New Mexico Badlands: San Jose (the B&W post)
The afternoon following my visit to the Lybrook overlook, I decided to drive up to the San Jose badlands, which — according to the directions — were fairly close at hand. The journey was extended a bit due to the fact that I missed one of the obscure road turnoffs, the directions having been off by a few tenths of a mile. So I drove on up scenic and almost totally deserted Hwy 112 for several miles before deciding I’d missed the turn and backtracking. Given the high, wide-open forested scenery, this proved to be not a terribly bad thing. (The badlands themselves sit astride the Continental Divide.)
Since I took quite a lot of photos once I finally made it to the wellhead parking area and donned my hiking gear (boots, pack, camera, floppy hat, walking stick), I’ve decided to split them up into two posts — this one focusing on black & white images, and the next to showcase color shots. (Stay tuned.)
It’s a magical region, and some of the magic is of a decidedly mischevious, if not sinister, variety. Here I refer to the abundant ironstone pellets carpeting the terrain (image at right – click to enlarge). These buggers are in many places pedestaled, and stepping on them begins a process whereby they are loosed to serve as rollers beneath one’s boots. When standing on even a miniscule slope, one’s footing tends to slip; on steeper inclines, as when one is maneuvering for the proper camera angle to shoot a nearby hoodoo, an almost comical tendency to land on one’s butt comes into play — again and again.
This region is worthy of a far more extensive exploration than the hike I took on this occasion. Going back for more will definitely be something to look forward to.