Monday, 25 August 2014

Along the Jemez Mountain Trail, National Scenic Byway

Sunshine and cloud fought for supremacy (it took a while, but sunshine eventually won) as we left Bernalillo behind in our rear view mirror.   When we reached San Ysidro we left the heavy traffic on four lane highway 550 behind as we turned onto highway 4, the quieter Jemez Mountain Trail.  

Our first stop was Jemez Pueblo, where we stopped at the Walatowa Visitor Centre.
The museum about the history and culture of the Jemez people was very interesting and informative.  

Leaving the pueblo and visitor centre we followed highway 4, until we came to highway 485 leading to the Gilman Tunnels.

The narrow road follows the Guadalupe River and is all that remains of a railway line constructed in the 1920’s to haul logs out of the forest.   The scenery was stunning and needless to say when we reached the tunnels I had to check the echo!

After the last tunnel the road turns to dirt and eventually arrives at Fenton Lake State Park.   We thought of driving that way, but as we weren’t sure of the condition of the road and none of the visitors we met at the tunnels had ever driven any further, we decided against it and headed back to highway 4. 

Driving this way turned out to be a very good idea as we had a lovely lunch, (hot chocolate to die for, deliciously tart Key Lime Pie, not to mention DB’s scrumptious raspberry tart) at the Highway 4 CafĂ© and Bakery in the small town of Jemez Springs.

The Jemez State Monument was our next stop.   The Monument contains the remains of the ancient pueblo of the Jemez people ‘Giusewa’
We almost had the place to ourselves as we followed the winding trail through the ruins.

Our next stop was Soda Dam, hot springs flowing into the Jemez river give off a distinct smell of sulphur and ‘rotten eggs’.   Over the centuries the water from the hot springs has formed a weird looking dam across the river.    It’s very pretty but quite slippery, so as it’s pretty darn hard if you fall we passed on that.
It was getting late in the day by the time we reached Battleship Rock picnic area.   A couple of hikes lead out through the forest one of which is about two miles long and leads to Macauley Warm Springs, one to remember if we ever come this way again in the future.

Although there was plenty more to see along the trail, we decided this would be our turn around point for the day and we headed back to Bernalillo.
Have fun, we are!

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