A trip to the Jemez Mountains is the perfect get-away for Burqueños fleeing their city in any season. However, when cold winds and snowbanks preemptively ruin picnic plans, it's good to know that the tiny town of Jemez Springs has several options for warming your bones with good food and drink, no matter what time of day you arrive.
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The first time I drove through Las Vegas, I had no idea what lay hidden beyond the freeway exits. I remember a Chinese restaurant along the main gas/food drag, and any number of New Mexican restaurants and familiar fast foods. But I’ve since embarked down the side streets to get a closer look at what was once a boomtown. It’s a nice outing just 125 miles from Burque, through verdant hills and open grasslands.
Sometimes I like to pretend I’m David Byrne exploring the fictional Texas town of Virgil in the 1986 art-house classic True Stories. That’s why I made the seven-hour car trip to Marfa, Texas (population: 1,981 in the last census).
I’ve wanted to visit Silver City since a serious foodie told me about Rob Connoley and the Curious Kumquat two years ago. The nearly six-hour drive—if you turn west from I-25 onto Highway 152 through Hillsboro—is a swath of New Mexico wilderness brimming with hawk sightings, spectacular rises and valleys, and an overlook of the Santa Rita copper mine east of town.
A few weeks back, our New Mexico-traversing columnist Elizabeth W. Hughes found herself in love with the Gila. She wrote a great piece on its beauty and archaeological wonders, “Travelog: Gila’s monster fan.”
Then, tragically, lightning sparked flames in the Gila National Forest, and by the end of May, the resulting fire had grown to become the largest in our state’s history.
On Monday, more than a third of the fire was contained. The Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, which Hughes explored during her visit, will reopen tomorrow. The air quality is good, according to the post at New Mexico Fire Information.
State Route 15 is a remote drive with twisting switchbacks and piney mountaintop lookouts. After a full five hours, I made a right turn onto a dirt road about four miles south of the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument toward my destination, the hot springs camp.