|More from Tour of New Mexico, USA
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Majestic Sandia Mountain as viewed from inside the Sandia Peak Tramway car when we were on Sandia Peak
Tramway car to go up to the summit at 10,387-foot elevation for spectacular views. We toured New Mexico,
USA in February 2006. The Sandia Mountain is at the far eastern edge of Albuquerque, New Mexico’s largest
city. Many of my pictures here were taken from inside of the tram car with large window glass panels on all 4
sides, ceiling lights and many passengers. These glass panels caused some reflections in some of the pictures
taken this way.
Sandia Peak Tramway – Lower Section
Sandia Peak Tramway – Upper Section
The Sandia Peak Tramway is the world's longest (2.7 miles) aerial tramway to lift visitors up to the
breathtaking top of Sandia Peak.
A distance view of the Sandia Mountain
Beautiful water fowl in Rio Grande Nature Center at western edge of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
A roadrunner at Rio Grande Nature Center at western edge of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Views in Tent Rock National Monument which is about 1 hour drive north from Albuquerque and about 40 miles
west of Santa Fe.
Volcanic eruptions many million years ago left pumice, ash and tuff deposits about 1,000-foot thick in this
area. The rock cliffs here have been sculpted by erosion into these cone shaped giant tent rocks.
In Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, we have seen many beautiful and very colorful hoodoos in various
rugged shapes sculpted by the erosion as shown on my Travelogue web page是 at:
But here, all these hoodoos are sculpted into uniformly and consistently smooth cone/tent shape. Furthermore,
the sharp tips of some of these tent rocks are capped at the top by a big and well balanced hard rock.
The Ghost Ranch is in a red rock and dinosaur fossil country in a high desert landscape near Abiquiu on
Highway 84. There are beautiful canyons, majestic mesas and buttes carved from thick beds of sandstone and
shale in brick red, dusty yellow, or faded purple color as shown in these sample pictures. The cliffs and hills of
Ghost Ranch are not just colorful; they conceal the fossilized skeletons of dinosaurs. It was named for the
brujas, or witches, that were supposed to haunt the mesas and canyons. It is located 65 miles northwest of
Santa Fe on U.S. 84 and is a remote, secluded center for spiritually inspiring conferences for many artists. A
number of movies have been filmed here, including the western movie, Silverado.
Map: Click here to see Google Map showing Abiquiu near Ghost Ranch
Chimney Rock at Ghost Ranch. Photo by May Lee.
Georgia O'Keeffe is a very talented American painting artist who received the National Medal of Arts from
President Ronald Reagan in 1985, and the Presidential Medal from President Gerald Ford in 1977. Georgia O’
Keeffe loved the Ghost Ranch area so much that she moved from New York City to Ghost Ranch, lived in
Ghost Ranch for many years and did many paintings of the beautiful sceneries in the Ghost Ranch areas.
Some of her paintings and the corresponding pictures of the sceneries can be seen at the following website:
Getting out of the Ghost Ranch and turning right to go north on Highway 84 for about 5 miles, we reached the
Echo Amphitheater on the left side of Highway 84. It is a stunning towering cliff of sandstone naturally
hollowed out by ages of erosion. The concave, parabolic shape of this high and smooth cliff of sandstone
creates a natural echo chamber as shown in these two sample pictures. If you talk or sing in this naturally
resonant Echo Amphitheater, you hear your echo reverberates in the big chamber.
Map: Click here to see MapQuest Map showing location of Echo Amphitheater
A series of rocky mountain ridges forms the Continental Divide (i.e., the Great Divide) in North America ranging
from Canada through USA and down to Mexico. The Continental Divide separates the direction in which North
America's rivers flow. East of the divide, rivers drain into the Atlantic Ocean and west of the divide, rivers drain
into the Pacific Ocean.
For Continental Divide in Canadian Rockies, please see my Travelogue web page at:
A portion of this Continental Divide is in New Mexico and some mountain ridges on this Continental Divide are
very beautiful. We drove on the scenic Highway 96 and Highway 550 to come close to the Continental Divide
to enjoy watching such fascinating ridges and cliffs as shown in these sample pictures. Highway 550 follows an
historic wagon train road.
City of Rocks State Park in southwestern New Mexico is an unusual landscape consisting of monolithic
residual but huge boulders of ash flow tuff seemingly congregated like a “city” in the middle of a rolling semi-
desert grassy plain at 5,250-foot elevation as shown in these two pictures. The size of recreational vehicles
(RVs) in these pictures provide reference comparison for the sizes of these huge boulders.
Map: Click here to see Google Map showing location of City of Rock State Park
This large group of huge boulders was formed by the ash spewed out from huge volcanic eruptions many
million years ago followed by erosion by wind and water to sculpt them into rows of monolithic blocks of rock
formations that give City of Rocks its name. The location of the volcanic eruption is about 15 miles north at
Santa Rita with a landmark rock formation known as Kneeling Nun described in the following. Detailed
description of the volcanic and erosion processes resulting in the City of Rocks can be seen at the following
In the interior of "the city," the rocks meld and merge to form arches, curvaceous streets, and dark alleyways.
The rocks entice the explorer. Visitors can scramble over sun-warmed boulders, walk under cool stone arches
through the winding "streets" and dim "alleyways" of the volcanic metropolis, hike up a rim rock trail to picnic
and to photograph the panoramic views from the Observation Point, or sit in quiet solitude by a peaceful desert
botanical garden at sunset.
City of Rocks State Park is in southwestern New Mexico, on NM61 near its junction with US180, southeast of
A picture of me (Sing Lin) and my camera, Canon PowerShot S2 IS, at the Continental Divide. This section of
the road from Silver City to Pinos Altos is part of the Continental Divide in New Mexico. Again my eyes were
closed because I was feeling the mild effect of high altitude at 7,080 feet and was sensitive to the strong
sunshine in New Mexico. My classmate, Ken, works and lives in New Mexico and he wears dark sun glasses
over his eyes most of the time.
A big bird, probably hawk, soaring over the City of Rocks State Park when I was there. This area provides
excellent breeding and prey habitat for several species of raptor including golden eagles, prairie falcons, and
An important historic local landmark, the Kneeling Nun, is a geological formation and the source of many local
legends, overlooks the open-pit copper mine as shown in this picture. It is an enormous eroded pillar of
volcanic tuff resembling a kneeling, female figure submissively just below a mountain peak. This is also the
location of the violent volcanic eruptions many million years ago. It seems that the big copper mine here and
the historic silver mine near Silver City, historic gold mine near Pinos Altos (i.e., Tall Pines) and a hot spring in
this general area are all related to the volcanic activities here many million years ago.
Map: Click here to see MapQuest Map showing location of Kneeling Nun pillar
El Chino open-pit copper mine. Notice the three black dots on upper left part of the mountain. They are mining
trucks that appear like toys but are really larger than houses driving up and down roads carved into the earth.
This is one of the largest open-pit copper mines in the world. This copper mine is perhaps the oldest mining
site still being used in the American southwest. Apaches, Spaniards, Mexicans, and Americans have all
obtained native copper and copper ore from this site, once known as the Santa Rita mine.
Map: Click here to see Google Map showing location of El Chino Copper Mine at Santa Rita
A view of the White Sands National Monument when we arrived here at dusk after sunset. The white sands
here are not regular sand and are not salt. The largest white dune field of pure gypsum (calcium sulfate
dihydrate) in the world is located here at White Sands National Monument in south-central desert of New
Mexico. There are approximately 275 square miles (700 square km) of brilliant white dunes here. In this
surreal environment, everything is dazzlingly bright white under desert strong sunshine. This is high desert - the
valley receives only about 6 inches (15 cm) of precipitation per year, and has no streams or rivers. If it did,
this huge area of white gypsum dunes could not survive, because gypsum is water-soluble. When we drove
deeper into the White Sands National Monument after sunset, it is white sands everywhere in every direction
as shown in this picture.
Map: Click here to see Google Map showing location of White Sands National Monument
In Death Valley National Park in southeast California, we saw huge area of salt pan in the valley of Death
Valley as shown in my Travelogue web page at:
But here in White Sands National Monument, the huge dune field of white sands are gypsum.
Another big bird soaring over Caballo Lake State Park on the Rio Grande in south-central New Mexico when
we were there for bird watching. I was not sure if this one was a hawk (鷹) or a golden eagle (金鵰). This park’
s claim to fame are the majestic Bald and Golden Eagles that migrate through. Beginning in late October, both
Bald and Golden Eagles arrive to nest at Caballo. Numerous Golden Eagles nest in the nearby Caballo
foothills, while Bald Eagles will nest in large areas around the park, as well as within the park.
Map: Click here to see Google Map showing location of Caballo Lake State Park
When we were hiking in a forest along the river (Rio Grande) for bird watching in Rio Grande Nature Center in
western Albuquerque, we also saw a big bird took off from the high tree top above us and flew away. Judging
from its huge wing span, it was probably an eagle. But it flew away so fast and I was in the forest with my
view severely restricted by those tall trees that I did not get a chance to take a good picture of that big and
impressive bird flapping its huge wings.
In addition to the photos on this web page, my tour of New Mexico in February 2006 also included:
(1) Tour of Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge to see huge number of red-crowned sandhill cranes
(丹頂鶴) and snow geese as shown on my Travelogue web page at:
(2) Carlsbad Cavern National Park and Guadeloupe Mountains National Park as shown on my Travelogue
web page at:
The size of trees here provides a reference comparison to the size of these huge tent rocks
We thought that we arrived too late after sunset and missed the opportunity to see the dazzlingly bright white
sand dunes under desert strong sunshine. But more visitors were also arriving late with the headlights turned
on on their cars. My classmate, Ken, warned me to leave here before it gets dark. Otherwise, we may get lost
in the dark in here.
A panorama of White Sands National Monument under bright sunshine can be seen at the following website:
We also drove on the winding mountain road 82 followed by Sunspot Scenic Byway N.M. 6563 to reach a
mountaintop with the name of Sunspot to visit National Solar Observatory and Apache Point Observatory on
Sacramento Peak with elevation of 9,200 feet. A consortium of scientists and universities are exploring the
heavens from these observatories at 9,200-foot elevation. This byway officially is designated N.M. 6563 – the
light wavelength in Angstroms used by scientists to locate active areas on the Sun. Stars are made up mostly
of the hydrogen with light wavelength of 6563 Angstroms. The desert skies of the Sacramento Mountains offer
low humidity, low dust and very dark, transparent skies for observing the galaxies and nebulae of deep space.
The Observatory was the reason it was named Sunspot when the post office was established in 1953.
Previously it was known as Sac Peak.
Map: Click here to see Google Map showing location of National Solar Observatory
The spectacular vista of the shimmering radiance and immense, luminous mirage of 275 square miles of White
Sands National Monument as viewed from the Sunspot on the Sacramento Mountain top at 9,200 feet of
elevation. The sphere of view here does not stop at the mere horizon but expands to solar system, galaxies,
nebulae and dark energy of the frontier of astronomy and cosmology.
Apache Point Observatory at 2001 Apache Point Road, Sunspot on Sacramento Mountains in New Mexico.
As an example, Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS) is set up on this Observatory to probe the
acceleration of the expansion of the universe in last 10 billion years to provide more insight on the time
variation of Dark Energy. The Sloan Digital Sky Survey conducted at Apache Point Observatory has created
the most detailed three-dimensional maps of the Universe ever made showing detailed filaments and web
structures of galaxy clusters.
A picture of me (Sing Lin) near
the Dunn Solar Telescope on
How I use information age technologies to enhance my enjoyment greatly of sightseeing large driving tour loop
of thousands of miles and of one to two weeks in duration covering many Points of Interest is described on my
web page at: