Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe (pics) is the state capital of New Mexico and at 7,000 feet above sea level, is the highest capital city in the United States.  It also lays claim as the oldest capital city at over 400 years.  Let me ‘splain.  The Spanish explorers pushed north from Mexico in search for gold during the mid-1500’s, reaching as far as Santa Fe and established it as the capital of Nuevo Mexico in 1610, thus over 400 years as a capital city.  It wasn’t until 1912 that New Mexico was admitted to the United States as its 47th state.  This followed the Mexican-American war in the mid-1800’s and the subsequent Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that ceded nearly all of California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico to the U.S.  Santa Fe remained the capital city of the newly admitted state.

NM Capital Building

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Albuquerque, NM

Albuquerque (pics) is New Mexico’s largest city with over 500,000 residents.  It sits in the shadows of the Sandia Mountains.  It serves as a hub for the state sitting at roughly the geographical center of the state and at the intersection of Interstate 40 and Interstate 25.

We only had one day here.  So for some exercise we headed to the 16-mile long Paseo del Bosque.  It is a recreational trail that runs alongside the Rio Grande River.  It’s a nice paved path suitable for both walking and biking.  There is also a pedestrian bridge that crosses the river alongside Interstate 40.

Walk/bike bridge across river

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El Malpais National Monument

This 375,000 acre parkland is about 20 miles south of Grants, New Mexico.  It is an area of lava flows, lava tubes and caves and cinder cones.  This area was formed from volcanic eruptions and lava flows that occurred only about 115,000 years ago.

Here is one of the large sink holes that was formed from when a portion of a lava tube collapsed.

Sink hole

And a portion of the trail in El Malpais.

El Malpais