Usually I don’t write much about all the driving we do, but some of it turns out to be a great part of a trip. This drive is packed full of goodies, some of which I’ve never seen. Starting at the southern tip of the Jemez mountains with White Mesa, you get a smorgasbord of desert towers, buttes, and canyons to ogle. I’ve rarely seen them in the snow, which only accentuates their dramatic shapes. Some of my favorites are Cabezon Peak, Angel Peak, and Shiprock. The valleys and buttes in the Four Corners area are really stunning too, with names like Skinney Rock, Blue Rock, and Chimney Rock.
Around dark we follow a sign pointing 6 miles to National Forest access. The road turns from slick snowpack to steep doubletrack. We hesitate before taking the camper down into the Dolores River canyon, but the night is clear as a bell and we figure we can make it back out again as long as we don’t get a big snowfall. We find a place to park near the river and take a star-spangled walk in the dark as the temperature dives down toward the single digits. We wake up under high clouds and slowly warming temperatures. The truck starts nicely, chugs back up the snowy road, and we’re off on another day of adventurous driving!