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07/08/10
Estes Park to Albuquerque
Filed under: General, Birding & Outdoors, NM & SW US, Grandchildren, Sandia Crest
Posted by: Ken @ 3:34 pm

YMCA entrance sign:

YMCA Sign 20100617

(Continuation of previous post)

We last visited the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, Colorado several times in the 1970s and ’80s, when I attended continuing medical education conferences of the American Academy of Family Physicians. I combined the trips with a few vacation days. We’d pack our children into the station wagon and drive up from Dallas. The children were kept busy with Day Camp programs, and the conference schedule allowed us for family fun, such as hay rides, hiking and sightseeing. Although the facility is now much larger, the cabins are stil fairly secluded. As their parents had before them, our grandchildren also enjoyed a wonderful selection of Day Camp activities.

Our cabin (Robin’s Nest), at 8,500 feet elevation, was flanked by those of our children and grandchildren:

Robins Nest 20100617

Missing from this photo of the Schneider clan are our daughter Karen and her husband Randy, who had to return home because of his brother’s sudden death, and our son-in-law Roly, who took the picture:

The Schneider clan

Bachelor groups of elk gathered near the cabins. In the fall they will fill the air with their bugling, and compete with each other as they assemble the females into harems:

Three bull elk 20100615

A Pine Siskin gathered nesting materials beside our cabin:

Pine Siskin gathering nest material 20100617

This Tiger Swallowtail provided a photo-op::

Tiger Swallowtail 20100617

Having left my butterfly guide back in Florida, I found this Common Ringlet, a species that has expanded its range southward from Canada:

Butterfly 20100617

We joined our younger daughter and family on a scenic drive through southern Colorado to New Mexico, staying two nights at The Inn on the Delta in Espanola:

Inn at the Delta 3-20100618

The rooms were cozy and luxurious:

Inn at the Delta 8-20100618

A male House Sparrow perched in the Inn’s courtyard:

 House Sparrow 20100619

We made side trips to Abiquiu and Ghost Ranch, NM, and to Taos Pueblo. The vibrant colors and forbidding topography of Ghost Ranch inspired many of Georia O’Keefe’s paintings:

Near Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu 2-20100619

The hills, sculpted by wind and water, are rich in fossils:

Near Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu 20100619

Remarkably, a pair of Barn Swallows had plastered their mud nest on the smooth metal surface of one of the portal lights at the museum at Ghost Ranch:

Ghost Ranch Barn Swallow 20100619

After two nights in Espanola, we departed for Albuquerque by way of Santa Fe, where St. Francis of Assisi Cathedral loomed over the old city:

St Francis Cathedral in Santa Fe 20100620

In Santa Fe’s Central Plaza, our granddaughters made friends with two vendors and a macaw:

Girls with Macaw 2-20100620

Following the Turquoise Trail southward, we drove up to Sandia Crest before descending into Albuquerque. The hummingbird feeder at Crest House attracted quite a crowd of Broad-tailed Hummiingbirds. Here, a male hovers, a mile above the City of Albuquerque:

Broad-tailed Hummingbird 20100620

Before departing for California, we visited the ancient Acoma Pueblo, situated west of Albuquerque, high on an arid mesa. At bottom of this page, view a slide show of the Pueblo (select full screen mode). This is the Acoma mission church:

Church at Acoma Pueblo 20100621

2 Responses to “Estes Park to Albuquerque”

  1. Richard Says:
    Condolences on your son-in-law’s brother’s death. Great photos of my favorite state, and it sounds like you had a great time. Interesting in the slideshow how some of the doors had rocks holding them closed: a way for the occupants to indicate they’re out, perhaps?
  2. Ken Says:
    Thank you, Richard. While it’s true that the rocks are a sure sign that the occupants are away, I think they serve as extra “locks” for the doors, as the winds can get pretty fierce on top of the mesa. Many of the homes are unoccupied except for ceremonial and feast days.

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