At 8:30 AM, bus will depart for visit at Petroglyph National Monument. You'll have information presented both on the bus and at the Petroglyphs.
Archaeological sites, ancient volcanoes and around 24,000 rock engravings are the highlights of this Monument, occupying several locations on the volcanic mesa northwest of Albuquerque. the main site is Rinconada Canyon, where a 2.2 mile loop trail passes several hundred petroglyphs; other significant locations are a few miles north at Boca Negra Canyon and Piedras Marcadas Canyon.
Bus will depart around 10:30 AM for Salinas Missions, arriving there about 12:30 PM.Lunch: Eat your boxed lunches, either on the bus or at a selected area at Salinas Missions.Afternoon: From 12:30 - 3:30 PM, we'll explore Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument. The little-visited Salinas Missions preserves the ruins of three 17th century Spanish missions in the grasslands of central new Mexico, near the small town of Mountainair. Gran Quivira is the most remote but also the best known, containing the remains of two churches and a sizable, partly reconstructed Indian pueblo. The other two sites (Abo and Quarai) are both centered on a large church built of red sandstone, plus other buildings and unexcavated pueblo ruins.Dinner: Dinner at the hotel from 6:00 - 7:00 PMEvening: Optional video or evening at your leisureLodging: MCM Elegante HotelMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
El Malpais has the most extensive lava fields in New Mexico. Located in the northwest part of the state, the fields cover an area of 60 by 35 miles. The best views are from NM 117, which follows the edge of the lava flow, passing a few named overlooks and trailheads, plus La Ventana Natural Arch, the largest such feature in New Mexico. The monument is quiet and relatively undeveloped; there are no paved footpaths and only limited access to the lava fields.
At 10:30 AM, bus will depart for El Morro National Monument.
During this part of the program, you'll find yourself in the Great Basin Grassland ecoregion.Lunch: Eat boxed lunches at El Morro from 11:30 - 12:30 PM.Afternoon: At approximately 1:00 PM, bus will depart for Gallup, NM. Gallup is in the Pinon-Juniper Woodlands Ecoregion, but you'll soon be into the Great Basin Desert ecoregion up around Shiprock. After a quick stop in Gallup, you'll travel on to Shiprock.
Shiprock (Navajo "rock with wings" or "winged rock" is a monadnock rising nearly 1,583 feet above the high-desert plain on the Navajo Nation in San Juan County, New Mexico. It has a peak elevation of 7,177 feet above sea level. It lies about 10.75 miles southwest of the town of Shiprock, which is named for the peak. Governed by the Navajo Nation, the formation is in the Four Corners region and plays a significant role in Navajo religion, mythology and tradition. It is located in the center of the Ancient Pueblo People or Ancestral Puebloan civilization, a prehistoric Native American culture of the Southwest United States often referred to as the Anasazi. Shiprock is a point of interest for rock climbers and photographers and has been featured in several film productions and novels. It is the most prominent landmark in northwestern New Mexico.
You'll have a photo op while at Shiprock. At 4:30 PM, bus will continue on to Farmington, where you'll check into the hotel about 5:00 PM.
Dinner: Dinner at selected location from 6:00 - 7:00 PMEvening: Evening at your leisureLodging: Hampton Inn & Suites FarmingtonMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
The badlands are marked by erosion, few plants and beautifully formed hills. Water constantly erodes the soft rock formations and winter moisture freezing during the night splits open vertical cracks and speeds erosion even more. Few plants, other than some lichen and moss, can survive here.
Ten thousand years ago, the climate was much cooler and there was more moisture. In those days, the land was covered with conifers and other trees, and the tall grasses that grew there attracted mammoths, horses, camels, ground sloths, giant armadillos, saber-toothed cats and bears. All disappeared as the climate warmed and dried out.
You'll see a vast expanse of low mountains and rock formations where short trails lead out to get a closer look at hoodoos, balanced rocks, and small canyons carved by wind and water. The area has no facilities, so we won't stay too long.
At approximately 10:00 AM, we'll depart for Aztec, arriving about 11:30 AM.Lunch: We'll have lunch in Aztec between 11:30 AM and 12:30 PM at a selected restaurant.Afternoon: After lunch, we'll depart for Aztec Ruins National Monument.
Pueblo people describe this site as part of their migration journey. Today you can follow their ancient passageways to a distant time. Explore a 900-year old ancestral Pueblo Great House of over 400 masonry rooms. Look up and see original timbers holding up the roof. Search for the fingerprints of ancient workers in the mortar.
Anasazi settlements in North America started during the middle 9th century and ran until around 1300. The Anasazi are believed to have moved to the Aztec site from Chaco Canyon, beginning around 1060-1080 and culminating by 1110-1120, the last period of construction at Aztec. The 1060-1080 period was spent at a site we now call Salmon Ruins, located on the San Juan River. The big San Juan solved most of the water problems experienced at Chaco, often too much so. It overflowed its banks often, ruining the lush farmlands where the Anasazi grew their crops, forcing them to look again for a new home, hence the move to Aztec, which lies on the much smaller Animas River. They left Aztec, bound for Mesa Verde's cliffs around 1130, and from 1150-1220, build the great cliff houses that occupy many of the alcoves in the Mesa Verde region. By 1300 the Anasazi have left Mesa Verde, exploding south, east and west to form the basis of the pueblo system as we know it today.
These relocations occurred due to drought or loss of nearby fertile land. Abandoned, their settlements slowly were covered by sand and remained untouched until the mid-1800s. These ruins would not receive official protection until 1923 when the national monument was established.
If time allows, we'll travel a few miles to see the Salmon Ruins. This site is an ancient Chacoan and Pueblo village. Salmon was constructed by migrants from Chaco Canyon around 1090 CE, with 275 to 300 original rooms spread across three stories, an elevated tower kiva in its central portion, and a great kiva in its plaza.Dinner: Bus will return to Farmington for the night; you'll have time to relax a bit before our 6:00 PM dinner.Evening: From 7:00 -8:00 PM, there will be a lecture about Chaco Canyon in a hotel meeting room.Lodging: Hampton Inn & Suites FarmingtonMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Please note that coaches cannot drive into Chaco due to the dirt roads, so a school bus will meet us in Nageezi to transport us. On arrival, see the Chaco Visitor Center.
Chaco is the densest and most exceptional concentration of pueblos in the American Southwest. The park is located in northwestern New Mexico, between Albuquerque and Farmington, in a remote canyon cut by the Chaco Wash. Containing the largest collection of ancient ruins north of Mexico, the park preserves one of the United States' most important pre-Columbian cultural and historical areas.
Between AD 900 and 1150, Chaco Canyon was a major center of culture for the Ancient Pueblo Peoples. Chacoans quarried sandstone blocks and hauled timber from great distances, assembling fifteen major complexes which remained the largest buildings in North America until the 19th century. Evidence of archaeoastronomy at Chaco has been proposed, with the "Sun Dagger" petroglyph at Fajada Butte a popular example. Many Chacoan buildings may have been aligned to capture the solar and lunar cycles, requiring vast astronomical observations and centuries of skillfully coordinated construction.
Climate change is thought to have led to the emigration of Chacoans and the abandonment of the canyon, beginning with a fifty-year drought commencing in 1130.
The Chacoans built their complexes along a 9 mile canyon floor, with walls being aligned cardinally or with the 18.6-year cycle of moonrise and moonset. There are nine Great Houses positioned along the north side; other Great Houses are found on mesa tops or in washes and drainage areas. Located along the central portion of the canyon are the largest complexes, including Pueblo Bonito, Pueblo del Arroyo, Casa Rinconada, Kin Kletso and Pueblo Alto.
Chaco Canyon is also located in the Great Basin Desert ecoregion.Lunch: Eat boxed lunches around noon at Chaco Canyon.Afternoon: Continue visit at Chaco Canyon until 3:30 PM. Bus departs at 3:30 PM to travel to Santa Fe for the night.Dinner: We'll stop for dinner in Cuba, NM, about two hours outside Santa Fe. El Bruno's Restaurante.
Cuba has a rich, multi-cultural history. It was the home of Anasazi and Gallina Indian cultures. There is today a large Navajo population living to the west, Apaches to the north, and Zia and Jemez Pueblo Indians to the south. The history of Cuba is closely tied to the land. Sheep, goats and cattle are raised here. Gold, silver, copper, coal and fertilizer have been mined in the area. Wheat, hay, fruits and pinon are harvested. Cuba was and is today a source of goods, services, school and health care for the surrounding communities. The restaurant, in business since 1975, is a charming place with great regional cuisine. We have always been grateful it was in Cuba, as it's a good place for a break in the long drive from Chaco to Santa Fe, and it's an excellent restaurant, too.
Evening: We'll arrive in Santa Fe at approximately 8:30 PM and check in at the hotel for the night.Lodging: The Lodge at Santa FeMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Pick up boxed lunches and depart for Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument.
The cone-shaped "tent rock" formations are the products of volcanic eruptions that occurred 6 to 7 million years ago and left pumice, ash and tuff deposits over 1,000 feet thick. Tremendous explosions from the Jemez volcanic field spewed pyroclasts (rock fragments), while searing hot gases blasted down slopes in an incandescent avalanche called a “pyroclastic flow.”
Precariously perched on many of the tapering hoodoos are boulder caps that protect the softer pumice and tuff below. Some tents have lost their hard, resistant caprocks and are disintegrating. While fairly uniform in shape, the tent rock formations vary in height from a few feet to 90 feet. As the result of uniform layering of volcanic material, bands of gray are interspersed with beige and pink-colored rock along the cliff face.
Over time, wind and water cut into these deposits, creating canyons and arroyos, scooping holes in the rock, and contouring the ends of small, inward ravines into smooth semi-circles. The complex landscape and spectacular geologic scenery of the national monument has been a focal point for visitors for centuries.
The national monument includes a national recreational trail. It is for foot travel only, and contains two segments that provide opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, geologic observation and plant identification.The Cave Loop Trail is 1.2 miles long, rated as easy. The more difficult Canyon Trail is a 1.5-mile, one-way trek into a narrow canyon with a steep (630-ft) climb to the mesa top for excellent views of the Sangre de Cristo, Jemez, Sandia mountains and the Rio Grande Valley.Lunch: We'll have a box lunch while at Tent Rocks.Afternoon: After lunch, bus will return to the hotel in Santa Fe, arriving at about 1:30 PM. Your afternoon and evening are at your leisure to enjoy Santa Fe or rest at the hotel.Dinner: Dinner is on your own tonight. If you'd like some restaurant suggestions, your group leader can provide you with some favorites.Lodging: The Lodge at Santa FeMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
The Tsankawi section of Bandelier National Monument is 12 miles from the main section of the park. At Tsankawi, you can take a 1.5 mile walk along a mesa, viewing cavates, petroglyphs and the Ancestral Pueblo village of Tsankawi. Climbing ladders is a required activity at this site.
Bus departs at about noon for the village of Chimayó.Lunch: Lunch at the charming and very popular restaurant, Rancho de ChimayóAfternoon: After lunch, you'll have about an hour to see some of the little town of Chimayó, including a weaving center and the 'Lourdes of North America," El Santuario de Chimayó, famed for the reputed powers of the "healing earth" found inside.
Bus will depart for Taos via the High Road at 3:00 PM. You'll pass through the little town of Truchas, where much of the movie, "The Milagro Beanfield War" was filmed. There will be some stops for photos - it's a beautiful drive through Pinon-Juniper Ecoregion. You'll arrive in Taos and check in at the hotel around 4:30 PM.Dinner: Dinner in selected restaurant in Taos from 6:00 - 7:30 PM. Return to the hotel after dinner to relax and rest a bit.Lodging: Sagebrush Inn & SuitesMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Taos Pueblo today stands as the largest surviving multi-storied Pueblo structure in the United States. The crystal clear waters of the Rio Pueblo, which originate high in the mountains at sacred Blue Lake, still serves as the primary source for drinking and irrigation.
The artists of Taos Pueblo produce beautiful handcrafted wares using techniques passed down through generations.
In 1960, Taos Pueblo was designated a National Historic Landmark; it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966. In 1992, the Pueblo was admitted by the United Nations to the “World Heritage List,” due to its uniqueness and universal value to the heritage of all mankind.
At 10:00 AM, the bus departs for Cimarron, NM, via the beautiful Enchanted Circle.
This Scenic Byway has a taste of everything that's New Mexico and links the oldest continuously occupied residence in New Mexico, Taos Pueblo, with Angel Fire, which was incorporated in 1986.
This winding route takes you through some of the most beautiful areas of Northern New Mexico. View alpine valleys, wild flowers, clear blue lakes, evergreen forests, and historic western communities. The route circles the state's highest mountain, Wheeler Peak.
We'll have some stops for photo ops, stretching and just enjoying the glorious vistas.
Lunch: Lunch at the historic St. James Hotel in CimarronAfternoon: After lunch, we will depart for Las Vegas, NM, with a brief stop at Fort Union National Monument, which houses the ruins of a fort built in 1851. (The Monument closes at 4:00 PM, and we'll stay as long as we can; with luck, we'll have about an hour to visit there.)
When New Mexico became a United States territory after the Mexican-American War, the army established garrisons in towns scattered along the Rio Grande to protect the area's inhabitants and travel routes. This arrangement proved unsatisfactory for a number of reasons, and in April 1851, Lt. Col. Edwin V. Sumner, commanding Military Department No. 9 (which included New Mexico Territory), was ordered "to revise the whole system of defense" for the entire territory. Among his first acts was to break up the scattered garrisons and relocate them in posts closer to the Indians. He also moved his headquarters and supply depot from Santa Fe, "that sink of vice and extravagance," to a site near the Mountain and Cimarron branches of the Santa Fe Trail, where he established Fort Union.
Bus departs for Las Vegas, NM about 4:30 PM, arriving around 5:15 PM for hotel check-in at the historic Las Vegas Plaza Hotel.Dinner: Dinner from 6:00 - 7:00 PM at the Plaza HotelEvening: From 7:00 - 8:30 PM, there will be a lecture in a hotel classroom about the fascinating history of Las Vegas. You'll learn about some of the very unusual things that happened here over the years.Lodging: The Plaza HotelMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
The first Pecos pueblo was one of two dozen rock-and-mud villages built in the valley around AD 1100 in the prehistoric Pueblo II Era. Within 350 years, the Pueblo IV Era Pecos village had grown to house more than 2,000 people in its five-storied complex. This sizable Pueblo community on the edge of the Plains was occupied for over 400 years. It was important in the history of the Spanish arrival in New Mexico, and the Spanish built and occupied a mission at the site for about 200 of those years.
Pecos was visited by expeditionaries with Francisco Vásquez de Coronado in 1540. The Spanish mission church, Mission Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles de Porciúncula de los Pecos, was built there in 1619. A traditional kiva was built in front of the church during the Pueblo Revolt in 1680 as a rejection of the Christian religion brought by Spanish colonists. However, when the Spanish returned in 1692, the Pecos community stayed on friendly terms with them. The site was abandoned in 1838, after the Pecos population suffered from marauding Comanches. The surviving remnant of the Pecos population moved to the Jemez Pueblo.
Another part of the park is the Forked Lightning Ranch, complete with a beautiful home designed by John Gaw Meem for Tex Austin and later occupied by Greer Garson and her husband, Buddy Fogelson. Ms. Garson took particular interest in the area, and, after the Visitors' Center was built, could be found pulling weeds in front of the entry area. She and Mr. Fogelson turned the land and ruins area over to the U.S. Government in an effort to preserve this very important part of New Mexico's history. The Pecos Pueblo site was declared a National Historic Landmark on October 9, 1960.
A 1.25-mile self-guiding trail begins at the nearby visitor center and winds through the ruins of Pecos Pueblo and the mission church.Lunch: Bus will travel from Pecos to Moriarty between 11:00 and 11:45 AM, and lunch will be at selected restaurant in Moriarty from 11:45 AM-12:45 PM.Afternoon: After lunch, bus will depart for Ruidoso. We'll be traveling through some really beautiful areas with interesting geological formations. We'll go from Pinon-Juniper Woodlands to Great Plains Grassland and into some Montane Forest ecoregions. There will be opportunities to stop and take in all the scenic beauty as well as some great photo ops on the way.
Time should permit, unless we decide to spend extra time walking around and looking at things on the way to Ruidoso, for you to have about an hour to spend upon arrival in Ruidoso walking about the charming downtown area. There are lots of delightful arts and crafts shops, some little sidewalk cafes where you can enjoy a coffee and some very nice art galleries. Most close at 5:00 PM, so after we see how this part of the afternoon goes, we'll board the bus and travel to the hotel for check-in.Dinner: Dinner at selected restaurant in Ruidoso from 6:30 - 8:00 PMEvening: Bus will return to the hotel about 8:00 PM and you can have a little time to relax after dinner.Lodging: Comfort Inn MidtownMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
After spending some time in Lincoln, you'll get back on the bus and travel through some of the Lincoln National Forest. It covers 1,103,897 acres. It was named in honor of Abraham Lincoln and is the birthplace of Smokey Bear, the living symbol of the campaign to prevent forest fires. Forest headquarters are in Alamogordo, New Mexico. There are local ranger district offices in Carlsbad, Cloudcroft, and Ruidoso. The Lincoln National Forest borders the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation.
The bus will continue on to Roswell.
Its population was 48,366 at the 2010 census. The town is a center for irrigation farming, dairying, ranching, manufacturing, distribution, and petroleum production. It is also the home of New Mexico Military Institute (NMMI), founded in 1891. Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge is located a few miles northeast of the city on the Pecos River.Lunch: We'll have lunch in Roswell at a selected restaurant from about 11:45 AM - 1:00 PM.Afternoon: After lunch, bus will travel the short distance to Roswell's UFO Museum.
Roswell is most popularly known for having its name attached to what is now called the 1947 Roswell UFO incident, even though the crash site of the alleged UFO was some 75 miles from Roswell and closer to Corona. The investigation and debris recovery was handled by the local Roswell Army Air Field. The Museum will give you some interesting 'facts' about the event and you'll see some rather unusual things while we're there! The owners are delightful and love having people visit the Museum. There are some fun little souvenirs you might wish to take home to prove you really went to this interesting place!
At 2:30 or so, we'll depart for Artesia, visiting Bottomless Lakes State Park on the way.
The park is located twelve miles east of Roswell on US 380.
The lakes are not fed by streams, and the evaporation rate of the lakes in the hot desert climate exceeds the rate at which rainwater refills them. The lakes are fed by underground water percolating through the rocks and into the lakes. The high evaporation rate produces brackish water. Seven of the lakes are protected, although in recent years the lakes have been contaminated by trash that has been thrown into the lakes by careless visitors. The ninth and southernmost lake, Dimmitt Lake, is not a part of the state park and is owned by the Fin and Feather Club, a local hunting and fishing club.
Four endangered species can be found in the park. The Pecos pupfish and the Rainwater Killifish are both endangered species of fish, and the Cricket Frog and the Eastern Barking Frog also live in the park.
We'll continue on to Artesia, arriving between 4:30 and 5:30 PM and checking into the hotel.Dinner: Dinner at selected restaurant in ArtesiaLodging: Best Western Pecos InnMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
250 million years ago, the area surrounding Carlsbad Caverns served as the coastline for an inland sea. Present in the sea was a plethora of marine life, whose remains decomposed into a reef growth. Unlike modern reef growths, the Permian reef contained bryozoans, sponges, and other microorganisms. After the Permian period, most of the water evaporated exposing the reef to salts and sediment that encapsulated the reef. Tectonic movement occurred during the late Tertiary period, uplifting the reef above ground. Susceptible to erosion, water sculpted the Guadalupe Mountain region into its present-day state.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park sits in a bed of limestone above a layer of groundwater; below the groundwater are petroleum reserves (part of the Mid-Continent Oil Field). At a time near the end of the Tertiary period, hydrogen sulfide began to seep upwards from the petroleum into the water table. The combination of hydrogen sulfide and oxygen from the water formed sulfuric acid, which then continued upward, aggressively dissolving the limestone deposits to form caverns.
Erosion processes occurring above ground created the natural entrance to the Carlsbad Caverns within the last million years. Growths from the roof downward formed through this process are known as stalactites. Additionally, water on the floor of the caverns can contain carbonic acid and generate mineral deposits by evaporation. Growths from the floor upward through this process are known as stalagmites. You will see stunning formations and will, we think, be amazed that such underground beauty exists.Lunch: Lunch at the Carlsbad Caverns cafeteriaDinner: Dinner at the hotelLodging: Best Western Pecos InnMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
On January 18, 1933, President Herbert Hoover created the White Sands National Monument. It is completely surrounded by military installations (White Sands Missile Range and Holloman Air Force Base) and has always had an uneasy relationship with the military.
Gypsum is rarely found in the form of sand because it is water-soluble. Normally, rain would dissolve the gypsum and carry it to the sea. The Tularosa Basin is enclosed, meaning that it has no outlet to the sea and that rain that dissolves gypsum from the surrounding San Andres and Sacramento Mountains is trapped within the basin. Thus water either sinks into the ground or forms shallow pools which subsequently dry out and leave gypsum in a crystalline form, called selenite, on the surface. Some species of plants, however, can grow fast enough to avoid being buried by the dunes.
Unlike dunes made of quartz-based sand crystals, the gypsum does not readily convert the sun's energy into heat and thus can be walked upon safely with bare feet, even in the hottest summer months. Because the park lies completely within the White Sands Missile Range, both the park and U.S. Route 70 between Las Cruces, New Mexico and Alamogordo are subject to closure for safety reasons when tests are conducted on the missile range. On average, tests occur about twice a week, for a duration of one to two hours.Lunch: Eat boxed lunches at White Sands National MonumentAfternoon: At 12:30 PM, bus departs for City of Rocks State Park. The Park was established in1952 and encompasses a one- square- mile area in the scenic Chihuahuan desert region of southeastern New Mexico at the elevation of 5,200 feet. The “city” is a truly geologic monument formed by large sculptured rock columns, or pinnacles, rising as high as 40 feet and separated by paths or lanes resembling city streets. These rocks were formed about 34.9 million years ago when a very large volcano erupted. Then, erosion over millions of years slowly formed the sculptured columns seen here today.
The bus will depart for Santa Rita, NM and its open-pit copper mine. The Chino Mine is an open-pit copper mine located 15 miles east of Silver City.
The mine was started as the Chino Copper Company in 1909 and is currently owned and operated by Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold subsidiaries.
The area where the mine is located is at an average elevation of 5,699 feet. The huge open-pit mine was once the largest in the world, but has been surpassed by Chuquicamata, and is perhaps the oldest mining site still being used in the American southwest. The present-day open-pit mining operation was begun in 1910. It is the third oldest open pit copper mine in the world.
About 3:30 PM, bus will depart for Silver City, with a drive-thru at Fort Bayard. Fort Bayard played an integral role in protecting settlers and miners in the Los Pinos and Silver City mining districts.
Soldiers from the fort battled many of the most famous Apache war leaders, including Geronimo. The first all-African-American regular army units made up of enlisted personnel, referred to as Buffalo soldiers, were organized in 1866 in the close of the Civil War. Fort Bayard was home to hundreds of African American soldiers, who fought Apaches with distinction and who participated in the chase for Geronimo. In 1899 the post of Fort Bayard was transferred to the Army Medical Department.
Check into hotel upon arrival in Silver City.Dinner: Dinner at selected restaurant in Silver CityEvening: Short lecture in hotel meeting room about the Mogollon Indians, Gila Cliff Dwellers and Mimbres Indians who lived in southwestern New Mexico. Most people don't know much about these Native Americans, but they left behind them some fascinating remnants of their lives.Lodging: Holiday Inn Express HotelMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
The monument is on a location of 553 acres. The cliff itself was created by volcanic activity and contains the ruins of interlinked cave dwellings built in five cliff alcoves by the Mogollon peoples.
People of the Mogollon culture lived in these cliff dwellings from between 1275 and 1300 AD (Pueblo III Era), which is the only location that contains Mogollon sites. Archaeologists have identified 46 rooms in the five caves, and believed they were occupied by 10 to 15 families. It is not known why the dwellings were abandoned. Hopi oral tradition does say migrations occurred due to cycles of beliefs, and in response to changing climate. People also lived in Javalina House, about 1/3 mile above the main ruin, West Fork Ruin. Three Mile Ruin and the 11-room Cosgrove Ruin.
The dwellings were a perfect place for human living. The caves provided adequate shelter, while the wooded area concealed the homes. Impressively, the wood found in these shelters has proven to be original. Dendrochronology (tree ring dating) determined that the wood used in the dwellings was cut down sometime between 1276 to 1287. The nearby area also provided for growing and finding food.
Visiting the Dwellings up close requires hiking a well-traveled, one mile trail loop with several foot bridges over a stream. The entire walk takes about an hour. The hike begins at an elevation of 5,695 feet and ends at 5,875 feet. Bus returns to Silver City at 12:30 PM.Lunch: Depending on timing for this field trip, we'll either take sack lunches along for a picnic, or return to Silver City for lunch at a local restaurant.Afternoon: After lunch from approximately 2:00 - 3:30 PM, we'll take you to the Western New Mexico University Museum. Exhibitions feature the largest, most comprehensive permanent exhibition of prehistoric Mimbres Mogollon pottery and artifacts in the world, and include separate displays of basketry, footwear, cordage, stone tools, and stone and shell jewelry. Prehistoric pottery and artifacts of the Upland Mogollon, Casas Grandes, Salado, and Anasazi are also exhibited.
After the Museum visit, we'll do a short driving exploration of Silver City. Situated in the foothills of the spectacular Pinos Altos Mountains, Silver City lies just east of the Continental Divide, in southwestern New Mexico. Norman Ford, in his recent book, "50 Healthiest Places to Live and Retire," gave the historic community a high rating, primarily due to climate, elevation, terrain and "lack of urban stress."
Silver City lies at the center of an outdoor recreation paradise. It is a gateway to the three-million-three-hundred-thousand-acre Gila National Forest. The forest includes the Gila Wilderness, the first land in the world to be set aside specifically as a wilderness area and, today, the largest wilderness in the Southwest.
Silver City’s quiet, tree-lined streets, with their mellow adobe and stately Victorian homes from a bygone age, are but a short walk away from the busy downtown center with its modern shopping. Mining, ranching, tourism and the one-hundred-and-seven- year-old Western New Mexico University are the major contributors to a thriving economy.
We will give you a little time to walk a few blocks in the downtown area - there are art galleries, charming shops, and some fascinating old buildings to photograph; we think you'll like this charming little city. Bus will take you back to the hotel around 5:00 PM to relax for a bit and get ready for dinner.
Dinner: Bus will depart at 6:30 PM for dinner at the historic Buckhorn Saloon and Opera House in Pinos Altos, NM.
The Buckhorn Saloon has long been known for its warm atmosphere and diverse clientele. The bar on the mountain sits at 7000’ feet. Since it first opened in the 1860’s the Buckhorn has been a gathering place for great food, music and camaraderie. Whether it’s strangers sharing tables, standing on the front porch to watch the sunset, or basking in the warmth of the fire in the winter, locals, world travelers and people from all walks of life feel at home in this historic bar.
The Opera House steps back into the charm of a different era. Musicians from all over love to play here because of our great audiences and intimate venue.
The Buckhorn Saloon started the first open mic evenings in the area and it has become a community staple. Traveling musicians as well as our beloved locals come to play & share their music on one of our most popular nights! If you have something to share, you couldn’t ask for a more appreciate crowd!
The Buckhorn Saloon has music 4 nights a week, sometimes more if they get a traveling musician that needs a place to showcase his talents.
After a year-long renovation, the Buckhorn Saloon & Opera House reopened under new proprietorship in May 2010.The Buckhorn continues to serve delicious steakhouse-style meals, and Chef Thomas Bock has added some great new "house specialties" to the menu.
The Buckhorn has three dining areas to choose from and radiates a warm, elegant, and very comfortable old world charm.
The bus will return to the hotel after dinner.
Lodging: Holiday Inn Express HotelMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
After this stop, we'll continue on through Magdalena, some more of the Cibola National Forest, and enter onto I-25 at the town of Socorro.
The bus will travel the last 70 miles or so into Albuquerque, arriving at approximately 5:30 PM. We'll check into the hotel and give you a little time to rest before dinner.Dinner: Dinner at the hotel from 6:30 - 7:30 PMEvening: Program closing at 7:30 PM in hotel meeting room. We hope you'll share some of your favorite experiences with the rest of the group.Lodging: MCM Elegante HotelMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner