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Are Transplants New Mexico’s Best Chance at Sprucing Up Its Image?
A shift the public’s perception of New Mexico--from dull and desolate to awe-inspiring and worth visiting--can happen only if powered by those who choose to live in New Mexico rather than those who have lived there all their lives.
New Mexico is a complex place that stands at the confluent of many different cultural, historical, political, and geographical influences. While it is quite possible to enjoy a visit to the Land of Enchantment without looking much beyond the conspicuous Southwestern folklore-- in the local food fare, artisan-crafted turquoise jewelry, music, and interior décor--the state’s true beauty reveals itself to those who dig below the somewhat dismal surface of what meets the untrained eye.
To say that New Mexico is understated is, well, an understatement. In the Land of Enchantment the outdoors-bound will find the same natural wonders people flock to in neighboring states without the crowds. Indeed, there are waterfalls, Grand Canyon-grade hikes, secluded hoodoo formations and slot canyons, secluded wilderness areas, deserts, Alpine forests, lakes, mountains, and pretty much everything in between.
However, the abundance of outdoors opportunities is but a mere glimpse into what makes New Mexico unique. While New Mexico’s geological richness tells a story that spans millennia, it is only when combined with the local historical treasure trove of different cultures blended together, sometimes not so smoothly, that one starts to get an actual sense of the state’s true identity.
So why would outsiders be New Mexico’s best chance at sprucing up its image? What do outsiders have to bring to the table that makes a difference in the way others perceive the state?
Transplants who call the Land of Enchantment “home”, such as the owners of the guided hiking company New Mexico Enchanted Hikes, share a passion for the state which is, by and large, stripped of much of the cultural prejudice and political bias typically found in these parts. Therein lies the key to understanding the intriguing aspects of the state that are rarely, if ever, revealed to the everyday tourist. New Mexico Enchanted Hikes considers itself an ambassador of the Land of Enchantment and strongly believes in the mission of stewardship—
Maybe the best example of a chasm in perception can be found in the once- ubiquitous “Lobo”. While the Mexican gray wolves image is a celebrated emblem of the University of New Mexico, the actual animals are on the brink of extinction with less than 60 left in the wild and conservation efforts remain poorly supported at a state level. Other significant symbols of Southwestern folklore such as the wild mustangs, which once roamed free by the thousands, are fast disappearing due to a push to open more land to development;
Ultimately it does not matter where you originally hail from, as there is a universal truth about New Mexico which must never be overlooked: it is a rugged country and being prepared is a necessity, not a luxury. This is especially important in light of recent hiking incidents reported in USA Today (March 9, 2012) and the New York Times (April 1, 2012). New Mexico’s bright blue and cloudless skies can turn on a dime and it takes experienced Backcountry guides to not only recognize trouble but also be prepared for it. With New Mexico Enchanted Hikes, you can trust that you are in capable hands, relax, and enjoy the beauty of a place shaped by centuries of tumultuous histories.
New Mexico Enchanted Hikes is a small business with a big goal and bigger aspirations. Their guides work with integrity, passion, offer extraordinary experiences, and are intent on changing the global perception of New Mexico. They want to convince you to give New Mexico a try because “it’s a trip”!