About New Mexico's High Desert

Aspen trees, Calaveras Canyon, Santa Fe National Forest, Jemez Mountains, New Mexico

The background photo for the web site was taken in Calaveras Canyon, in the Jemez Mountains north of Albquerque. If the photo doesn't fit your picture of New Mexico, you have a lot to discover! Much of the U.S. Southwest is "high desert": dry enough to make water a precious resource, but high enough (5,000 feet or more in elevation) that grasslands and open woodlands predominate. Scattered within the high desert are "sky islands" of even higher terrain, where summer thunderstorms and winter snow packs support alpine forests.


Because of this variation, you can hike in the Albuquerque area all year around. The higher elevations are great places to explore when the lowlands are sweltering, and the lowlands are great places to be when the mountains are snowbound. 

About "Dog of the Desert"

Dave Phillips first encountered the Southwest's high desert in 1969, when he started college in Arizona. He became an avid hiker and explored much of the Grand Canyon on foot. After years of mostly sedentary existence in middle age, he rediscovered hiking as a resident of Albuquerque.


In college Dave learned that he could make a living as an archaeologist, and never looked back. Archaeology proved to be a great way to combine intellectual curiosity and a love of the outdoors, in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Mexico. In 2018 Dave retired from the University of New Mexico after serving as the curator of archaeology and then the interim director of the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology.


Dave David Phillips, Mesita Blanca, Tohajiilee, hike, hiking
On Mesita Blanca near Tohajiilee

All of the photos in this web site were taken by Dave Phillips, unless he's in the picture or they're otherwise attributed. The text and photos you see are published under a Creative Commons License. Dave retains the copyright to the higher resolution versions of his photos, but those don't appear here.

All photos are compositions, therefore to some extent lies. Be warned!
All photos are compositions, therefore to some extent lies. Be warned!