan, in the Capitan mountains. There is a lot of story to this and the more you read, the more you find, plausible or not. Who knows where the truth actually lies since there are more angles to the story than people to tell them.

Roswell has lots to share about the UFOs and aliens. The International UFO Museum prides itself on being the top international place for UFO research and artifacts. There is a festival held in Roswell every year. I believe that happens on a weekend around July 4th since that is the date that the UFO is believe to have crashed.

If you want to read more about the UFO crash, you can visit the History channel. The first video is kind of interesting and the second one (the one with the background of the cows) was actually the radio broadcast of the press release about the UFO. Do be careful if you have little ones around as there is one video (the one under the heading about Project Mogul) that had an intro that had a couple of images that startled me and I did not watch the whole video.

Anyhow, if you find aliens interesting or want to read more about the Roswell Incident, perhaps these will help or you can just do a Google search. That turns up quite a few options.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Blogging Through The Alphabet U image

Be sure to visit the linkup, though I do believe I have missed it myself. There are plenty of other posts to read for the letter U that will be interesting.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Each week we will be linking up with the hosts of Blogging Through the Alphabet. Please visit some of these other blogs to get things like book lists, vegan recipes, and wonderful places to visit, just to name the topics I can think of off the top of my head.

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You can also join us and link up your own Blogging Through The Alphabet Post!! Just be sure to follow these simple rules–

* Each post must be family friendly. If it is not, we have the right to remove it.
* When linking up to this post, you give us permission to share your post and/or a photo from your post in future posts and social media shares.
* Place the Blog Button from the site onto the post you are linking up.
* Use the hashtag #abcblogging when promoting your post. This will help us find you and help us promote you as well.
* If you have time, check out a few of the other posts and share the love.
* The most important rule is to make sure you are having fun! This is not something we want you to be stressed out over. We want to see all the fun ideas that everyone comes up with for the letters!

New Mexico Bucket List – T ~ Blogging Through the Alphabet

Blogging Through The Alphabet T vertical image

Turquoise.

Something everyone should associate with New Mexico. Especially considering that it is our state stone.

turquoise stone image from DK Smithsonian Nature Guide: Rocks and Minerals, p 154

image from DK Smithsonian Nature Guide: Rocks and Minerals, p 154

Turquoise is the blue-green stone that is used a lot of native jewelry and decorations. It is extremely pretty and has a ton of variation. Turquoise is found mostly in arid environments. The mineral is generally found in veins rather than as crystals, though some crystalline form have been found. The veins run from a sky-blue to green depending on the iron content of the mineral. Some of it will be really blue while another stone will appear quite green and yet another almost white. Color is highly dependent upon the mine the turquoise is taken from.

You can read a lot more technical information on the stone.

Turquoise has been mined for centuries. There have been beads of turquoise found in ancient Mesopotamian cultures dating back to c. 5000BC. Stone carvers favor the mineral also, including some carvings from China that are known. According to this video, some of the oldest mines are actually in Egypt. There is some interesting information in this video and she shows some lovely pieces.

According to the DK Smithsonian Nature Guide Rocks and Minerals, the name turquoise comes from a French word for the country of Turkey, through which the mineral was first transported to Europe.

Turquoise can be used in any number of ways. Decorations such as dreamcatchers often include a piece of turquoise. SpeakingWood, my dad’s woodshop, is known to include turquoise in his woodwork. Many native people use turquoise in their handmade jewelry. These are just a few of the ways turquoise is used.

Speaking Wood hollow form bowls with turquoise inlay

hollow form bowls with turquoise rims inlaid; copyright SpeakingWood; picture from SpeakingWood

Speaking Wood image of turquoise on a bowl

turquoise stones on a bowl; copyright SpeakingWood; picture from SpeakingWood

New Mexico turquoise is so beautiful that it has had to be regulated. If you are purchasing something that is claiming to be turquoise, especially something new, the seller should have information on which mine it is from. I imagine that the older pieces, of which there are many, do not necessarily have that information.

If you really want to learn about turquoise, you must travel the Turquoise Trail. You can do this in a single day, starting from one of the points on the trail or you can take your time and go more slowly, really savoring all the beauty you will see. Another article on the Turquoise Trail is found in New Mexico magazine and is a really interesting read.

This is just a taste of all things NM Turquoise. It is beautiful and to own a piece of this turquoise is to own a piece of history. Whether it is a squash blossom necklace or a small chunk of beautiful colored turquoise, it is all special.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

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You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

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Each week we will be linking up with the hosts of Blogging Through the Alphabet. Please visit some of these other blogs to get things like book lists, vegan recipes, and wonderful places to visit, just to name the topics I can think of off the top of my head.

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You can also join us and link up your own Blogging Through The Alphabet Post!! Just be sure to follow these simple rules–

* Each post must be family friendly. If it is not, we have the right to remove it.
* When linking up to this post, you give us permission to share your post and/or a photo from your post in future posts and social media shares.
* Place the Blog Button from the site onto the post you are linking up.
* Use the hashtag #abcblogging when promoting your post. This will help us find you and help us promote you as well.
* If you have time, check out a few of the other posts and share the love.
* The most important rule is to make sure you are having fun! This is not something we want you to be stressed out over. We want to see all the fun ideas that everyone comes up with for the letters!

New Mexico Bucket List – S ~ Blogging Through The Alphabet

Blogging Through The Alphabet S image

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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You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Each week we will be linking up with the hosts of Blogging Through the Alphabet. Please visit some of these other blogs to get things like book lists, vegan recipes, and wonderful places to visit, just to name the topics I can think of off the top of my head.

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You can also join us and link up your own Blogging Through The Alphabet Post!! Just be sure to follow these simple rules–

* Each post must be family friendly. If it is not, we have the right to remove it.
* When linking up to this post, you give us permission to share your post and/or a photo from your post in future posts and social media shares.
* Place the Blog Button from the site onto the post you are linking up.
* Use the hashtag #abcblogging when promoting your post. This will help us find you and help us promote you as well.
* If you have time, check out a few of the other posts and share the love.
* The most important rule is to make sure you are having fun! This is not something we want you to be stressed out over. We want to see all the fun ideas that everyone comes up with for the letters!

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