Day Six -- Last Leg To Taos, 10 August 2010: We rolled out of Pagosa Springs headed for Taos at the crack of 10:00 am -- about our usual on-the-road schedule by the time we walked next door to breakfast, dragged the bags, and packed the pet cat Furry Purry. We thought we'd be on pavement most of the day, but of course, also as usual, ended up on a fair bit of gravel before we rolled into Taos (technically, into Arroyo Seco) to meet our friend Dave.
We started out heading south on US HWY 84. About fifteen miles down the road, we found gravel in the form of Coyote Park Road (County Road 359). The landscape slowly morphed from timbered hills into high, dry mesa country. The mesas had names like del Medio, Cortado, Archuleta, Diamante, and, prosaically enough, Briggs.
Into New Mexico -- We crossed into New Mexico at Edith on the Navajo River where the road became County Road 357 and ended at US HWY 64 in Lumberton NM.
When you get into "scrub" country, things like old corrals tend to be made from "found objects" more than from nice uniform materials like you see in Westerns.
And out in the road-less-traveled spots there were a number of old wagons and implements that in the dry heat were reasonably well preserved.
While there certainly wasn't much water in this country, the occasional small river wandered through, creating a wet strip oasis in the dry country.
Now and again, a more substantial tree had found a foothold and made a sculpture against the deep blue New Mexico sky.
Here and there flowers made a showing along the gravel road, even though it was early August and quite hot.
US HWY 64 joined US HWY 84 as we headed east to Chama. Confronted by the Tusas Mountains, the highway turned abruptly south.
The Brazos -- At Brazo NM, we could see a massive cliff face off to our left ahead of us -- the Brazos Cliffs of the Brazos Box -- a canyon carved 2,000 feet deep by the Rio Brazos River -- walls that are higher than those of the Rio Grande Gorge outside Taos. Aren't they massive and impressive? Volcanoes to the northeast produced the massive lava flows that filled the canyon 250,000 years ago. The river carved through the Precambrian quartzite. We couldn't find quickly a route over to The Box so we contented ourselves with a roadside stop to admire the cliffs.
The summit still featured a wealth of wildflowers -- even in August. It was a stunning array of alpine flora.
One thing I found the most interesting visually from among these many blooms, all within about a 100-yard radius, was the interspersing of a beautiful Orange Paintbrush with the cool green of the sage. Paintbrush is something of a parasite, growing right in with the sage and using its roots to obtain water.
At Tierra Amarilla, US HWY 64 turned east, leaving US HWY 84 to continue on south.
Day 1Rapid City SD to Laramie WY -- Day One, 5 August 2010Day 2Day Two, 5 August 2010 -- Laramie WY to Eagle CO Day 3Eagle CO to Montrose CO via North Rim of Black Canyon of the Gunnison: Day Three, 7 August 2010Day 4South Rim of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park CO: Day Four, 8 August 2010 Day 5Montrose CO to Pagosa Springs CO -- Day Five, 9 August 2010Day 6Pagosa Springs CO to Taos NM -- Day 6, 10 August 2010Day 7Around Taos NM -- Day Seven, 11 August 2010Day 8Wild Rivers Recreation Area, Red River, Questa, and Back to Taos -- Day Eight, 12 August 2010Day 9Driving the Enchanted Circle and Highway of Legends Scenic and Historic Byways -- Day 9, 13 August 2010Day 10Haciendas and Artists of Taos, Day 10, 14 August 2010Day 11Taos NM to Salida CO, Day 11, 15 August 2010Day 12Touring Around Salida CO, Day 12, 16 August 2010Day 13Salida CO to Loveland CO, Day 13, 17 Aug 2010Day 14Loveland CO to Torrington WY, Day 14, 18 Aug 2010Day 15Torrington WY to Rapid City SD Day 15, 19 Aug 2010