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Thread: 5 New National Monuments

  1. #1
    David Lobato David Lobato's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Baltimore MD

    5 New National Monuments

    Any thoughts on the new National Monuments with regard to large format photography? Especially for new locales in relatively unexplored places, so we can pioneer new tripod holes.

    They are Rio Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico; First State National Monument in Delaware; Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument in Maryland; Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Ohio; and San Juan Islands National Monument in Washington state.

    For me, Rio Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico, generates the most curiosity. Anyone else making plans to check them out?

  2. #2
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Albuquerque, Nuevo Mexico

    Re: 5 New National Monuments

    Yes I want to check that out I know the area slightly.
    See this:

    at age 73:
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Austin TX

    Re: 5 New National Monuments

    The Rio Grande Del Norte proposed area is interesting. I would not have thought it a likely candidate. Really only two geomorphologically interesting places just south of the CO. border. Ute Mt. and the Rio Grande river itself bounded by high (600 ft.) cliffs. The dry valley floor is fairly featureless covered with sagebrush. I've roamed a lot of the area. I will say Ute Mt. (expected to be included) is pretty fascinating and botanically interesting at its' higher elevations. If rafting and kayaking opens up there could be some pretty good photography along the river if one can get to the river bottom. There are a few crummy 4 wheel drive roads threading the area.

    I find the Spanish peaks area to the north in CO much more interesting, especially the exposed escarpments running down the mountain sides.

    Nate Potter, Austin TX.

  4. #4
    Pastafarian supremo Rick A's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Laurel Highlands, Pa., USA

    Re: 5 New National Monuments

    We used to fish in the "Box" when I was a kid growing up in New Mexico. I caught the biggest trout of my life at eleven, when my dad let me play hookie from school one spring to fish with him and my uncles. This was a wild area back in the early 60's, and always a treat to go there in summer for a camp out along the river. I have many fond memories of the area, and will be returning in June with my youngest daughter and my girl friend for a photo safari to the southwest.
    Rick Allen

    Argentum Aevum

    practicing Pastafarian

  5. #5
    Consulting the pineal gland
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    near Taos, NM

    Re: 5 New National Monuments

    My understanding is that the Rio Grande del Norte also contains part of San Antonio Mt, said by many to be the second largest free-standing mountain in the world. I also think part of the Rio San Antonio and the Petaca go through it- at least judging from the proposed maps I've previously seen. And those little volcano cones are really quite large. The 4wd roads in the "sageland" are emphatically not all-weather roads and many become impassable when wet, such as during monsoon season. The sky is typically amazing during monsoon season. There is typically a 40 degree difference between day and night temperatures, always bring warm clothes.

    The gorge area is spectacular, and I should know because its practically in my front yard. There is good river access at the Wild Rivers BLM Rec area (Sunshine/Questa area), the John Dunn Bridge and Blackrock hotsprings take B007 from Arroyo Hondo, Stagecoach (Manby) hotsprings park at the end of Tune Drive- the second marked road East of Gorge Bridge on US64, and the Orilla Verde BLM Rec Area accessed from Pilar or drop down NM567 from Carson. The main road over the Dunn bridge is still in fair repair west of the river but a high clearance vehicle would be best- it is well marked and mostly "all weather" to the signed US64 BLM public access.

    Services west of the gorge are only available in Carson- a general store, sometimes with emergency gas, that is closed Mondays and is called Poco Loco. There is gas at 522/US64/68 north of Taos, there are no services in Tres Piedras at this time. There are gas stations and limited food / lodging options in Ojo Caliente and in Antonito in Colorado. There is sometimes a hippie concession bus at the Gorge Bridge. One would probably eat and supply in Taos. There is developed camping and pay showers at the Orilla Verde rec area. There are $2 showers at the Family and Youth Center in Taos on Canon Rd. There are free camp sites up Ski Valley Rd and Cabresto Canyon, a free BLM campground at Lagunita Larga up the Rio San Antonio and off a 4wd road, and sometimes I see people camp in the switchbacks to the West of the John Dunn bridge (not the lowest one / Blackrock parking). I've seen camping at Stagecoach but its officially verboten.

    If you travel to this area remember that many of the backroads are rarely travelled. It would be foolish to venture off the main roads without plenty of extra water and some blankets- even in summer. If you go out to the sagelands between 285, 64 & the gorge, it would be best to stay to the BLM marked public accesses. Avoid accessing this area from roads out of the back of the various "outlaw" subdivisions you might see on google maps.

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