Pillions's eye view of a "wicked sweeper" north of Truchas, NM Photo P. Weckerley
Continuing past the High Road Gallery the road becomes steeper and twistier. It also becomes lonelier. On a spring day early in the season it is not uncommon to have the road to oneself. The quality of the road also begins to deteriorate. It never becomes bad enough to create driveability issues, but it does require more caution. The rocks from the cliffs tend fall apart and leave debris in the corners. The sweepers here are also wicked fun!
In addition to the wicked fun the "high-road" travels through at least three of the six earth life zones that are part of the the geology of New Mexico. Although an analysis of this complex topic are beyond the scope of this article the zones are... the Upper Sonoran Life Zone, The Transition Zone and The Canadian Life Zone.
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Just past Las Trampas NM 76 ends and NM 75 splits off to the northwest and southeast. Turn southeast and the road begins to ascend steeply leaving the red rocks and pygmy forest of the Upper Sonoran Life Zone behind and enters the much more forested Transition Zone. NM 75 quickly turns into NM518 at a challenging hairpin and the climb becomes even steeper.
There is very little civilization to slow one down while carving through Carson National Forest. The road is well maintained and relatively free of hazards. The biggest challenge is keeping ones eyes on the road when they want to wander to the magnificent views of Wheeler Peak and the dark mysterious canyons.
Next time we will finish up with the ride back to Santa Fe past the Colorado River