The Great Northern New Mexico Loop

July 19, 2021

Heron Lake to Hopewell Lake

East of Heron Lake on US 64, we began climbing into the high and rolling hills at the southern end of the Rocky Mountains. Here streams plunge energetically through canyons so densely forested that the rock walls are barely visible, and alpine meadows stretch for miles awash in summer wildflowers.

picnic at a scenic overlook

We stopped for lunch at a scenic overlook at 10,500 feet. With a whiff of internet, we checked the website for Hopewell Lake, but all the sites were booked. Instead, we found a lovely spot off a nearby forest road, a stone's throw from the Continental Divide Trail.

a forest hike

That afternoon we enjoyed a five-mile loop combining the CDT and an old forest road, through a towering pine and aspen forest.

Gunnison's Mariposa Lily

The monsoon rains brought out an extraordinary variety of summer wildflowers, including this lovely Gunnison's Mariposa Lily.

Curlyhead Goldenweed

Curlyhead Goldenweed

Yellow Toadflax

Yellow Toadflax. In Vermont, we called it "Butter and Eggs".

Richardson's Geranium

Richardson's Geranium

Monument Plant

Monument Plant

ellow Velvet Beetle on Yarrow

Yellow Velvet Beetle on Yarrow

Mountain Short-Horned Lizard

An exceptionally large and lovely horned lizard. Terry J has ID'd it as a Mountain Short-Horned Lizard.

Aspen Fleabane

Aspen Fleabane.

Hikers in the rain

Happy hikers in the rain.

Elio goes for a walk

Even Elio managed a short hike!