January 17-18, 2020 – Part 1 of 3 from a five day, four night road trip through New Mexico
For mine and Chris’ annual GTFO of Utah January road trips, we normally head for warmer climates such as southern California or Arizona. This time we drove into New Mexico, and much of the trip was as cold as if we’d stayed close to home. We left on Friday afternoon before the long Martin Luther King Jr. weekend and found a place to camp in Cañon Largo southeast of Farmington. In another departure from our usual trips, instead of eating junky snack food for all our meals, I brought fresh ingredients and made from-scratch meals each evening. On our first night we enjoyed a late dinner of orange chicken and snow peas, and enjoyed the warmth of a campfire for a couple of hours before crawling into sleeping bags on our cots.
On Saturday morning we slept in late, and then it was a short seven mile drive to Crow Canyon, also known as Cuerva Canyon or Cuervo Canyon depending on which map you consult. We spent the morning looking at the many petroglyphs in the canyon.
In the afternoon we drove up onto Encinada Mesa, directly above Crow Canyon, and visited several ruins. Most of them were isolated ruins that I knew about in advance, but one in particular I hadn’t noticed while planning our trip. The Shaft Ruin was a very extensive set of ruins that we only found out about because there was a geocache nearby. On the way there we encountered a dog running down the road, and suddenly I felt responsible for it and started wondering how I was going to get it out of the middle of nowhere to safety. It ran ahead of us for a long way to the parking area for Shaft Ruin, where there was a truck with a man and a kid in it. The dog turned out to be theirs, and the man was having a difficult time getting the dog to come to him–it kept trying to follow me and Chris to the ruins. The man wasn’t very friendly and I got the impression the dog wasn’t happy with its situation. They finally left and Chris and I hiked down to the ruins and spent considerable time there marveling among them.
After the cold we’d experienced the previous night, we decided to head far south in search of a warmer place to camp. We spent the rest of the evening driving over 200 miles to Cañon Saladito.
Photo Gallery: New Mexico I: Crow Canyon and Encinada Mesa