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Thread: New Mexico?

  1. #1
    Foamer
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    New Mexico?

    Wife & I are planning a trip to NM through eastern CO later next month. Am looking at early Indian ruins, Spanish Missions, Bisti Badlands, riding the Cumbres train, and Carlsbad. Also looking at bat caves other than Carlsbad. Will be using a Nikon DSLR, a Zeiss Super Ikonta, and maybe a 4x5 kit with B&W film. Have never been to NM. Have read the southern half is somewhat dangerous. How dangerous? I have a CCW and small pistol but if a place is that dangerous I might just avoid (as I do SF, Chicago, Seattle etc.) Other than safety, any other suggestions? Am planning on carrying a lot of water and we do have quality hiking shoes and warm clothing.


    https://www.roadsnacks.net/most-dang...in-new-mexico/


    Kent in SD
    In contento ed allegria
    Notte e di vogliam passar!

  2. #2

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    Re: New Mexico?

    Unless you are in the ghetto part of ABQ, or Gallup, you won't need a gun. And if you run into a "situation", the gun will likely just make matters worse.

  3. #3

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    Re: New Mexico?

    As a guy who has traveled all over New Mexico for four decades, has a Master's degree in criminology, and has worked with crime statistics for even longer, I know that any idiot can manipulate numbers to paint any picture they want.

    Any city or town anywhere in American has crime. It varies with the type of crime, the year, the location, the season, the time of day... I could go on and on.

    New Mexico is as safe as any place else -- but I would not walk down a dark alley at 2 AM anywhere in the entire country, armed or not.

    And hiking is one of the safest things you can do anywhere.

    But don't forget Guadalupe Mts. National Park. Technically it's in Texas -- not a safe place to be either -- but geographically it's really in New Mexico.

    If you cross the White Mountains -- very nice area -- you'll probably see a lot of guns. They are carried by Texans -- it's a popular summer resort area for them.

    Check for areas that have had forest fires over the last few years -- there are LOTS of them. Not terribly photogenic.

    Don't miss the Gila Wilderness, the Organ Mts (BLM) and White Sands if you are way down south.

    It's prudent to be careful -- not paranoid -- wherever you are, in Williston or Las Cruces.

  4. #4

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    Re: New Mexico?

    Here are some statistics (albeit about 18 months old) to go with @xkaes professional judgment:

    https://www.safewise.com/blog/safest-cities-new-mexico/

  5. #5

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    Re: New Mexico?

    Kent - you choose a good time of year to visit NM - late September through October are optimum, in my opinion, especially during wet years, which this is. No doubt you have Chaco Culture National Historical Park in your sights - it is fabulous. Just north of the park is a badland called Ah-she-sli-pah, not spectacular like Bisti but nice and out-of-the-way spot that you could camp near. Ship Rock is quite a sight, about an hour's drive north NW of Bisti.

    If I was making a trip that accented pueblos and cliff dwellings, in and around New Mexico, I'd probably start at Mesa Verde in SW Colorado, then head south from Durango to Aztec, NM (some ruins there) and Chaco Canyon. Thence to Acoma and then to the Spanish mission ruins east of Albuquerque.

    South of Chaco and just east of Grants on US 40 is El Malpais National Monument, a huge lava flow bordered on the east by sandstone plateaus, which include a pueblo probably already on your list: Acoma Sky City Cultural Center. There are interesting hikes out of The Narrows picnic ground inside El Malpais park, east to the sandstone and west to the lava fields. There is a first-come, first-served campground between The Narrows and the ranger station on highway 117 (aka El Malpais road, off US 40).

    Shooting east along Highway 40 to Albuquerque, you can get to the Salinas monuments by driving south on US 25, then east on state hwy 60 (with a modest jaunt north on state road 55 out of Mountainair). The Salinas sites might be quite nice in the fall setting of the Monzano mountains, if the oaks are turning. The highway to Carlsbad (US 285) is not very far east of Mountainair.

    You can pack quite a few of those places into an efficient route, and there are many camping opportunities. Not necessarily campgrounds though - I mean BLM land and national forest land. The campground at Chaco is pretty dismal.

    I don't know about southern New Mexico and danger. What kind of danger? I've never worried about camping or tramping anyplace I was legally entitled to go - including the bootheel (far SW New Mexico). Not to downplay specific warnings you may have received. I do think you're prudent to avoid places you think you might need a pistol. And the folks there might rest easier too.

    If you're as far south as Carlsbad, the Guadalupe mountains are in Texas, right on the border - quite a few photographic opportunities there, and some nifty hiking, on the east and west sides of the range. There's a decent campground at Guadalupe Mountain National park visitor center, but it fills up. Probably reservations can be made via reservation.gov. There's another campground on the west side of the Guadalupes, Dog Canyon campground, less crowded, and there are some very nice hikes into the mountains from there.

    cheers
    Tom

  6. #6
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    Re: New Mexico?

    Quote Originally Posted by tomwilliams View Post
    If I was making a trip that accented pueblos and cliff dwellings, in and around New Mexico, I'd probably start at Mesa Verde in SW Colorado, then head south from Durango to Aztec, NM (some ruins there) and Chaco Canyon. Thence to Acoma and then to the Spanish mission ruins east of Albuquerque.

    South of Chaco and just east of Grants on US 40 is El Malpais National Monument, a huge lava flow bordered on the east by sandstone plateaus, which include a pueblo probably already on your list: Acoma Sky City Cultural Center. There are interesting hikes out of The Narrows picnic ground inside El Malpais park, east to the sandstone and west to the lava fields. There is a first-come, first-served campground between The Narrows and the ranger station on highway 117 (aka El Malpais road, off US 40).

    Mesa Verde is one of the reasons I wanted to head that way. Went there as a kid and was duly impressed. Will only have something like 8-10 days in NM so we're just trying to get some ideas for possible future trip. I tend to gravitate to desolate areas. You'd think a guy living in South Dakota would go the opposite direction. Since I love to photo abandoned farm houses and country churches on weekends, seeing pueblos and Mission churches is a sort of extension of that. Wife & I love to seek out locations that are "quietly spectacular." By that I mean the scenery is first class but only regional people seem to know about it. Craters of the Moon park in southern Idaho is an example, as is Dry Falls in WA. Back in May/June we flew to Seattle and rented a car, then drove 3,500 miles just inside Oregon and Washington. Saw quite a variety from dramatic coast, mountain waterfalls, and dry plains. This trip will be similar if not larger in scope.


    Kent in SD
    In contento ed allegria
    Notte e di vogliam passar!

  7. #7

    Re: New Mexico?

    Quote Originally Posted by Two23 View Post
    I have a CCW
    One of things that can slip your mind if you live in a free state like South Dakota, but I don't think New Mexico grants "reciprocal" carry privileges. In all honesty, some of the other states that you'd have to transit might technically have reciprocity, but have been sufficiently Californicated in recent years that you might need to factor that into your decision making.

  8. #8

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    Re: New Mexico?

    Kent, if you do get to the Salinas mission ruins, or otherwise onto US 60 east of US 25, and head thence down US 285 to Carlsbad, you'll pass through the largely abandoned towns of Encino and Vaughn. You might find some photo prospects there. There are a few other abandoned buildings on the way to Guadalupe Mtn park as well.

    I find that landscape that you travelled May/June mind boggling - river canyons cutting through hundreds of feet of basalt, for hundreds of miles ... leaves me speechless. For my tastes, Nevada is another gold mine of "quietly spectacular" prospects, especially the US 93 and NV 375 areas, and certain of the north-south roads between NV 6 and US 50 and US 80. I have a few photographs that don't do justice to those spots.

    I don't think you would be disappointed by El Malpais, speaking of desolate. There's another massive lava flow farther south and east, the northern end easily attained via NM 380 between San Antonio and Carrizozo (San Antonio is about 90 miles south of Albuquerque).
    cheers
    Tom

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  10. #10

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    Re: New Mexico?

    Chicago and Seattle are no in any way dangerous cities if you are in the touristy areas you likely would be visiting. Chicago is a huge sprawling city with a few problematic areas like the South side (but as a tourist why would you go there?). Seattle has a homeless problem but the popular areas like Pike Place, Space Needle / Seattle Center etc are fine. Also avoid hotel/motels that are cheaper than average or distant from downtown.

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