Last weekend I traveled to Carrizozo, New Mexico, to attend a banquet in honor of the winning photographers of the 2016 New Mexico Magazine Photography Contest. The banquet was held at the gallery hosting the winning photographs: Tularosa Basin Gallery of Photography. This is a beautiful gallery of New Mexico Photography by New Mexico Artists. I would love to be an artist hanging in this gallery. Someday maybe 🙂
The Tularosa Basin Gallery is located in a unique old building.
Inside the gallery – lovely displays
My friend Valerie was going to attend with me, but sadly she wasn’t feeling well. But the attendees of the event were all wonderfully gracious and friendly. I had a fabulous time speaking with other fellow winning artists, New Mexico Magazine staff, local attendees and the gallery staff.
The dinner was prepared by a local family and was absolutely delicious! The dinner setting was in the basement of the building. I love how the rooms had been kept as original as possible.
Beautiful setting for dinner
Warren (gallery owner) is standing and the New Mexico Magazine staff are seated.
Proudly standing by my winning photo
I left early in the morning to attend the event last Friday. I wanted to have plenty of the day to explore the area.
I stopped briefly at the Valley of Fires Recreation Area. This a big lava filled valley. There was a one-mile loop trail built out into the lava field. I had a fun time hiking the trail.
Edge of Valley of Fires
Trail through Valley of Fires
You couldn’t walk very easily through this valley without the trail.
Next stop was Three Rivers Petroglyph Site. There are over 21,000 petroglyphs at this site. I hiked about 1.5 miles exploring the rocks along the trail. There were drawings everywhere. It was amazing! The trail starts climbing right away so that you end up walking along the ridge of a hill. This made for a wonderful backdrop in some of my photos. The Sacramento Mountains were beautiful with the snow on them.
I think the main drawing is a roadrunner catching a snake
I love how this drawing is peeking out from the rocks.
Big Horn Sheep, Antelope, and Wolf Print among others
Some of the drawings were quite detailed. Real works of art.
This looks like a man in the fetal position.
I loved this big horn sheep with the arrows in it. Plus you can see the Native American designs on the body of the sheep as we still see them portrayed in their art today.
Beautiful depiction of the native peoples
It was a cold (20 degrees) and breezy day, but I had a great time and ended it with a wonderful evening at the Gallery.
At the end of Day 6 we had arrived at our cabin at the Zion Mountain Ranch. I woke up early the next morning to go birding and hopefully see the buffalo. The very first bird I saw when I started walking was a Sharp-Shinned Hawk. It was searching the pastures for breakfast.
As I headed to the back of the cabin area toward the large pasture surrounding the property, I heard lots of deep grunting. When I came closer to the pasture I saw this huge herd of buffalo. It was a beautiful sight. You could hear the grass tearing as they ate big mouthfuls of it. And they grunted while they ate. They were so close that I had trouble getting photos because I had my big zoom lens on my camera.
You can see how close they are to the cabins in this photo. One woman was enjoying her morning coffee to the wondrous sight of all the buffalo. I think I took over 500 photos of these magnificent animals.
Perfect morning breakfast scenery
My favorite photo was of this bull staring straight at me with red eyes.
Now I just couldn’t resist taking this buffalo moment…….
She’s looking at me thinking….how embarrassing…
Hanging out on the periphery of the buffalo herd was this uniquely colored bull. I loved the colors of his coat and the shape of his horns. He was quite a distance away and would never face me, so this was the best photo I could get.
I soon moved on and found a few other birds to photograph. The birds were far and few between which surprised me.
Around the farmhouse, the chickens were gearing up for the day. I liked the white rooster…he looks like he’s enjoying that stretch.
We had decided the evening before not to stay a second night at the ranch. When we looked at the amount of hours we were going to have to drive to get home from the ranch, we thought it best to drive to Page, Arizona, the next evening and cut about 2.5 hours off our travel time the last day. This meant we only had until about 5 pm to stay at Zion before leaving for Arizona. While eating lunch, I searched the internet for the best hiking trail to take for our visit into Zion. We wouldn’t have time to explore any more than one trail. We eventually chose the Emerald Pools trail. It’s a 3-mile out and back hike that takes you to three different pools with stunning scenery and waterfalls as you climb.
Trail to the emerald pools…it starts out paved but eventually turns into a single track.
As we started the hike, the sun was shining brightly overhead and it was pretty hot. Tim was ahead of me on the hike by this time because I was taking so many photos. I looked up and saw him standing above everyone. He loves being different from the masses. LOL!
Can you see Tim?
The first pool is very beautiful with a long waterfall filling it. I bet that waterfall is stunning during the spring runoff.
The first emerald pool
I liked that the trail took you around the pool and behind the waterfall.
After the first pool, you start climbing more aggressively. This quickly gives you a view from above the waterfall.
Beautiful even at a trickle
Climbing above the waterfall.
The second pool you see is just above the waterfall that fills the first pool…or would that actually be the third pool as it is downstream….hmmmm… I didn’t take many pics of the second pool because it was filled with people. It was very shallow and on bedrock so it made for a cool stop for hot hikers.
Heading to the top pool the hike became more steep. The views got more narrow as you headed into a canyon. As we neared the upper pool, the sun went behind the cliff and it made the hike much more beautiful and cooler.
Cliff surrounding the upper pool
Our favorite pool of the hike was the upper pool. Well worth the climb!
Kelly and Tim at the upper pool
What a beautiful setting
We spent quite a while enjoying this beautiful place and visiting with people from all over the world. I enjoyed the mystery the shadows created.
Soon we were heading back down. The sun was fully hidden from the trail by this time. I couldn’t believe how it transformed the trail. What was beautiful in the sunshine turned to breathtaking in the shade.
So many colors in the rock
The bottom pool was totally transformed.
With the sun gone I could appreciate the delicate stream of water
Emerald pool indeed
I loved the colors that became more rich now that the sun was gone.
Such a peaceful setting
Soon we were back at the trail head in the sunshine once more. We saw a lizard soaking up the sun. He had gorgeous coloring.
I wish we could have spent more time here but sadly the day had grown late and we needed to head to Arizona.
Kelly next to Virgin River
I love the drive that goes through the lower end of Zion on Highway 9. The scenery is stunning. It was difficult to do it justice from a moving car. Here are a few of my better shots.
I love the crisscross geology of this sandstone
Beautiful sandstone layers
A giant arch in the making
The highlight of the drive along Highway 9 through the park was coming upon some Bighorn Sheep right next to the road. They are very used to people and didn’t care one bit that I got out of the car to take photographs. At one point I was only about 15 feet away from some of the females.
We first saw this group of Bighorn Sheep climbing along the sandstone cliffs
We rounded a corner and saw some right next to the road. Beautiful!
A young one running to catch up with the others
This female was grazing right next to me!!
A majestic ram!
All too soon we were on our way to Arizona. I was sad to leave this beautiful part of the country. Some day I will be back to explore all Zion has to offer.