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we have two more days for our trip

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Mar 13th, 2012, 10:00 AM
  #1
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we have two more days for our trip

We will be going to New Mexico in late May. We have decided, with lots of forum help to spend 4 nights in Santa Fe, 1 or 2 in Taos and 1or 2 in Albuquerque (where we will fly to). Now we find we can squeeze out two more days-- so we are looking for suggestions. We expect to incorporate Tent Rccks, Bandelier, Taos Pueblo as day trips. Although we are in our mid 60's, we are very active and like hiking, bird watching, history and culture.

I have thought about Canyon de Chelly and/or Mesa Verde. While mapquest says that they are 3-4 hours from ABQ, they don't seem to take road conditions into consideration. So, is one of these doable in 2 days and from which place? It looks like Alburguerque is closer to CdC than Taos or Santa Fe.

We are open to all suggestions.
Thanks
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Mar 13th, 2012, 10:26 AM
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I've traveled the SW a lot since the late 70s and I made a point to visit Canyon de Chelly - because UtahTea said I should. I trust her advice completely, so I did. I am so glad I did. On that trip, my sister was tagging along and she kept asking "WHO said we should go here - and why?". We traveled cross-country from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon to get there, and back to Scottsdale before my business meeting began. She loved it as much as I did. So I'd say add that in and borrow a day from Santa Fe or Alb. if you have to. We stayed at the Best Western in Chinle and took a private tour arranged by folks at the front desk (cousins to the Navajo guide who was WONDERFUL)
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Mar 13th, 2012, 10:43 AM
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Both parks are wonderful, as is Chaco Canyon. If you decide on Canyon de Chelley, do get a Navajo guide and go in with him/her, don't do the shake and bake.

There are also other places in New Mexico that would be interesting to visit like, elMorro/Inscription Rock, Salinas Mission, Accoma Pueblo, Petroglyph NP, Valles Caldera to name a few.
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Mar 13th, 2012, 12:06 PM
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We loved Mesa Verde and hope to do Canyon De Chelly at some point. Maybe Utahtea will add her two cents worth here.
I think your looking more like 4.5 hours to CDC and 5 hours to MV.

Let me add another suggestions. Carlsbad Caverns and Guadalupe National Park. These are about 5 hours from ABQ too. Make reservations for the wild cave tour only offered to 8 people on Sat or Sun. Either one is great. Guadalupe is one of the National Parks that nobody goes to, so you have the trails to yourself for the most part and it is really nice park. I hope to go back and do some back country hiking.

If you decide on Mesa Verde, I would suggest staying in the park at Far View Lodge and having a meal there.
I would imagine you would want to stay in the park at CDC as well.
Do not stay at White's City(which is right at the entrance of Carlsbad)if you decide to go there. You will want to drive the extra 15 minutes on in to the town of Carlsbad.

All of these places are fascinating. We stayed at MV 2 days and should have stayed 3. We didn't get to do the wetherill section and hope to go back and do it. I've been to Carlsbad 4 times and love it. You can't go wrong with any of them.
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Mar 13th, 2012, 02:43 PM
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IF you decide on Mesa Verde [which is my suggestion, as I indicated on your other thread]do this: last "day in Santa Fe" head down I 25 and do Tent Rocks. Then spend the night in Bernalillo - there's a nice Holiday Inn Express on SR 550 that you can usually get on Hotwire for around $50. I can suggest where to eat, too.

Then first thing next morning, drive to Mesa Verde. From Bernalillo, it will take about 4 hours. Try and get a room at Far View, so that you don't have to drive in and out of the park more than once at that alone take 45 mins. You will also be treated to some spectacular sites: sunset and sunrise.

You will have that day and then all of the next day to see all of the amazing sites in Mesa Verde. I can give you specifics of trails, etc along with which ruins to see and a nice loop drive. Head out that night to ABQ and then spend the night there, the next day in ABQ, stay that night and be ready for your flight.

Everyone has their favorites and in the end you have to decide which works for you. You don't need a guide, everything is easily done on your own.

I live in ABQ area and have a second home near Mesa Verde and it is truly a magical place. I have been dozens of times, in every season and each time I go, I am taken to a very special, spiritual place.

One more thing, you say you like to hike and are in your 60's. I am guessing you live somewhere at or near sea level. The altitude here takes some getting used to and makes it harder to hike around. You need to be sure to drink LOTS of water, wear a hat, sunscreen, sturdy shoes, chapstick. And NEVER hike without water.

You will need to drink perhaps 64 oz a day. Because it is so dry here, you can get dehydrated VERY quickly and that has serious consequences. The thing is - you don't feel all that hot, you don't sweat, seemingly. You do sweat but because it is so dry, you don't feel it. And next thing you know, you are in trouble. SO, please be careful, we want you to love the SW and to come back, often.

Tent Rocks can be difficult due to the altitude, but there is an easier loop walk. The climb to the very top and back takes some doing.

And lastly, dress in layers. The days will be bright, sunny and warm. Mornings will be cool and nights can be cold, even in June. Temps drop from day time highs by 30+ degrees once the sun goes down.
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Mar 13th, 2012, 03:16 PM
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For two days, I would go to Mesa Verde; if you can only add one day, I would visit Acoma Pueblo and El Morro.

Carlsbad Caverns NP is amazing, but it feels farther away to me. Once you spend most of the day getting there, you don't have much time that day for the park. Seeing the park could easily take most of the day, meaning you would have to spend the night in Carlsbad and then drive back to Albuquerque the next day.

Lee Ann
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Mar 13th, 2012, 03:24 PM
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Okay, I mapped this and am going to make a suggestion that I know some may disagree with. I like making big circles on a road trip and I've visited each of these places more than once - with the exception of CdeC. Here's what I'd do -
(times and distances via google maps)

Fly into ALB -
Continue on to Santa Fe - 63 miles - approx an hour
Then Taos -70 miles - approx 1.5 hrs
On to Durango (for Mesa Verde) -217 miles - approx 4 hours
On to Chinle (for CdeC) 185 - approx. 3 hours 45 min
Back to ALB - 230 - approx 4 hours

I absolutely love the countryside that you'd be driving through. For me, the drive is part of the amazing experience. That may be too much driving for you but I would easily do it if I had 5 to 7 days in the area (and have).

Just an idea. Enjoy the possibilities and the planning.
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Mar 13th, 2012, 03:38 PM
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starrs - your itinerary is very close to the trip I have planned for September!

DebitNM - perhaps you could go ahead and give your suggestions on Mesa Verde trails and sights?
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Mar 13th, 2012, 03:45 PM
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Heading out, sludick, but will do so shortly. Here are some pics:

https://picasaweb.google.com/DebitNM/MesaVerdeMay2009

https://picasaweb.google.com/DebitNM/MesaVerdeInWinter
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Mar 13th, 2012, 04:19 PM
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sludick, enjoy! I love the area and can't wait to go back.
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Mar 13th, 2012, 06:04 PM
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Great pics, DebitNM! zaksgrandma, what do you think?
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Mar 13th, 2012, 07:26 PM
  #12
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Sludnik-- I think that's a great itinerary that starrs suggested, but I think we will limit ourselves to either Canyon de Chelly or Mesa Verde -- I don't want to find myself spending more time in the car than outside. I guess we'll just have to come back again. I suspect that the choice will be Mesa Verde, based on all everyone has suggested as well as DebitNM's wonderful pictures.

DebitNM you are correct, we live at sea level in NJ (just ouside of New York City). We were in Quito, Ecuador this December (9300 feet!) and I did not feel ready to climb any mountains. Your advice regarding the altitude is welcomed. I suspect we will have to limit ourselves to easy trails -- maybe no more than 3 miles at a time. I'd welcome any specific suggestions. You have been very helpful and I am glad you don't mind having your brain picked.
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Mar 13th, 2012, 07:36 PM
  #13
 
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sludick -

http://www.nps.gov/meve/planyourvisit/hiking.htm

We have done:

Knife Edge,which is neat because it is the old entrance into the park. Great views.

Point Lookout Trail which has 270 degree views of Montezuma valley.

Petroglyph Point Trail - those are the pictures I posted

Spruce Canyon Trail - look at the canyon

Soda Canyon Overlook Trail - nice easy one,

The Loop Drive is nice, and you can get out and see a lot of ruins that you cannot walk to.

Most people only go to Spruce Tree, Balcony House and Cliff Palace. While these are all great and are quite worth seeing, I recommend also going to Wetherill Mesa, where you can see Long House on a tour and then do Step House and Badger house on your own. Only 10% of visitors go here; it takes another 45 minutes or so to drive there but it is so worthwhile. In all of the ruins, you stand outside the ruins and look in. At Long House, you can actually go into the ruins, stand where the ancient puebloans actually stood. You can look out and see almost the exact same view they had, 1000 years ago. Wetherill is only open Memorial Day to Labor Day, so keep that in mind.

http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...od-to-keep.cfm
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Mar 13th, 2012, 08:30 PM
  #14
 
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Hi zaksgrandma, yes you'll save 4 hours of driving by not going to CdeC. In a week long trip, that's not much in order to see it - for me, personally. But we each have our preferences. I'm very glad UtahTea nudged me to go see it. It took a while, but I'm so glad I followed her advice. Maybe you'll get to see it on another trip. Add in the North Rim of the Grand Canyon if you haven't seen that on your next trip. Enjoy!

Another idea you may be interested in is a tour of Georgia O'Keefe's home and studio at Abiquiu. Here's the link if you think you may be interested -
http://www.nps.gov/nr/feature/wom/1999/o'keeffe.htm
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