a trip to Mills Canyon, along the Canadian River in northeastern New Mexico.

A demon beetle! These creatures are all over Mills Canyon. They’re two inches long and make shrieking noises. Oh, and they fly.

The Canadian River, in infrared. This is where we park for a lazy day of being lazy.

Really, this is our parking spot. It’s a little-known feature of the International Harvester Scout: Jesus Mode.

Here, damselflies engage in, ahem, damselfly production activities. This is in the middle of the river. I floated out there on an air mattress, camera several inches away from getting soaked.

We take a lot of dirt roads. This is County Line Road and here it jogs from Colfax to Union County.

We rustle up a herd of antelope. Northeastern New Mexico is the antelope capital of the world.

Coming up on US-56. The modern road is just a couple hundred feet from the old alignment marked here, which isn’t actually visible anymore as it has been overgrown since the 1850s.

An oddly shaped tree.

The road to Mills Canyon is not particularly an improved one.

The demon beetle is not impressed by Dale’s size reference item.

The canyon itself.

A Mount Rushmore of Indian heads.

An even more primitive road. The tree to the left is one of the remnants of Melvin Mills’s orchard from a century ago. When the Santa Fe Trail decided to go elsewhere, so did Mills’s fortunes.

Dale finds a snapping turtle, and picks it up. First the turtle seems mildly amused.

After a moment, the turtle figures out that maybe a defensive reaction is in order.

The turtle tries escaping. No luck.

Looks like it’s time for plan P.

How’s that for a road? We have to ford the river.

Dale has arrived and settled in.

The entirety of the First Mills Canyon Battleship Fleet.

Let this be a warning to all: we will drink your beer!

Damselfly island.

This one’s a bit distracted and is therefore about to crash into the twig.

The ruins of the over 100 year old Mills Hotel.

Time to head home.

Looking up at a sharp angle towards this rock.

This isn’t nearly as bad as the Puffin Road, but it is still an impressive grade.

The last antelope of the day.