The Road Less Traveled

road less traveled
The Road Less Traveled – Off the Beaten Path in New Mexico

The Road Less Traveled

“New Mexico, Land of Enchantment.” So true. It is true even if you are in a city such as Albuquerque, or off the beaten path. If you must travel Interstate 40 or Interstate 25, you will see beauty all around: the desert, the mountains, the river valleys, the sky, the clouds… Beauty is everywhere in this state.

But, the road less traveled, whatever that is for any individual, perhaps offers the greatest chance to enjoy the beauty, to be “enchanted.”

road less traveled
Autumn Beauty in New Mexico on the Road Less Traveled

On this particular day in October, my mom, along with our friends Tim and Laurie, were celebrating together Tim’s birthday and my birthday. We do “photographic excursions” periodically, and on this day the only thing we particularly set out to do was see if many sandhill cranes had yet arrived in Rio Grande Valley south of Albuquerque on their annual migration route. We wanted to check at one place in particular, but, other than that, the day was free to go wherever we felt like going. We took Interstate 25 south out of Albuquerque, but soon found ourselves more content on the road less traveled.

I missed a turn right after exiting the interstate, and we found ourselves crossing the Rio Grande and going on a bit. When I turned around to head back to the “other” road less traveled, this was the landscape that greeted us. Tim photographed, Laurie sketched, I photographed, and my mom enjoyed the scenery.

This wonderful landscape with the golden cottonwoods in the Rio Grande Valley, the mountains, the sky, the clouds, and a glimpse of the road less traveled was an auspicious beginning to a day filled with enchantment! Watch for more images from that day on this blog.

Sandhill Cranes in Corn and Flight

Sandhill Cranes are encouraged to stay in the Rio Grande Valley through the winter by corn crops planted specifically for them and other migratory birds. State and National Wildlife officials coordinate their efforts, so that the birds and land are best cared for. Here in New Mexico, the cranes are considered something of a winter treasure by anyone who has seen them.

If one looks closely at the corn in the foreground, one can see the distinctive red patches on the heads of many sandhill cranes. The corn provides food and also good protection for the birds.

As I was photographing in this area, a motorcyclist drove by. The cranes appear to be used to cars driving by, but they were spooked by the motorcycle. In the end, I was almost grateful to the cyclist, because he gave me a chance to photograph cranes in the corn and in flight.

Sandhill cranes really are a sight to behold along the Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico in winter!

Sandhill Cranes
Sand Hill Cranes in Corn and Flight

Sandhill Cranes on Foot

Sandhill Cranes on Foot

Although as a photographer I really love to show birds in flight, it is also important to photograph them as they are usually seen for longer periods of time. Many sandhill cranes overwinter in the Rio Grande River Valley of New Mexico, which is desert. The riparian area along the river is often referred to as “the bosque,” and it is a very important environmental areas for many living things.

Corn (and other crops) are planted in State and National Wildlife Refuge areas to attract and keep overwintering birds such as the cranes.

Sandhill Cranes
Sandhill Cranes on Foot

Sandhill Crane in the New Year

Sandhill Crane on January 1, 2014, in the Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico.

The magnificent Sandhill Cranes overwinter in the Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico. They are spectacular in flight, as well as impressive on the ground!

sandhill crane
Sandhill Crane in the Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year to readers here.

Fall was very busy with photography. In these winter months I’ll be catching up with new posts here.

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