Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Enchantment Indeed

We continue to be enchanted with the state of New Mexico. Our last park, for this particular trip, is an Army Corp of Engineer park at Cochiti Lake on the Cochiti Pueblo Indian reservation. Situated within easy reach of Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Los Alamos we’ve had access to so much to see and do. Mark really wanted to revisit Bandelier National Monument where you can explore ancestral Pueblo dwellings accessed by ladders up steep walled canyons. He, and friend Lee Pace, visited here decades ago, so it was pretty cool to see that three decades hadn’t  dimmed the timeless beauty of this place. We also got to do a beautiful hike at one of America’s most recently recognized National Monuments; Tent Rocks (or Kasha-Katuwe). We love rocks and this place has some of the coolest most unique hoodoos we’ve seen!

Tent Rocks National Monument 

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Back to New Mexico & Mexico!

What a difference a day makes. Our original plan was to spend another week in Arizona, traveling north, to Fool Hollow Recreation Area, but because of a cold front bringing 50 mph wind and temps in the 20’s we opted to head east to a little state park with a lot of history. Pancho Villa State Park has been a delightful detour. We still had to drive through fierce wind and a dust storm to get here but we are so pleased with the change in plans. Not only have we learned about Mexican revolutionary leader Poncho Villa, but with the park being only 3 miles from the Mexican border we grabbed our bikes and passports and rode down into the town of Paloma, Mexico. What a cool but strange experience to so easily find yourself in another country.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Record Highs

The weather was perfect, when we arrived in the Tucson area, but by the end of the week the temps began rising to record highs for this time of year. Mark had the brilliant idea of driving to the hiking trails in the surrounding mountains on one of the hottest days. With just a 50 mile drive, to the top of Mt Lemmon, the temperature dropped 30 degrees, from 95 to 65. The other cool thing about the drive was discovering that local bike riders take the Mt Lemmon challenge, almost daily, to ride from the bottom of the mountain to the top. (elevation gain of 6,950) I couldn’t convince Mark that was a good idea so we hiked part of the Arizona Trail instead. Not all the hikes in this area are “dry”. A number of trails have beautiful pools and springs. After a week here we have certainly come to understand the term siesta; activities in the mornings and evenings but naps, followed by coffee, every afternoon!

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Arizona and the Sonoran Desert

Postcard of the “old” welcome sign

I keep thinking we will eventually arrive in a state that doesn’t measure up to the last one and I’m realizing what a diverse and beautiful country we live in. There is so much beauty everywhere. I find myself humming “this land is your land” and feeling thankful at the opportunity to see and explore. Our first stop in Arizona is at Catalina State Park outside of Tucson. I’m surprised at the abundance of plants and animals in this desert oasis. The first day in our campsite we hosted a number of small round tail ground squirrels, a friendly roadrunner, numerous Gila Woodpeckers and a rattlesnake. Mark commented that some of our “guests” were more welcome than others.

Unexpected guest

My first Saguaro Cactus 

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

City of Rocks

Sunday, we woke up in our second state park, in New Mexico, City of Rocks, to an amazing Easter sunrise. The last park, Elephant Butte, had the unusual combination of lake/reservoir and desert.This park has large sculpted rock formations rising as high as 40 feet and separated by paths and a maze of narrow passages. You are allowed to hike, bike, climb and camp amongst the 35 million year old rocks.This is a place our grandsons would love! The only hiccup we’ve had, during our visit, was realizing we had a sick dog when we arrived. Fearful she’d been bitten by something or injured chasing a rabbit, we traveled to nearby Silver City, to the wonderful Gila Animal Clinic, where a quick diagnosis was made that Starbaby had a flu like virus complicated by kennel cough. The Vet  ordered plenty of fluids, an antibiotic for her cough and rest. We feel like we are in an incredible place to allow her to recooperate and recover!

One last footnote; We are meeting so many incredible people in our travels but I rarely think to get their picture. I was so glad Rich and Pam agreed to pose for this photo after our paths crossed for the second time at Rock City.

So happy with our Dr.’s report 

Friday, March 30, 2018

First Week in New Mexico

The Land of Enchantment has certainly enchanted us our first week at Elephant Butte State Park and perhaps has provided the  most epic campsite of our travels. It’s our first site where other people in the campground have come by to write down site 18 so they can reserve it next time they come to this park. It sits on a small bluff over looking the lake with a clear view of sunrise and sunset every day. We have loved biking the trail adjacent to the campground, hiking in the Black Range mountains of The Gila National Forest and relaxing at the natural hot springs in nearby Hot Springs, NM.

Learning to ride in sand 

Hot Springs 

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Last Week in Texas

There wasn’t a real rush to get on the road because we only had about 100 miles to go to our final stop in Texas: Davis Mountains State Park. We thought we would only get to stay 3 nights but when we checked in there had been a cancellation so we booked a site for the whole week. There is so much to do in this area so we were pleased with our good luck. The high points of our stay here: Attending a “star party “ at McDonald Observatory (we had a clear night and learned so much) Touring Fort Davis and the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center ( both have beautiful hiking trails and amazing desert plants in bloom  not to mention abundant wildlife). At the nature center we saw four Javelina on our hike there. This state park is a CCC Park which we’ve decided are almost always exceptional places to stay.

Fort Davis 

 Hedgehog Cactus & Texas Laurel

Yucca, Ocotillo & Prickley Pear