My husband and I recently made a trip to Los Alamos to visit a friend. On the way, we stopped at Fenton Lake State Park New Mexico where we were greeted by this golden-mantled ground squirrel.
Still, we had a lovely three-mile walk around the lake, admiring the many wildflowers.
Fenton Lake is in the northwest part of New Mexico, a few miles north and west of Jemez Springs. From there, we headed more or less eased through Valles Caldera National Preserve. This circular depression, caused by a spectacular volcanic eruption about 1.2 5 million years ago, is America’s newest national preserve.
Some areas are restricted or require permits, but parts of the preserve are open to hiking, biking, hunting, and fishing. We stopped at a couple of random pull offs alongside the highway. The first trail was temporarily closed (I can't recall if it was fire danger or flooding danger, but both are risks during New Mexico summers.) The second was less of a trail than a few crisscrossing cattle paths, but we had some great views.