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July 31, 2009 – Santa Fe, New Mexico

Ride Jemez Mountain Trail Challenge









Well today was a good day, although a bit tiring on my part due to the lack of riding this year since we now live in the rain forest. Also, today's lesson is don't doa ride where you head down hill for 26 miles and then have to climb back out to get to your car!




Today we traveled out to the Jemez Mountains again and rode down to Jemez Springs and back. The trip was predominantly downhill to Jemez Springs and then we suffered coming back up. As with out previous rides, there was some fantastic scenery. The picture to the ;left is the Valles Caldera which is a 12 miles wide collapsed volcano.




































Here is another picture of the road just below the Caldera.












As we descended, we had a nice ride that passed though quite a varied terrain. Finally after a very long descent, we arrived at the Jemez National Monument and we started climbing back out to the car. Here is Paul riding on the climb out.






















Soon we passed the Soda Dam , which is is a unique geologic feature formed due to both the presence of a geo-thermal system and to deep seated faulting in the area. A very deep fault at Soda Dam (roughly perpendicular to the highway) serves as a conduit to bring water to the surface. Because of deep faults in the area, surface waters are able to penetrate deep enough to be heated by the earth itself, which is in turn heated by the molten rock underlying the area.


























The next interesting site we passed was Battleship Rock which is a 200 foot tall natural formation of welded volcanic ash.









We did finally get back to the car just ahead of a torrential rain shower that delayed the next part of our day. More on that below. The scene to the ;left is indicative of the beautiful scenery.

The Ancient Pueblo People lived in dwellings carved into the cliffs here. This was an amazing sight to see as these cliff dwelling covers a very large area here and in other places across the Mesa. Here are some shots of Bandolier including Paul and Bill investigating their new accomodations.






















It was extremely hot at Bandolier as the giant valley had no air circulation. I think we were all happy to get back into the air conditioning of the rental SUV. We went back to Los Patrillos for dinner tonight. Since we were all pretty tired after today, we decided to keep it simple. Not sure exactly what we are going to do tomorrow yet, but we are definitely leaving Santa Fe and heading to Taos. While it has been fun, a change of pace is called for.











After our deviation to get gas and something to drink due to the rain, we headed to Bandolier National Monument which is the home of the Ancient Pueblo People. One of the first things we learned here was the answer to my question from yesterday as to what type of plant I photographed. It is a Cane Cholla which is a member of the cactus family