New Mexico isn’t as well traveled as its bordering states, but it has a rich Native American history and a vast unexplored wilderness.
12 days – Limited group sizes.
Start dates – May 25th, 2024 | September 28th, 2024 | October 19th, 2024 | May 10th, 2025 | September 20th, 2024 | October 11th, 2024
12 days – Limited group sizes.
Start dates – October 21st, 2023 | April 27th, 2024 | October 19th, 2024
Embark on an extraordinary camping odyssey, immersing yourself in the captivating tapestry of New Mexico’s Native American heritage. Unearth the exciting evidence of over 2,500 years of indigenous presence in
this mystical land. Witness the ancestral Indians’ ancient wisdom, harmoniously living off the land for generations.
Feel the essence of history resonate as you trace the transformation of the remarkable Anasazi, evolving from nomadic hunter-gatherers to ingenious agriculturists, birthing the mesmerizing pueblos that still
enchant us today. Discover the sacred spirit of New Mexico’s past on this unforgettable journey!
Tom’s life quote: “I prefer mountain ranges over beaches, snow over sunshine, and know my way around a fire pit. There is nothing like the cold, brisk, clear air of winter!”
Reading and discussing histories and science, hiking, archery, sightseeing and being in a winter wonderland! I love Thai and Indian cuisine and finding the best beef jerky wherever I travel. I’ve lived in Japan and hiked the forgotten sections of the Great Wall of China, taken a train across Siberia and backpacked all over Eastern Europe.On this winter excursion I look forward to showing guests the beauty and serenity of the places we visit that are so different from visiting these places in a different season.
I’m always looking for my next adventure and can’t wait to help you find yours.
Growing up in the Netherlands there weren’t any mountain slopes to ski from, but every winter I would tie under my ice skates and ride for miles through the Frisian landscape of the North of the Netherlands. As a teenager I started to conquer the slopes in Austria and Switzerland. Moving to the United States and eventually settling in the Los Angeles ski-area at Big Bear lake, I started snowboarding in the afternoon while surfing in the morning!
As a wilderness first responder I am thankful that I can look after the guests’ safety and have them enjoy the places we visit to the fullest. While visiting unique and remote areas in Alaska, I took guests out on winter evening hikes to hunt the Aurora Borealis. As a passionate adventure sports traveler and guide, this Northeast winter experience is a unique opportunity to learn or grow in the winter activities offered. If you want to ski, snowboard or snowshoe, I look forward to being part of your winter journey.
After we meet our fellow travelers and Tusker guides we drive out of Albuquerque for an hour into the desert to visit Acoma Sky City. This mesa-top settlement is known worldwide for its unique art and rich culture. A federally recognized Native American Tribe, Acoma Pueblo is home to over 5000 tribal members and with more than 250 dwellings, none of which have electricity, sewer or water. The Pueblo is regarded as the oldest continuously inhabited community in the United States.
Access to the pueblo is difficult as the faces of the mesa are sheer, in the past the only way to get to the pueblo was by cutting stairs by hand into the sandstone rock. We will meet a local native who will guide us through the city and offers insight on Acoma’s living history and culture. Permanent exhibits in the main hall take visitors on a historical journey of the Acoma Pueblo. We will enjoy our lunch at the Sky City.
Awaken your adventurous spirit with a hearty outdoor breakfast, for today, we delve into the captivating Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness, cradled within the enchanting embrace of Navajo land.
Behold the majesty of the Navajo Nation, a sovereign state spanning the mystical corners of Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. As we venture forth, the desolate badlands of Bisti reveal their secrets, shaped by time’s gentle caress. Marvel at the enigmatic adobe formations, while the echoes of Dééł Náázíní, the “Standing Crane,” serenade your senses. Step by step, we navigate the 8-mile Bisti Wash loop, traversing a mesmerizing maze of hills, where direction dances with the winds, beckoning you to embrace the unknown.
Joining the Penasco Blanco and Pueblo Alto Ruins hike within Chaco Culture National Historical Park is a voyage through time, immersed in the rich tapestry of ancestral Puebloan history. The trail, a blend of archaeology and natural beauty, unveils the enigmatic remnants of a once-flourishing civilization.
Embark on a thrilling 2-hour drive southward, unveiling the wondrous El Malpais National Monument. Brace yourself for an otherworldly adventure as we venture into mesmerizing caves and lava tubes, venturing across the very continental divide of the USA. But hold tight, for this isn’t your typical lifeless volcanic expanse! Amidst the rugged badlands, nature has defied all odds, as tenacious plants and lichens claim dominion over every crevice, adding hues, scents, and textures to the ancient, charred basalt landscape.
Witness the majesty of the American Southwest’s oldest Douglas Fir trees, boasting an astounding 1,300 years of wisdom! Amidst this untamed splendor, we relish an on-the-go picnic before journeying to our remote campground on Mount Taylor, nestled within the untamed Cibola National Forest. With the expertise
of our seasoned camp host, we’ll find the perfect spot to create our dispersed camp, savoring two unforgettable nights amidst the wilderness.
Prepare for an enthralling 5-hour driving expedition, an early start to seize the day’s boundless opportunities. Our journey along Hwy 117 weaves through the captivating El Malpais National Monument, granting us precious moments to savor its wonders.
Behold the La Ventana Natural Arch, a colossal sandstone marvel, proudly boasting a 120-foot-wide span, the grandest accessible arch in New Mexico. A brief trail leads us to its very base, where ancient secrets whisper through the stone.
Our odyssey continues as we venture into the northern expanse of Gila National Forest, venturing to the legendary Catwalk. Here, the name itself evokes echoes of history, harkening back to the bygone era of ore processing, where wooden walkways danced upon steel pipes that once quenched the thirst of industry.
Embark on the riveting 2-mile loop trail, an immersive voyage into the geological and historical bedrock of southwest New Mexico.
As twilight descends, delight in the pleasures of a sumptuous dinner and the comfort of a hotel bed at Bear Mountain Lodge, an exclusive haven nestled in the heart of the Gila National Forest. Let the aura of the Gila Wilderness, the nation’s oldest wilderness area, caress your soul, unraveling a tale of timeless beauty etched into the very fabric of the United States.
Venture into the embrace of the National Forest, where the call of adventure beckons you to stow away your phones, for in this untamed wilderness, reception is but a distant memory. Here, amidst the rugged terrain, we establish our base camp, a sanctuary of exploration for three unforgettable nights.
Embark on a profound journey into antiquity as we visit the awe-inspiring Gila Cliff Dwellings, where nomadic spirits sought refuge for millennia. In the late 1200s, the Mogollon Culture found their haven, crafting lives within these stone chambers for two decades before moving on, leaving behind a timeless legacy for us to cherish. Our drive back gifts us a soothing delight, the natural embrace of Gila Hot Springs, where our muscles find solace in warm waters beneath the starlit sky.
A new dawn unfolds with a spirited heartbeat as we gear up for an exhilarating second day, delving into the enchantment of Little Bear Canyon, a 10-mile odyssey through hoodoos and cliffs, a true testament to the wilderness’ allure.
Oh, behold the majesty of the Gila River Canyon, where its convergence with Little Bear Canyon renders a breathtaking spectacle, perhaps the zenith of our New Mexico sojourn. Crossing the river’s embrace, we rest our feet at the Middlefork natural hot springs, restoring our souls before returning to camp.
On our final day, we ascend to greatness, summiting Black Peak via a portion of the Continental Divide trail, an 8-mile journey culminating at the majestic 10K summit, where the world below seems to bow to our triumph. Let this daring expedition etch its indelible mark upon your heart, a testament to the untamed
Leaving the wilderness and into the wide open we drive to Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge to go bird watching. The name of the refuge means “woods of the Apache” in Spanish, named for the Apache tribes that once camped in the forests along the Rio Grande.
A twelve-mile-long loop road ” give affords good views of the fields where crops are grown for the benefit of the birds under cooperative agreements with farmers. There have been 374 different bird species observed in the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge since 1981, making it one of the most diverse areas for bird species in the United States.
The wetlands attract the huge flocks of wintering cranes and geese that are the refuge’s most interesting feature. Many other species as waterfowl, shorebirds, and birds of prey also winter in the refuge. The diversity of birds is also high in spring and although the area is hot in the summer still many water birds can be found, including such New Mexico rarities as the least bittern and occasionally the little blue heron. We will make photo stops and stretch our legs on one of the short trails along the wetlands.
After a short drive we stop at the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument to explore the ruins of the Quarai Mission. The mission, one of the three sets of pueblo and mission ruins at Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument are located where the Great Plains meet the Manzano Mountains. Quarai is home to a seventeenth century Spanish mission church and convento, the mostly unexcavated and covered ruins of a Tiwa pueblo. Heading into the Manzano Mountains Wilderness our short drive brings us into our last dispersed camp where we spend our last two nights of the trip.
Embark on the thrilling 7-mile day hike along the captivating Spruce Spring trail. Traverse diverse biological zones, venture through enchanting fern canyons, and marvel at the granite rock walls. Reaching Gallo Peak, at 10K feet, relish the breathtaking vistas of the Manzano Mountains, a triumphant finale to our unforgettable journey through New Mexico.
Today we pack up our camp and end the tour in the city of Albuquerque where we arrive around noon. Your expert guide can support you on your travels home or your continuing adventures.
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