New Mexico Outdoor Boon Will Satisfy Even The Most Picky Visitors

With over 300 days of sunshine each year, the Land of Enchantment is a boon for outdoor activities and many small businesses are available to help visitors make the best of their visit to New Mexico.
 
July 29, 2012 - PRLog -- For years on end, New Mexico carried a rather lackluster image of desolate economic landscape, remedial cultural life, and generally little to offer in terms of tourist attractions. And for a while there, it seemed as if New Mexicans themselves were hellbent on cultivating a Devil-May-Care attitude about it all. But now it seems as if the tide may finally be turning.

Already actively engaged in sprucing up its image beyond its borders with a new televised ad campaign that can be seen in neighboring states, New Mexico officials now recognize the need for more localized action as well. In fact, localities all around the state are trying to attract and retain much-needed tourism dollars more aggressively than ever*.

With over 300 days of sunshine each year and 17 national parks and monuments within a 90-minute drive of bustling metropolis Albuquerque, the state can really be as much of an outdoors paradise as its more famed (and crowded) neighbor to the north, Colorado -- a fact that was recognized by Global Traveler Magazine as far back as December 2010.

Truth of the matter is, there really is something for everyone to do in New Mexico! From waterskiing at Elephant Butte Lake to  white-water rafting on the Rio Grande to stand-up paddling on Cochiti Lake to horseback riding in Ruidoso to hot-air ballooning in Albuquerque, all you haves to do is lace up your shoes and head out in the great outdoors.

And then, there is also hiking.

When it comes to hiking, New Mexico becomes a never-ending playground, from the popular and easily accessible Sandia Mountains foothill trails to more remote and out-of-the-way hiking adventures in one of the state's many wilderness areas and national forests, such as the Pecos Wilderness National Forest in Santa Fe to the north or the beautiful Organ Mountains near Las Cruces.

However, a wide range of ecosystems and weather patterns that can turn at the drop of a hat along with seven named 13,000+ foot peaks scattered across the state mean that safety must remain a priority for people involved in outdoor activities.

In effect, while Mount Wheeler (New Mexico's tallest peak at 13,065 feet) is a fairly popular and accessible day-long hike, raging year-round winds, violent summer thunderstorms and unpredictable winter snowstorms can make the 16-mile round trip quite challenging and borderline dangerous for the inexperienced hiker. Add to that altitude sickness, which often kicks in above 9,000 feet of elevation, and you can find yourself in dire straits before you know it.

Luckily, there are reputable hiking outfitters throughout  the state that can do most of the legwork for you safety-wise. Always do your due diligence before hiring a private outfitter and consider the following:

               *make sure the Outfitter  you are looking to hire is approved by the United States Forest Service and/or the Bureau of Land Management as a lot of New Mexico's best hikes are found on national forest lands or state-managed properties. Also, these outfitters will know which pueblo lands are accessible and will have the required permits to make your trip one to remember.

               *Always inquire whether your guide is prepared for backcountry emergencies. Reputable agencies such as NOLS (National Outdoors Leadership School) and WMA (Wilderness Medical Associates) provide the gold standard in such training.

               * Inquire as to whether your hiking guide has a specific field of expertise, such as birding, plant life, history and/or geology. A well-rounded guide will provide a much more invaluable service than any guide book could by enhancing your hiking experience with their interpretive skills.

So next time you are considering hiking in New Mexico, consider hiring a professional guide. They will really make your trip to the Land of Enchantment one you will never forget.


* http://www.abqjournal.com/main/2012/07/25/abqnewsseeker/s...).
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