Goodies bought, it was off to the Gorge. The Gorge is just one of the places where the Rio Grande river cuts a scar into the New Mexican earth. This gorge is deep, hence the name, and is extremely difficult to photograph well.
Making our way into the northern part of the Circle we made a soft right in Questa (a place not good for much but buying liquor after Der Martt closes) and cruised on into the small, one-street town of Red River. Red River is one of the most charming places on earth. Full of all things touristy, the town is home to a small ski resort, a few bars and steakhouses- one of which, Texas Red's, was the absolute, hands down best place to eat a steak before the place mysteriously burned down a few years ago only to re-open in a renovated gas station. Now the place sucks a fatty, making you feel like an idiot for paying $15 to eat a thunker steak inside a gas station. Come on Red. Texans love Red River more than any other stop on the circle because it is tourist t-shirt central. Fortunately Poncho Neily was driving so we passed the t-shirt shop but that didn't keep us from stopping at the chainsaw art shop.
The little swinging bear makes much more economical sense. He's cutest carved critter I've ever spied and seeing that flag behind him just gets me all fuzzy inside. Buy this little fella, give him a home. My mom bought my uncle Butch a bear that stands about knee high (my knee, not her's), and with a big ol' smile on his face holds a sign saying, "Go Away Asshole" in its cutely shaped paws. Just kiddin', the sign really doesn't say asshole.
Bear and poncho in tow we had gotten what we'd came for and it was time to head back east to Texas. We broke the circle by taking the road up the bald hill behind Eagle Nest, where I took a stormy shot of Eagle Nest lake, one the "proper" enchanted wonders.(I really like this shot and look forward to taking in again now that I have a UV Polarizing filter to sort out those blown heavenly highlights up top.) A little bit down the down the windy road that follows the Cimmaron river (best fly-fishin' river flowin') east out of the Circle, we stopped for a photo-op in front of the huge and steep cliffs known as the Pallisades.The Palisade are a big attraction evidenced by the big pull-off area and the marker in front of them. These cliffs are sight to behold for the flatlander, especially for the kiddies making their first trip into the mountains.
I took tons of photos along the way and began struggling with nature shots. The New Mexican skies are a blessing to any photographer as they transform any mundane object into a dramatic subject. I didn't remember there being so much sky in Japan; I suppose the Japanese traded it for high rises and power lines. With the big New Mexican skies wrapped safely in the globe of the Enchanted Circle, we pushed out east, making our way into the Texas panhandle; a story for the next and final installment of GTT-Gone to Texas.
To see more of my photos just click here to visit my flickr page.