It has been difficult but I’m finally getting drawn into the season 3 of House of Cards. It took a few episodes of intricate diplomatic relations with Russia, Doug’s emotional yo-yo and, of course, the enigmatic presidential couple formed by Frank and Claire Underwood witnessed through the eyes of a mysterious writer for this new season to finally find its rhythm.

Beyond this slow and at times uninspired start where the touch of cynical genius from the previous seasons is fainter (did we get used to it or has it just disappeared?), one thing struck me: the Jimenez Trail in New Mexico.

The Jimenez Trail comes up during a conversation in the episode 6 of season 3 between Lisa and Gavin, who is trying to track down Rachel for Doug Stamper.

Gavin: Just no idea where she is?
Lisa: We used to lie in bed and fantasize about where we’d go if we could go anywhere. Paris, Australia, Timbuktu. That was Rachel, the far-off places. I didn’t need that.
Gavin: Where would you go?
Lisa: The Jimenez Trail.
Gavin: Where is that?
Lisa: New Mexico. Cuts across the whole state. It’s got hot springs and waterfalls. We used to say we’d go there, hike it, find a good spot, build a cabin.

However, after some searches, it looks like Lisa made a mistake and actually meant the Jemez Mountain Trail. Going through New Mexico, the Jemez Mountain Trail is a beautiful scenic drive of about 142 miles (229 km) going from Cuba to White Rock and passing by San Ysidro, Jemez Pueblo, Jemez Springs, La Cueva…etc. As advertised by Lisa, the Jemez Mountain Trail features hot springs and waterfalls but also cliff dwellings, pueblos, mesas and red rock buttes. The trail is also reputed for its hikes in the Jemez Mountains (e.g. around Jemez Falls, McCauley Warm Springs and Battleship Rock) – no wonder Rachel would pick this destination to escape the wrath of Stamper and Underwood!

Interested in visiting the Jemez Mountain trail? Check out these useful links to plan your trip:
http://www.jemezmountaintrail.org/
http://www.newmexico.org/jemez-mountain-trail/
https://www.myscenicdrives.com/drives/new-mexico/jemez-mountain-trail

Jemez Mountain Trail New Mexico Map