Ojito Ponderosas

Sandstone pocket and ponderosa pines in New Mexico's Ojito Wilderness

New Mexico’s Ojito Wilderness is always a delight. You never know quite where you’re going when you step in, and you’re never quite sure if you’ve gotten there. Everywhere is curious and pretty, but you always have a feeling that something even better must be in the next pocket of sandstone, up the next gully, over in the next shale valley. And you may be right. I know there’s rock art in the neighborhood, but I’ve never found it; and a couple folks looking for rock art once stumbled on Seismosaurus (apparently now reclassified). I’ve yet to find anything truly remarkable, but you’d have to be blind to go out there and not come away fascinated by the badlands, curves and pillars of sandstone, twisted ponderosas (far below their normal elevations), and spectacular distant views of the great geologic uplifts of the Nacimiento and the Sandias. I really must get out there for an overnight in some interesting weather!

4 thoughts on “Ojito Ponderosas

    • Yeah, it’s moved really high on my list, plus it’s a great winter destination. I’m just waiting for some promising weather conditions. It’s much more open badlands than tight canyon country, so an interesting sky will be an enormous help. Just need La Nina to give us a break from these damn blue skies!

  1. This looks like a really pretty place; this whole area of north central NM really has lots of places like this (topographically, at least this sounds a lot like Bandelier NM). I really like the way that white sandstone catches the light in this image.


    • Thanks Greg! Ojito’s a lot more open and crumbly than Bandelier, no deep canyons and finger mesas, and certainly no permanent streams. Ojito’s also 1,000 feet lower, so the ponderosas are really living on the edge there, whereas they’re abundant in Bandelier’s comparatively lush canyons. Both areas have really cool erosional features, but Ojito’s sandstones behave rather differently than Bandelier’s ashflow tuff.

      I love to compare and contrast landscapes, obviously! Everywhere is unique somehow, and looking at how geology, location and elevation all come together to produce specific landscapes is endlessly fascinating to me.

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