Shadows play on the surface of the water
This past Sunday was mine and Aaron’s 21st wedding anniversary. We decided to pack a picnic lunch and head out to explore the Turkey Creek Hot Springs trail. Turkey Creek feeds in to the Gila River, or at least it must when there is more water. Either that, or the creek goes underground at some point. The creek bed is currently dry by the time it gets down to the river, but after a couple of creek crossings, the water was flowing quite well. Lots of deep pools for soaking feet!
It took a while, but we finally spotted the windmill that marks the trail head!
On our way out past the windmill
The road in is not for the faint of heart! It is a 14 mile drive in from Hwy 180. At about mile 8 the pavement ends and a few miles later the road starts winding it’s way up and over a tall “hill” or what some people call a mountain. The road is narrow, bumpy and there are no guardrails. We drive roads like this all the time, but this is one of the more scary roads we’ve been on. The drop offs at the top are almost straight down! 4 wheel drive or AWD with high clearance definitely recommended!
Turkey Creek, so pretty!
All that said, the scary drive is well worth the end destination! Aaron’s mom asked why we drive roads like that if they are so scary? Because the reward on the other side is SO worth it! It’s not easy to find the trail head, even with a trail book of directions. There are lots of four wheel drive roads, more like a maze of roads surrounding the Gila River. We had to park a mile or so away from the trail head. Even though we drive an AWD Subaru, the river is quite deep in some spots, so we decided crossing in the car was not a good idea.
Who knew there could be such a beautiful desert oasis hidden in these desert mountains!
Crossing the river by foot is quite refreshing at this time of the year! It was 94 degrees the day we were out there and the cool water felt lovely. After four river crossings, we wandered around a bit, looking for the trail head. There is an old private homestead with a windmill hidden in the trees. This is where the trail begins. Unfortunately for us, after making our way through the maze of roads and backtracking to finally find the trail head, we didn’t have enough time or energy to make it all the way to the hot springs. According to our trail book, the springs are another 3 miles up from the windmill. We made it up about 2 of the 3 miles.
I love these tree trunks! Sycamore trees abound in this canyon!
Now that we know where we’re going, we hope to make it all the way up to the hot springs next time. We weren’t too disappointed though, considering how hot it was! The cool water in the creek and river were refreshing and more than enough for this trek.
The rock cliffs tower hundreds of feet over the creek bed, though the trees cover most of them from view.
I’m planning on getting back to blogging twice a week. One blog will be about our latest hiking adventure and the other will be about my art. Subscribe to my blog above if you would like to be notified when I post a new blog. You may also want to go to my website and sign up for my email list to get more updates about my art and where our latest explorations have taken us!
Such a gorgeous landscape of rocks, trees and water!
Posted in Aaron Lewis, anniversary, blogging, creativity, goals, gratitude, heart, hiking, inspiration, Living in the Land of Enchantment, love, mountains, my story, New Mexico, New Mexico true, Paula Manning-Lewis, photo, photography, photos, random things about me, Silver City, spring, Traveling New Mexico
Tagged Aaron Lewis, anniversary, blogging, creativity, four wheel drive, four wheeling, Gila National Forest, goals, gratitude, heart, hiking, hot springs, inspiration, Living in the Land of Enchantment, love, mountains, my story, New Mexico, New Mexico true, Paula Manning-Lewis, photo, photography, photos, random things about me, silver city, spring, Traveling New Mexico, Turkey Creek
Aaron and I at the entrance of the cliff dwellings
I may have blogged about this before, but it must have been years ago! That’s how long it’s been since Aaron and I visited. I love being back in southwestern New Mexico. It’s a homecoming of sorts. Different town this time around. When I was a kid growing up in Las Cruces, we spent countless weekends and Summers camping, hiking and exploring the Gila National Forest.
Catching the first glimpse of the cave from the trail below
We brought visiting family and friends here to see the beauty of this vast wilderness. The Gila Cliff Dwellings is one of the most visited spots in the Gila. The other being the Catwalk trail near Glenwood.
The cliff face near the dwellings
When we go hiking with our dogs, we usually stick to trails without other people around. This past Sunday, we left the dogs at home. Mainly because dogs aren’t allowed at the Cliff Dwellings. They do have kennels for the dogs though, just in case!
One of the ancient rock walls of the cliff dwellings with it’s distinctive window shape
The road out to the site is a twisting, turning mountain road with no center line. Though it’s paved, it is definitely a back country road!
The hiking trail up to the cliff dwellings crosses over a small stream several times before zig zagging up the hillside to the ruins. The heat of the sun gives way to the cool of the cave as you climb the wooden ladder into the dwellings that haven’t been occupied in close to a thousand years.
Looking out into the canyon from within the cliff dwellings
It’s easy to see why the ancient ones chose this place, up high on a cliff overlooking a mountain spring. A view of the canyon, a source of water, a shelter from the weather.
Looking back as we head down the exit path.
If you ever find yourself in Silver City, New Mexico, I highly recommend you take the drive up to the Gila Cliff Dwellings. You won’t be sorry you did!
Posted in blogging, camping, exercise, gratitude, hiking, inspiration, Living in the Land of Enchantment, mountains, my story, New Mexico, New Mexico true, Paula Manning-Lewis, photo, photography, photos, random things about me, Silver City, travel, Traveling New Mexico, trip
Tagged blogging, camping, day trips from Silver City, dogs, entertainment, exercise, Gila Cliff Dwellings, Gila National Forest, gratitude, hiking, inspiration, life, lifestyle, Living in the Land of Enchantment, mountains, my story, New Mexico, New Mexico true, Paula Manning-Lewis, photo, photography, photos, random things about me, silver city, things to do in New Mexico, travel, Traveling New Mexico, trip
My blog post was bumped yesterday for a Valentine’s Day trip to the Peak of the Sandia mountains. It was cold, cloudy and snowy up there, but it was beautiful! If you’ve never been to Albuquerque, the Sandias are the mountains directly to the east of the city. It takes about 30 minutes to drive up to the peak. One of the biggest reasons we love Albuquerque! Usually, you can see the city from the peak, but yesterday everything was covered with clouds.
My Valentine! ❤
This week I’m getting ready for my monthly open studio event. Every month, I open my studio to the public, along with some of the other artists here at Chroma Studios. It’s a great time to get a behind the scenes look at the where I work and what I do everyday. You might even get a great deal on one of my paintings! I have prints available too.
Looking into my studio from the Reception area
The address is 1606 Central Ave SE, ste. 201, Albuquerque, NM. We occupy the whole upstairs of the building. It’s a really cool space with the high windows in the front. I have recently moved back into studio #1, the room I started in 9 years ago when we first opened Chroma Studios. It truly is the prime studio space. I sometimes feel guilty about taking it back, but I think after 8 years, it’s my turn again! 😉
Looking up at my studio window from the front sidewalk
The high windows are on either side of my studio, with one looking out onto Central Ave. and the other one looking into the reception area.
My studio windows
Just a little tease of the artwork I have available for sale! Come by the Open Studios this Saturday to see more! See you there! 🙂
The reception area outside my studio
Posted in albuquerque, albuquerque snow, art, art opening, art show, art space, art studios, artist self promotion, artists, canvas, chroma, Chroma studios, creativity, dreams, flowers, framed art, goals, gratitude, heart, I'd Rather be in the Studio, inspiration, Living in the Land of Enchantment, love, marketing, mountains, New Mexico, new work, oils, open studio, open studios, opening, Originals, painted guitar, painted instruments, painting, paintings, Paula Manning-Lewis, photos, promotion, sale, Sandias, show, snow, snow in New Mexico, spiral abstract series, spiral art, studio, Studio Clearance Sale, studios, Traveling New Mexico, Valentine's day, winter
Tagged albuquerque, Albuquerque art scene, Albuquerque artists, albuquerque snow, art, art opening, art show, art space, art studios, artist self promotion, artists, canvas, chroma, Chroma studios, creativity, dreams, entertainment, flowers, framed art, goals, gratitude, heart, I'd Rather be in the Studio, inspiration, Living in the Land of Enchantment, love, marketing, mountains, New Mexico, new work, oils, open studio, open studios, opening, Originals, painted guitar, painted instruments, painting, paintings, Paula Manning-Lewis, photos, promotion, sale, Sandias, show, snow, snow in New Mexico, spiral abstract series, spiral art, studio, Studio Clearance Sale, studios, Traveling New Mexico, Valentine's day, winter
Parked at the trail head
I’ve been feeling down lately. Trying to stay positive and happy, but that doesn’t always happen. My personal life is good, but the world is losing it’s collective minds! So much fear and hate in the world, it can be hard to stay in the light.
Hiking selfie! 🙂
I know of no better healing/grounding than going out in nature! Our dogs agree 100%. Yesterday started as a “morning hike” day. We had planned to take our stir crazy dogs (it’s been over a week since our last hike) for a short hike so we could get back to our studios in the afternoon.
Aspens in their fall colors
Some days end up very differently than we plan. We spent a couple of hours looking for a trail head that leads to the Continental Divide Trail. We never found the trail head and so we ended up backtracking to another area we’ve been to before. We did find a trail that we had never been on before (Penas Negras Trail) in the San Pedro Wilderness.
Old road trail; Penas Negras Trail
It started out very steep, but after about 20 minutes the trail leveled off and took us through a gorgeous ridge top. The trail was more like an old road that had grown over, probably for decades. We timed our visit perfectly as the Aspen trees are beautiful in their Autumn colors!
More colorful Aspens!
The ground was littered with beautiful quartz stones, sparkling in the sunlight. Needless to say, I LOVE the mountains!
Super tall Aspens, still wearing green!
Posted in creativity, exercise, gratitude, healing, health care, hiking, inspiration, Living in the Land of Enchantment, mountains, New Mexico, Paula Manning-Lewis, photo, photography, photos, travel, Traveling New Mexico
Tagged Aspen groves, Aspens, Autumn colors, creativity, dogs, exercise, gratitude, grounding, healing, health care, hiking, inspiration, Land of Enchantment, life, Living in the Land of Enchantment, mountains, New Mexico, New Mexico landscape, New Mexico true, Paula Manning-Lewis, photo, photography, photos, San Pedro wilderness, Santa Fe national forest, travel, Traveling New Mexico, trees
Reception area at Chroma Studios
This Saturday from noon to 5pm I will be opening my studio to the public. Not just my studio, but 3-4 other artists in my building will also be here to show their work! It’s been years since we opened Chroma Studios to the public and I am so excited to share all the color and energy with you all! We have 11 studios in all, though not everyone is able to be open this time around.
We have 2 studios that are currently being moved out of, so we also have 2 studios opening up for new artists at the beginning of October. If you are looking for an art studio, stop by and see what we have available! We are always happy to welcome new artists into the Chroma Studios fold. 🙂
Mixed Media by Dee Alexandria
I recently moved into a new studio that I’m sharing with another artist. Dee Alexandria has been a friend since we first met selling our art at the New Mexico State Fair almost 10 years ago! We decided to share a studio because neither of us needed a big studio to ourselves. Plus, it’s nice to have company in the studio. So often, artists are isolated from their peers. That is one of the things about Chroma Studios that makes it so nice! We have a community of artists here that help each other out. Mine and Dee’s work compliments each other perfectly as we both love color, flowers and spirals!
Landscape painting by Cynthia Zeedyk
Cynthia Zeedyck is another artist who will have her studio open this Saturday. She is a lifelong artist with 45 years of training and experience in the arts, including: Fine Arts, Appalachian Arts, Poetry, many styles of Dance, Wildcrafting Herbs, and Poetry. Cynthia was awarded with an Apprenticeship Grant from Ohio Arts for Traditional Heritage Basket Making. Her works sold both nationally and internationally. She was the largest female producer of Heritage Berry Baskets in the world. Her designs and creations include landscape paintings, floral and contemporary. Newest works in Scrimshaw. Cynthia has been a Chroma Artist since 2014.
Mixed Media by Robert Medina Cook
Robert Medina Cook has been a Chroma Studios artist off and on for at least 5 years. He began his journey in the creative arts over forty years ago in Santa Fe, New Mexico. A native New Mexican whose local family roots go back centuries in Northern New Mexico, in 2012 Robert was one of 7 artists honored for their excellence in the arts by being proclaimed a “Local Treasure” by the Albuquerque Art Business Association. Featured in several publications, his artworks have won numerous awards and can be found in corporate, museum, public art and private collections throughout the US and abroad.
Mixed Media by Phillip Vigil
Phillip Vigil (Jemez Pueblo/Chiricahua Apache) is a fourth-generation artist residing in Jemez Pueblo. He is new to Chroma Studios. He is a self-taught artist and has been working seriously on his art now for several years. He always had a love of art since he realized at a young age that the paintings on the walls were done by members of his family. He is highly influenced by the abstract modernists of the early and late 20th century. He works a lot on paper with oil pastels, oil sticks, oil paint sticks, spray paint, oil and acrylic paint as well.
Posted in art, art opening, art show, art space, art studios, artist self promotion, artist statement, artists, bio, chroma, Chroma studios, creativity, design, dragonfly, flowers, friends, gratitude, I'd Rather be in the Studio, inspiration, love, mountains, New Mexico, oils, open studio, open studios, opening, original, original oil paintings, Originals, painted guitar, painting, paintings, Paula Manning-Lewis, People Who Inspire Me, photography, photos, promotion, sale, show, shows, spiral art, studio, studios, Traveling New Mexico
Tagged abstract, albuquerque, art, art auction, art opening, art sale, art show, art space, art statement, art studios, artist self promotion, artist's life, artists, arts, bios, canvas, chroma, Chroma studios, creative life, creativity, Cynthia Zeedyk, Dee Alexandria, design, dragonfly, flower, flowers, friends, gratitude, heart, I'd Rather be in the Studio, inspiration, Jemez Pueblo, landscape paintings, Local Treasure, love, mixed media, mountains, Native Americans, New Mexico, New Mexico artist, New Mexico true, new work, northern New Mexico, oil on canvas, oil painting, oils, open studio, Open Studio Saturdays, open studios, opening, original, original art, original oil painting, original oil paintings, Originals, painted guitar, painting, paintings, Paula Manning-Lewis, peace, People Who Inspire Me, Phillip Vigil, photography, photos, promotion, Robert Medina Cook, sale, self taught artists, show, shows, spiral, spiral abstract, spiral art, studio, studios, third Saturday of every month, Traveling New Mexico, work in progress
Abo Mission ruins
One of my favorite places to visit in New Mexico is actually split into 3 separate sites. The Salinas Pueblo Missions has three missions, Quarai, Abo and Gran Quivira. They are all located around Mountainair, NM. The Abo ruins are 9 miles west, Quarai ruins are 8 miles north and the Gran Quivira ruins are 25 miles south of Mountainair. I love visiting these sites and imagining a time when they were bustling villages. I wonder how they lived and what they did everyday to survive in this desert environment.
Quarai Mission ruins, the largest of the 3 missions
Because of their remote location, there is rarely more than a couple of people wandering the ruins of any location. The Abo Mission is most visited as it sits near the highway to Mountainair. The Abo and Quarai Missions were built using red sandstone and the Gran Quivira Mission and pueblo was built with white/grey limestone. The red sandstone is especially beautiful when covered in snow.
Gran Quivira Pueblo ruins
All three were built during the 17th century during Spanish occupation. Although all sites were built as Spanish Missions, they also included Kivas in their buildings which could have been a concession to the beliefs of the Native Americans who lived there alongside the Spanish settlers. Nobody knows why all three sites were abandoned by the 1670s. My personal guess is they may have been abandoned after the pueblo revolt in 1680, when the pueblo indians from all over New Mexico chased the Spanish settlers out of the area. They would not return for 12 years. I would imagine, like other abandoned sites, water could have had something to do with it as well.
If you are looking for a day trip from Albuquerque, the Salinas ruins are a great choice. Make sure you fill up your gas tank and maybe even take a picnic lunch, as there isn’t much in the way of gas stations and food in the area. Mountainair does have a cafe or two, but gas can get expensive in those remote, rural areas of New Mexico. Pets are welcome, but must be kept on leash and cleaned up after.
Ruins of the Gran Quivira Mission
All three sites are partially handicapped accessible and have handicap restrooms. All sites also have visitors centers with Rangers on hand to answer questions. All sites are open daily, 9 to 5 in winter months and 9-6 in the summer months. Of all the ruins I’ve personally visited across New Mexico, these three are most interesting to me. I highly recommend a visit next time you are in the area!
Posted in albuquerque, hiking, inspiration, Living in the Land of Enchantment, mountains, New Mexico, photo, photography, photos, snow in New Mexico, travel, Traveling New Mexico, trip, vacation
Tagged Abo ruins, albuquerque, day trip, desert, drive through the mountains, Gran Quivira ruins, hiking, inspiration, kivas, Living in the Land of Enchantment, Manzano Mountains, Mountainair, mountains, New Mexico, New Mexico destinations, New Mexico photography, New Mexico travel, photography, photos, pueblo ruins, pueblog revolt, Quarai ruins, red sandstone, Salinas Basin, Salinas Pueblo Mission ruins, snow in New Mexico, Spanish Missions, Spanish Settlers, travel, Traveling New Mexico, vacation, white/grey limestone
There are so many places to see and things to do around here, it’s really hard to pick just one to write about! This week, I decided to write about 10 (make that 11) things to do in the area. Technically, it’s more than ten, as I fit more than one into each number. Next time someone tells you there is nothing to do in Albuquerque, direct them to this post! 🙂
Ride the Rail Runner from Albuquerque to Santa Fe.
The ride alone is worth the trip as it takes you through the lovely New Mexico landscape. The tickets will only cost you $16 round trip! There are many stops along the route to start and if you take the train to the end of the line, you end up in the Santa Fe Railyard which is only a few short blocks away from the Plaza. The Railyard also has galleries and the famous Tomasita’s restaurant.
This May will be the Tram’s 50th anniversary, and though I have lived in NM most of my life, I STILL have not ridden the Tram up the mountain. It’s just one of those tourist things locals rarely do. One day very soon, I plan on it! I have heard from MANY sources that it’s something one MUST do. I guess I prefer hiking up the mountain to riding up! UPDATE, Oct. 2016: I finally rode the Tram! It was awesome!
Speaking of hiking, the Sandia mountains just East of Albuquerque have many, many miles of hiking trails! It can take a full day to hike to the peak, where the tram takes only 15 minutes. I have hiked to the South Crest several times and LOVE it! Please, make sure you go prepared. Water, jacket, hat. Many people have had to be rescued from these mountains because they don’t realize how quickly weather can change in NM. The weather can be warm and sunny in town and cold and rainy at the top of the peak.
This is one of the largest petroglyph sites in Northern America. Volcanic rocks were carved by Native Americans and Spanish settlers up to 700 years ago, leaving behind interesting designs and symbols for us to ponder over. Another cool place to visit, related to the petroglyphs, are the volcanoes on the west mesa overlooking Albuquerque.
Albuquerque has an awesome botanical garden with an indoor aquarium. The gardens are attached to the city zoo by a cool little open air train line that you ride between the two with out having to get in your car and drive. Also, while riding the train between the zoo and gardens, you will pass by Tingley Beach which is a series of three ponds, man made for fishing and remote control boats. In the summer months they have paddle boats you can rent for $10 an hour to paddle around the big pond in. The kids will also enjoy feeding the ducks and geese that call the ponds and river area home. The gardens are my favorite part, they have several different gardens, including a rose garden, Japanese garden and a farm with barn animals and New Mexico homestead. Great place to take the kiddos!
While you are down near the Bio Park, right next door in fact, is the Central Ave. entrance to the Bosque bike and walking trail. The Bosque is the area of trees and open space that surrounds the Rio Grande River.
See a Play.
Albuquerque has MANY theatres, over 35 to be more specific! We can boast that we have the most live performance theatres per capita than any other city in the country. Just about ANY weekend in Albuquerque, you can find a show you might be interested in. The Albuquerque Theatre Guild website is a great place to start your search for that perfect play!
Albuquerque has a great variety of museums for everyone in the family! There is the Albuquerque Museum of Art & History, the Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum, the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science, the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History, Explora, National Hispanic Cultural Center, Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, the Maxwell Museum of Anthopology, the Unser Racing Museum and several more can be found HERE. I’ve linked to all their websites so you can learn more about each one you may have an interest in.
Antique/Thrift Store shopping.
Albuquerque has large variety of Antique shops and Thrift stores. Most are concentrated on Central Ave between Carlisle and San Mateo or on Menaul Ave. between Carlisle and San Mateo, but there are others all over town. You can find some really great deals on a variety of stuff. I could write a post about all the awesome thrift stores in this city. I have spent many hours sifting through the many shops.
This is another attraction I’ve never experienced, but I personally know one of the tour guides and KNOW it’s worth it! Yet another thing I plan to do someday. The Old Town of Albuquerque is VERY old! Over 300 years! There are rumored to be many ghosts living in the back alleys and old adobe buildings.
I hope you will get in touch and come visit me in my studio when you are in the area. I don’t hold retail hours, but I am always happy to open up the studio for out of town guests! You don’t have to buy anything, but I’m always pleased to send an Albuquerque memento home with a fan. 🙂
Posted in albuquerque, Chroma studios, galleries, hiking, inspiration, kids, Living in the Land of Enchantment, mountains, New Mexico, open studio, Paula Manning-Lewis, planning, promotion, random things about me, Sandias, Traveling New Mexico, trip, vacation
Tagged 10 things to do in Albuquerque, Adobe buildings, albuquerque, Albuquerque art museum, Albuquerque theatre guild, Anthropology, Antique shops, Antiques, Aquarium, art museum, artist's life, arts, bike ride, Bio Park, Bosque Trail, Botanical gardens, Chroma studios, galleries, Ghost tours of Old Town, hiking, inspiration, kids, Living in the Land of Enchantment, mountains, museums, Native Americans, Natural history and science museum, New Mexico, New Mexico artist, Old Town Albuquerque, open studio, Paula Manning-Lewis, Petroglyphs National Monument, planning, plays, promotion, Rail Runner, Sandia mountains, Sandia Peak Tramway, Santa Fe, South Crest, Spanish Settlers, theatre, Thrift stores, Tomasita's, Traveling New Mexico, trip, Unser Racing museum, vacation, vacation planning, volcanoes, Zoo