Monday, November 5, 2012

New Mexico: Fall Colors, Part 1, And A Green Chile Burger

Cottonwoods in fall, near Percha Dam State Park, New Mexico
 Fall Foliage

The cottonwoods are in full, sunny yellow in some parts of the state. 

I went to Percha Dam State Park (which is adjacent to Caballo Lake State Park), off of Highway 187. Easy to get to the parks, but once I was there, it was a little confusing. It wasn't clear where one park ended and the other began. I started to walk on one trail to get to the beautiful trees, but it seemed to peter out, and I couldn't find evidence of another one. Unfortunately, the visitor center was closed.

So I satisfied myself with foliage viewing from a distance.

Cottonwoods in fall, near Percha Dam State Park, New Mexico

Cottonwoods in fall, near Percha Dam State Park, New Mexico

Even so, I left the park wanting more.

Fortunately, New Mexico is always there with panoramic views.

I-25 between Derry and Socorro, New Mexico

My day trip was one large rectangle: Alamogordo west  through Las Cruces then north through Derry to Percha Dam State Park, through Truth or Consequences, then east through San Antonio to Carrizozo, then south to Alamogordo.

San Antonio

For tourists, San Antonio is famous primarily for Owl Bar and Cafe, alleged home of the best green chile burger in the nation. How fortuitous that I'd be rolling through in time for a late lunch.

Owl Bar, San Antonio, New Mexico

I passed by the "7th best burger" place and pulled into the Owl. Ordered the famous burger. It was nice, but nothing to rave about, in my opinion. Nor was the can of Diet Coke at $1.50. I didn't order fries, but the almost-$3 price for same was a little over the top, I thought. The vibe in the bar is pleasant, kind of dark inside, comfortable wooden booths, if you want, or you can sit at the bar. There are also some tables. I like that most of the servers are women of a certain age and that there are a goodly number of them. In a small town like San Antonio, in the middle of nowhere, the Owl is undoubtedly an important local-economy driver (as is its rival - the "7th best.."), and it helps that the owners provide employment to a gracious number of people.

More fall foliage

Just east of San Antonio, on Highway 380, is a small bosque that lines a water channel near the pretty-much-dry Rio Grande.

Bosque outside San Antonio, New Mexico, Highway 380

Speaking of bosques ...

In the southwestern U.S., a "bosque" generally refers to a line of trees that border the Rio Grande or another waterway. In Spanish, it would be pronounced BOSE-kay, but in New Mexican, it is BOSK, with the "o" like that in "cost."

Highway 380

After passing the bosque above, I didn't see much fall foliage, but I did enjoy pretty scenery.

Highway 380 between San Antonio and Carrizozo, New Mexico

Highway 380 between San Antonio and Carrizozo, New Mexico

Highway 380, Valley of Fires, near Carrizozo, New Mexico


Unknown said...

Gorgeous! I've lived my entire life in hilly, wooded areas, and am enamored with the desert- so open and flat! This looks like a lovely place to visit.

wendy said...

as a new mexican, i can't tell you what fun it was to stumble upon a link to a post issuing from points just south of our home in albuquerque! thank you for including the beautiful pictures and a big thumbs up on your owl cafe review. totally over-rated, my friend; you called it.
happy trails, living rootless!

Mzuri said...

It is lovely to visit! I encourage you to do just that! ... but maybe not in the height of the summer ...

Mzuri said...

Glad you enjoyed it...I'm really loving New Mexico. I feel so lucky to live here for a year, giving me time to explore it thoroughly.