My wife and I recently spent 7 day in Northern New Mexico with plans for a lot of shooting and scouting locations for future trips. I have to say it was a wonderful trip and I can't wait to get back. Our home base for this trip was a house about 4.5 miles out from Red River, New Mexico. We shared the house with other family members who had been to this location several times over the last several years, and basically had an itinerary for each day.
With 6-7 people heading out together each day, the trip turned in to more of a scouting trip than shooting trip, but I did get several shots I wanted.
My first discovery was on the first night after sundown. I walked out on the deck and saw a sky like I have seen only a few times in the last 25 years. At that high elevation and clear air the stars were as brilliant as can be seen. The Milky Way was as distinct and defined as it could possibly be. It was absolutely awe inspiring. Looking to the south you could follow it all the way across the sky to the north. I immediately grabbed the camera, tripod and remote trigger and set up for many shots. This was to be repeated on more than one night.
One day was spent in Taos where I think I could spend a couple more days scouting and shooting. I shot the church, San Francisco de Asis. I had wanted to go into the Taos Pueblo, but found it closed for a week as they were preparing for some event there. I returned to Taos on my last full day and spent the morning shooting adobe houses and back for some more of the same church I had previously shot. While in Taos we went to the Rio Grande River Gorge bridge. which was alright, but seemed like more of a tourist trap than anything else. It was also mid day and the light was very harsh. I did shoot some Desert Bighorn Sheep there, but didn't get much in the way of keepers.
One day was spent hiking 2 miles up to Middlefork Lake. I was a little apprehensive about this hike, as it is a pretty steep incline, but I managed it ok, but would not have wanted to go any further. The sites along this trail were well worth it.
Another day was spent driving through Valle Vidal and one of Ted Turner's ranches. This drive is basically an all day affair, mostly gravel road, but wow, what sights! We saw so much wildlife and just incredible country! Toward the end of this drive, we came across a black bear about 30 yards off the road, in a creek bottom eating grass. We stopped, got out of the vehicles and spent probably 15 minutes, watching and shooting this incredible animal. Fortunately for us, the bear was not concerned about our presence and continued his activity. One other thing of note on this day; we did not see any elk on this trip. As we were headed back to home base, driving through Cimarron Canyon after dark, we rounded a switchback, and there in the middle of the road was standing a huge Bull Elk. We came to a complete stop as we and the elk looked at each other for a few seconds, and the elk took off and was gone. It was a great sight to finish a long day.
All in all, it was a fantastic trip, and I will definitely be headed back. New Mexico is definitely enchanting!