Tuesday, June 27, 2017

More of New Mexico

Post by Henry and Loretta

Well, Howdy! Long time, no see. We ARE still going and going and going.....

After City of Rocks, we headed to northern New Mexico and spent a few days outside of Las Vegas, New Mexico (NOT Nevada) at Storrie Lake State Park. After City of Rocks, Storrie Lake was a bit of a letdown, but there was plenty to see and do nearby.

We were able to catch up with our friends, Bob and Maureen, who have been fulltime RVing for over seven (7) years now.

Bob and Maureen

They were the first couple we met in Florida when we started our adventure 2 1/2 years ago. They had been staying in the Las Vegas area for several weeks, so they showed us some of the sights.

First, we went 'hot potting'! Say what?

Hot Pottin' at Montezuma
Hot Springs

Hot potting is soaking in natural hot springs. Just outside of town are the Montezuma Hot Springs, which was a great attraction for the 1890's Montezuma Hotel, where people came to rejuvinate their bodies in the hot mineral waters. Rumor has it that Jesse James and Billy the Kid soaked in these springs!

Former Montezuma Hotel

After a good soak, we continued up the road past the hot springs as it made it's way further into the mountains. We ended up at a quiet forest service campground on the Gallinas River. A few trailheads are there that deserve further exploration at a future date.

In the afternoon, we walked around the historic plaza of Old Town Las Vegas.


Las Vegas, NM

Las Vegas, NM

We spent a long day exploring Taos and the surrounding area. The ride there and back was absolutely beautiful with views of tumbling rivers and snow capped peaks.

Raging River going toward Taos

As we walked around town, we worked up a powerful thirst. A visit to the Taos Mesa Brewery took care of that!

Taos Mesa Brewing
Taos, NM

Outdoor Seating with a View

We strolled out onto the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, where far below, we spotted some Bighorn Sheep. Later, we saw more Bighorn Sheep incredibly close off the side of the road.

Rio Grande Gorge Bridge

Big Horn Sheep

Big Horn Sheep
How's this for a Close-up?

Up the road a few more miles, we drove through Earthship. What is Earthship? Click here.

Earthship House 1

Earthship House 2

Earthship House 3

After our stay at Storrie Lake State Park, we moved 100 miles west to Cochiti Lake.

Cochiti Lake 

 This is a Corps of Engineers Lake and Campground that was quite beautiful. We somehow scored what we felt was the best campsite, sitting at the top of the campground with 360 degree views of the lake and surrounding mountains.

Our Cochiti Lake Campsite

Just down the street from Cochiti Lake was a place called Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. Turns out Kasha-Katuwe is famous for it's cone shaped rock formations, which were the result of the Jemez volcanic eruptions about 7 million years ago. The surreal hike through the slot canyons and past the tent rocks was unlike any place we have ever been before.

Kasha-Katuwe

Beginning the hike at Kasha-Katuwe

Into the Slots

Tent Rock Formations


View from the Top

We made several trips to Santa Fe from Cochiti Lake. We spent one day with Bob and Maureen again, checking out the cool farmers market and walking around the historic and very busy plaza.

Santa Fe Marketplace


Covered Wagon in Santa Fe


Creative Stairway

We also made a trip to Bandelier National Monument. From Cochiti Lake, the monument is 8 miles as the crow flies, but 70+ miles via roadway.

Bandelier National Monument

New Mexico Style

This is another place like others we've visited that protects the petroglyphs, cliff dwellings, and masonry foundations of the homes of the Ancestral Pueblo people who lived here hundreds of years ago.

Ancient Puebloan Structures

The highlight here for us was a visit to the Alcove House, which required climbing 4 ladders to reach.

Climbing the Ladder

Long House Remains

Altogether, we spent about 6 weeks in New Mexico. Just like so many places we've been in the last 2 1/2 years, it's another we want to return to and spend even more time.  Gee - that list is getting long. Somewhere along the way, we're gonna need to find the fountain of youth!


P.S.
Beauty in the Desert






Monday, May 22, 2017

City of Rocks

Post by Henry

After two (2) weeks in Deming, New Mexico, we moved 30 miles north and spent some time in City of Rocks State Park.


City of Rocks
Faywood, New Mexico

The park is pretty much in the middle of nowhere, with giant boulders and a campground unlike any other we've ever seen. 

Boulders

The campsites are situated amongst the rocks in various fashion, creating a most unique campground. A lot of the sites are great for tents, but there's also some suitable for RV's, too.


Unique Campsite

We were able to grab what we felt was the best site in the park for five (5) nights. 

Our Campsite amongst the Boulders

It was away from the main campground nearly all by itself. In fact, we had to look hard to see another campsite. What we did see was outstanding scenery in all directions. And my favorite part was it was soooo quiet! 

Peaceful

Mostly the only sounds were birds and the wind. And here in New Mexico this time of year, there was plenty of wind to be heard. This site had no hookups and no cell signal, but somehow we survived. We'd have to say this was the most beautiful campsite we've ever been in with the Rambler.

Our Campsite from a Distance

Unfortunately, someone had the campsite reserved and we had to give it up after five (5) nights. We were not tired of being at City of Rocks, though, so we moved to a less remote site with water and electric hookups for another six (6) nights.

Second Campsite

We still had amazing views and we think we snagged the best hookup site, too. Our covered picnic table was surrounded by blooming Bird of Paradise and Ocotillo cactus, which attracted many birds and bees. Sitting outside, there was an ever present hum of bees at work.

Bird of Paradise

One thing this park is known for is it's dark skies at night and they have a star party every month. In fact, the campsites are each named after either a constellation or a planet. Our first campsite was named Cassiopeia and the second was Xena. It was available, but we passed on Uranus;). Unfortunately, we weren't able to cash in on the dark skies, as our visit coincided with a full moon occurring exactly in the middle of our stay.

Full Moon Rising

The day after we arrived, we went on a Ranger led birding hike to nearby River Ranch, located along the Mimbres River, that is usually closed to the public. 

Birding on River Ranch

They only do this hike once a month, so we were here at the right time. Our two guides really knew their stuff as they were locating birds in all directions by both sight and sound. We were able to add several new birds to our life list, including the Zone-Tailed Hawk. 

Zone-Tailed Hawk

They not only knew birds, but also dragonflies and butterflies, too. They were both amazing, and we'd highly recommend signing up for this hike.

We made several excursions to Silver City, about thirty (30) miles up the road. It's an old mining town and now is an artsy town. There's a fun historic district to walk the streets, with many restaurants and art galleries.

Colorful Silver City

Art Everywhere


Outside of Silver City is the Gila National Forest, with so many outdoor possibilities, it's incredible. There's three (3) wilderness areas in the forest including the Gila Wilderness, which was the first official designated wilderness in the WORLD!

We made a trip to Gila Cliff Dwelling National Monument.

Gila Cliff Dwellings

It was a long ride on incredibly scenic roads. The cliff dwellings were quite impressive and probably the best we've seen.

Gila Cliff Dwellings

Ranger at Gila Cliff Dwellings

While there, I was finally able to purchase my Federal Senior Access Lifetime Pass for $10! Yes, I'm officially a GEEZER.

Showing off Senior Access Pass

We did get in some good hiking.

Near Silver City, we hiked the Dragonfly Loop. In addition to the beautiful scenery, the trail took us to some petroglyphs.

Dragonfly Petroglyph

More Impressive Petroglyphs

Another hike we did was the Big Tree trail. This one led us to the second largest Alligator Juniper tree in America.

Alligator Juniper
Big Tree

Here at the City of Rocks, we did every possible hike with our favorite being Table Mountain.

Table Mountain Hiking Trail

Table Mountain
Summit on Right

The summit sits 500 feet above the campground, but the hike is fairly easy. There's views the entire hike, with a 360 degree panorama at the top.

On Top of Table Mountain with
City of Rocks in Background

There is so much to do around here, and we're barely going to make a dent this year. We will be returning at some point in the not too distant future. More than likely, out next visit will have to be much longer.

Probably a month or two.

Or more.