March 28, 2014

Up early, I had plans to do some hiking and a peak. Taking the highways southeast, I stopped in Santa Fe for gas, then zoomed back towards home on Interstate 25, then Interstate 40 west. My car was running fine, as this was one of the longest drives that I have done. I took note of the views as I drove to Gallup, NM, for the hike that I had found on the Net, to do.

Coming back to Thoreau, NM, I jogged north to drive over the crossing that shows on the Old Navajo 49, now, I suppose, the Mariani Lake road. Set my video to run, but it zoomed out unknowingly so no good, with no sign, anyway. This road connects with a highway going to my hike from the north.

At Red Rock State Park, I looked for information, but all looked closed. I went to use three restrooms to find them all locked. Going into a building, there was maintenance who told me of the museum, where I got information about the peak hike. Getting my bearings about this park, I used their directions to get to the trailhead parking, which isn’t easily found. So, for my first good hike, I packed my pack, and started up the trail.

There are cairns and displays, and one pretty gal ran up the trail a short ways, claiming to be preparing for “Boston.” I enjoyed the good, sunny weather, knowing back home, storms were producing rain. Taking plenty of photos and some video, I followed the good trail, and reached the top in under an hour. Good, scenic views, with geologic formations and New Mexico beauty! I did my 360, summit twirls, and more video. Gallup is seen. Not staying too long, I started down, as I had more driving and sights to see. Some other hikers were coming up. Back to my car, I quickly departed, and zoomed west on the Interstate.

Taking a stop and rest at the stateline rest area, I changed my clocks, and entered Arizona. I had made changes to my lodging, initially at first intending to go home by Utah. It was now snow, up there, so it was excellent that I can make changes on the fly, without losing any cancellation advance notice requirement deposit fee. Gaining an hour on time, I decided to make a stop at Petrified Forest National Park. I have been here twice, but the beautiful views are worth the time that I had.

Entering the park and going to the visitor center, I had a chat with the ranger. At Joshua Tree, the ranger told me that rescues are no longer without charge. Here, the girl told me that the policy varies from park to park, and I wondered about a long solo hike to climb Pilot Rock, the highest point in the park. It’s better to pay the several thousand dollars for a helicopter than to stay and die in the backcountry forever, but hiking companions may have second thoughts about hiking with me, then. While I have safety and some personal responsibility ethics, and won’t leave hurt hikers for dead, like the old hiking club says to do and does, people aren’t bound not to leave the group, and then we can’t be responsible or give assistance.

Driving the short way to Tawa Point, I did views, panoramas, and video. Continuing on to Chinde Point, I did a selfie video and a panorama, then motored back to the Painted Desert Inn. I had lots of time, now, but it was too late for a hike at Walnut Canyon National Monument. I had done that in 2012, anyway. Homolovi State Park, I had been to, too.

So, I finished the long day’s driving by arriving to Flagstaff, AZ, and my motel. Looking forward to fine dining, I had done more research, and drove then to the Indian/Nepalese/Tibetan restaurant, which was highly rated. Knowing what I wanted by the online menu, I ordered a shrimp dish, which was good. I resolved to try more dishes, and left a fair tip. Somewhere along the line, I decided to stay three nights here, as there is good peak hiking.

2014 New Mexico Road Trip Home, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 1, 2, Movies