I went hiking at El Morro National Monument in Northern New Mexico, and I have just returned from that short trip. El Morro is probably one of the nicest national monuments I’ve ever visited. It has a nine-site campground with water and a pit toilet, and it is FREE. Yes, free. Also, dogs are allowed anywhere at the monument as long as they are on a leash. It was such a surprise to visit a national park service unit with free camping. I’m still not over it! Also, the whole dogs being welcome thing…wow.
The monument itself is a perfect mash-up of all kinds of archaeology and cultural resources, from the prehistoric kiva and room blocks atop the slickrock, to the Spanish inscriptions in the rock left by Conquistadors. Also, special for architecture buffs, is its fantastic mid-century modern visitor center. All it needed was some Danish furniture and BAM! Total time warp. The building itself is 50 years old this year, so it is now a protected historic cultural resource. Be sure to check out the coffee shops just a mile or two east of the monument’s entrance road. Also, Zuni Pueblo is 40 minutes west of the monument and worth the drive. The Zuni are very welcoming and have several places for its tourists to stop and look around.
I’ve begun using a neat app to track hikes, Ramblr.com. It is available for iOS and for Android devices, and I am becoming quite used to using it while I’m hiking. The great part about Ramblr is that I can log into my account and clean up my map’s way points for a better looking map, over which I will always be fussing! Follow links back to ramblr.com to see more data about the hike.