IT PAINS ME TO ADMIT that no matter how well we succeed at bringing New Mexico locales alive with vivid language and stunning photography, there is absolutely no substitute for hitting the road and getting out there to see the places we cover. That’s why our mantra is “Go. See. Do.” and even our most leaned-back armchair reads are accompanied by actionable information designed to help readers have firsthand experiences of the subject matter.
Working on Andrew Collins’ guide to touring the Mora Valley (“Peaks and Prairies”) inspired me to take a way overdue drive up past Las Vegas into a swath of the state unlike any other I know of. My kids were happy to see lots of green grass and jump around in a river. We stopped at one of the roadside attractions that Andrew notes, the Cleveland Roller Mill Museum, and received a warm invitation from the docent to return on Labor Day weekend for Millfest. It’s one thing to read a recommendation in a magazine article; it’s another to get a personal invite to an undoubtedly fun event in a really grassy spot by a river.
Managing editor Kate Nelson knows well the value of going, seeing, and doing: She’s visited all 15 of the state’s national parks—and plans to hit them all again (“Living the Dream”). Kate’s passion for immersing in New Mexico’s natural history and outsize outdoorsy assets makes me feel ashamed of how few of the parks I’ve visited, but I feel slightly better having just returned from the Bisti Badlands—a place she’s never been! It was there that I re-experienced the epiphany that no matter what you read or what pictures you see, you’ve got to see it to believe it.
I can’t wait to pack the family in the car and drive out to the northwest again, because here’s another truism about New Mexico that I realized anew: The driving is fantastic, the scenery unbeatable. According to the New York Times, “The great American road trip is back.” And according to New Mexico Magazine, there’s no place better to take one (or two, or fifteen) than right here.