Above: Dwan Light Sanctuary, outside of Las Vegas, NM. Photograph by Jen Judge.
The Land of Fire and Ice
Escape the summer heat near Grants, with a descent into the mouth of the Ice Cave, a collapsed lava tube where the temperature never rises above 31 degrees and a pool of glistening greenish ice 20 feet thick has survived for centuries. (The ice was once harvested to chill beer in a nearby saloon.) Peer into the lava tube and savor the natural refrigeration before checking out the 10,000-year-old crater of nearby Bandera Volcano, panning for treasures in the gemstone mining sluice, and shopping for souvenirs in the old-timey trading post (505-783-4303, icecaves.com).
Dwan Light Sanctuary
Make a pilgrimage to this “futuristic light temple” and escape the Sturm und Drang of daily life for a blissful minute. Sit on the smooth banco and just stare at the wall. Watch as rainbow stripes of light beam through the roof’s 12 prism windows and inch down the walls and across the floor. The freestanding building on the United World College campus, outside Las Vegas, was built as a refuge for the campus and the public. Stop by the college’s welcome center and ask for directions. The college itself isn’t open to the public, but Southwest Detours leads tours (505-454-4252, uwc-usa.org, southwestdetours.com).
Origami in the Garden
New Mexico sculptor Kevin Box earned fame for creating miraculous, enormous folded sculptures of cranes, horses, and paper airplanes—out of metal. His works are exhibited in public gardens and galleries nationwide, but every summer you can see his creations fly, pose, and prance through the Turquoise Trail Sculpture Garden and Studio, in Cerrillos. The site, master-planned by the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, ranges from red rocks and piñons to a lush wetland spring. Find a shady spot to sit, relax, and wonder: How the heck did he do that? (origamiinthegarden.com).