Walking Enchantment – Tent Rocks National Monument and Madrid, New Mexico

Our project took us to two more amazing locations. Tent Rocks National Monument and Madrid, New Mexico. 

We arrived at Tent Rocks at 7a.m. We tried to be there at 6:30 a.m., but it was still closed. I guess the rest of the world sleeps in on Saturdays. So – we went for some really bad coffee at the local convenience store and headed back to the gate to wait for the park attendant.

Once through the gate I immediately pulled over because the scene was that good. I pulled out my tripod and camera and got to work. Little did I know the parking lot was just across the fence.

When I had the shot I wanted, I put everything away and proceeded to the parking area feeling a little dunce-ish for not realizing parking was 20 feet away. Once again, I pulled out my gear, though without actually taking it out of my bag since we had a bit of a hike in front of us. The trail we traversed was stunning! Apparently, Tent Rocks is the result of some pretty severe explosions way back when the geography of our planet was forming. Lucky for us!

Immediately what struck me was the silence. To my ears, we sounded very loud even though we were talking in our normal voices. It was cool, but odd at the same time. We were ooo-ing and aw-ing our way up the path. While Carey Rose was communing with the site, I was busy setting up my tripod and taking images I feel will definitely have an other-worldly quality to them.

Onward to Madrid (pronounced Mad-rid) where they filmed “Wild Hogs”, a not great movie, but it sure put Madrid on the map. It’s an old coal mining community that thrived in the 20s and 30s.  We had an opportunity to speak with a local woman who was running the parking lot where we parked. She gave us the lowdown on the area while allowing us to photograph her “photo park” – a series of painted character flats with holes cut out for folks to put their heads through.

The people there are quirky and lovely. We were walking back to the car when we encountered a man with a long white beard, on a horse. He stopped when we asked if we could pet his horse. His name was – no kidding – John Wayne. He told us he rode Misty (his horse) all the way from Michigan, picked up a stray dog in Arkansas; the dog completed the journey with them and is still their companion. It took them a total of six months and three days.  Why?  He has family nearby. Who does that nowadays? John Wayne thanked us for showing Misty some love, shook our hands and continued on his way. Like I said, quirky and lovely.

Since the Walking Enchantment project has been in progress, we have visited and will continue to visit many different, not well known locations. So far it has been very enlightening for me and I hope for anyone who is following Walking Enchantment as well. If you aren’t following us, come on over to our website and have a look-see. If you like what you see, we’d love it if you made a donation towards the completion of the project, which will benefit the UNM Center for Life.

Also keep in mind the end-of-year exhibition at the Romero Street Gallery where all proceeds for the sale of the art pieces will all go to the UNM Center for Life. We’d love to see you there.