Hopewell Lake

July 29th continued. Beyond Earthship and past the Rio Grande Bridge we continue along Hwy 64 coming back into the Carson National Forest and into the trees and green meadows again. It’s beautiful here. I get out in several places to photograph the scenery: Old buildings, beautiful green meadows, and the afternoon storm clouds gathering.

It isn’t long before the bruised and angry looking clouds begin dropping, a few fat tears. I begin looking in earnest for a place to stop. DSC_0027

Rounding a corner among the tall pines I spot a Carson National Forest sign for Hopewell Campground. It’s off to the left and I gladly turn onto the road. It’s not far to the campground, and I speak with the host who gives us directions to a shaded site. Turns out it isn’t quite the shady spot I had in mind, and is rather out in the open. Thunder is rolling. I feel too exposed here.

As more thunder rolls I decide to move, and we head around the hard packed dirt road searching for a better camp site. We’re heading around the bend, Boys Not around the bend as in nuts, but maybe that’s true, too, but around the bend in the road. Ha! I find a site I feel much more comfortable with, and we settle in to wait out the storm before making camp.  We have this guy watching over us. DSC_0034 (2)

We spend a couple of nights here. The days are warm and the nights cool. And the view!! MissAdventure is backed right up to the table, doors thrown wide, and as I look out the back I see a gorgeous green meadow strewn with many different kinds and colors of wildflowers backed by stately pines and aspen trees whose leaves are dancing in the breeze. It is truly breathtaking, the prettiest high mountain meadow I have ever seen.

DSC_0036DSC_0044 (1)Aspen Trunks and flowers

DSC_0049 (1)MissAdventure, Our Camp At Hopewell Lake Forest Service Natil CG

This forest service campground offering vault toilets, water, tables, fire rings, good dirt road, gorgeous scenery, and peace and quiet is $16 per night, $8 with senior pass.

Thanks for stopping by 2DogsTravel.  Hugs, Shawna

DSC_001 (3)Hopewell Lake
Hopewell Lake

Dawson Cemetery II

I found some of my photographs! I had done exactly what I thought I had done, inadvertantly dragging a folder into another folder tagged for deletion after moving from my hard drive to a flash drive. Although my photo program gives a warning that deletions will permanently remove files from the hard drive I found the files in the trash. WHEW! What a wonderful discovery. I am still missing photos of two additional NM state parks, a national monument and a national park—both focused on ancient ruins—but I still have many files to go through.
So, I would like to get a bit out of order and add these photos of my trip to Dawson Cemetery. The snake photograph is a once-in-a-lifetime shot for me, so am very happy to be able to share it with you. The large herd of elk was a thrill to see.

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Earthship Biotecture

It’s about 40 miles, give or take, to Taos along a mountainous two lane narrow highway that twists this way and that. I can see where a semi going a little too fast could lose it on this road. Nonetheless, it’s a beautiful drive especially once you are over the mountain and reach the canyon bottom. It’s green, green, green, with beautiful pines and lush grass along the road.

Old buildings become visible as we get closer to town, I spy a campground along the creek and make a mental note in case we come this way again. Today, we’re out of ice and need food stuff so it won’t be here we camp tonight.

I  looked up the address for Walmart before we left Coyote Creek. Once we arrive I notice it’s a rather small store even though it has the Super Center logo. I have my list and off I go leaving the Chiweenie Brothers in the van. They never like this, but gosh they should be used to it by now!! Nope. They howl like they’re being abandoned forever. Sheesh.

Once inside I can’t find half of what is on my list and it suddenly dawns on me that there is no fresh food in this store! No fresh vegetables, no fresh meat. They have frozen stuff, but nothing fresh. And no water dispenser either. I get what I can, along with some ice and head back to the van. I feel lucky they had ice!

I plug our probable destination into the GPS just to get us going in the correct direction, and it takes us to a different part of town where I spot about three other grocery stores which, no doubt, have fresh stuff!! Having bought things at Wally to “make do” I bypass these markets and we head out of town. Along the way I stop at an obvious tourist trap section with pottery and the like. I spot a metal goat sculpture that I fall in love with, but settle for taking its picture rather than making a purchase.

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The scenery beyond Taos is nothing to brag about. It’s pretty much boring high desert. UNTIL we come to Earthship Biotecture. What in the world is this? Funny houses in odd shapes, weird windows, and an all around general feel of fairies living here has me searching for a place to pull over. Turns out it’s a subdivision for earth friendly, self-sufficient, minimal impact on resources, ect. homes. Odd, individual family homes some half buried in the earth to conserve energy, solar panels, wind power, upcycled materials.  Really interesting.  Read more about it HERE

Farther on we cross the Rio Grande Canyon. It’s just a bridge across the Rio Grande River, but it’s impressive in height and scope.

We head west ong Hwy 64 and start pulling out of the high desert and once again enter the Carson National Forest.  Some beautiful meadows with old buildings and thunderclouds again beginning to gather.

Thanks for coming along on our adventures. Hugs, Shawna

CURRENT READ: The Last Boleyn by Karen Harper. Very good accurate historical fiction. Researched well.

Best Laid Plans

July 25th. Goodbye Cimarron Canyon. We’re up before dawn and heading west along Hwy 64 as the first pale rays of the sun pierce the morning sky. Looking forward to heading Taos way, I enjoy freshly brewed coffee that was the only thing I did before we headed out. We make a stop just before we leave the park, and I feed the Boys and take them for their morning walk while enjoying the rising sun casting a warm golden glow on the Palisade Sills.

We continue on Hwy 64 taking the lower route of New Mexico’s Enchanted Circle that will take us up to Taos. I stop and photograph the lush carpet of lupine and another unknown wildflower that is along the road.

I barely notice that there appears to be someone about a quarter mile up the road standing in the middle of it. One sees all kinds of weird things.

Done with the camera I hop back in the van and drive up the road. Yep, there’s someone in the middle of the road. Stopping traffic. With only one car ahead of me I soon find out that the highway is closed due to a big rig having turned over on one of the curves. He is not sure when it will reopen, but certainly not until late afternoon at the soonest.

We turn around and head to Angel Fire where I find the library. It has good internet signal out in the parking lot so I catch up on blog posts and get a couple scheduled before the Boys get restless. A gentleman is making a call outside his vehicle, and I hear him tell someone that ‘he won’t make the meeting’ as the highway will be closed until tomorrow. Alrighty then, let’s go get the laundry done guys!

Once I have the laundry washed and partially dry, the blue sky is studded with thunderheads. I grab a couple of shots of the ski run that can be seen from most places in this swanky little village. DSC_0114 (1)Angel Fire Ski Run

DSC_0115 (1)Angel Fire NM Welcomes You

Where we gonna stay tonight Boys? What say we head back out to Coyote Creek State Park? We may luck out and find a spot out there this time, and I’d like to be somewhere before this storm hits. We’ll be there before the big thunder rolls don’t worry. It’s only 17 miles.

Coming up to that 3 mile narrow paved goat trail we make it without meeting any vehicles, and we don’t get hit by lightning. 🙂 We arrive at Coyote Creek State Park. I drive clear to the back and even up into the “Forest Area, additional campsites” which no one in their right mind would stay in. Yes, it is that bad. Not a level site to be found in any of the five or so spots, and getting into any one of them is a nightmare: No place to easily turnaround, rutted road, tight corners, if you need to back in you have to do it backing up hill. As we are jockeying around trying to turnaround, some poor couple pull up towing a trailer.  The main part of Coyote Creek State Park has lovely sites and good dirt road.

We motor back down to the entrance I find the camp host and ask if there are any open spots with shade. There is, but it’s right in the circle where those who need electricity line up like cord wood. It looks to me like the spot blocks the road, but camp host says to take my pick of the two spots there. Not ideal, but I am not fond of the idea of going back to the national forest road where we could probably find a boondocking spot, but the mere thought of traveling along that ridge in another lightning storm makes my stomach churn. We’re staying here guys.

I barely get the Chiweenie Brothers out for a short walk and back in the van when BOOM! BOOM! Boom-boom-boom-boom-boom pierces the air like artillery fire. The storm is here and it’s vicious. Fries wants under the covers of the bed, and I let him in while I start rubbing his side and back with small circular motions, never taking my hand off of him. This was the technique I used, called T Touch, to get him used to thunderstorms to begin with, and after a bit I can feel him relax even as the storm drops buckets of water, bolts of lightning light up the sky, and the thunder continues to roll. As has been seen elsewhere, the temperature drops about 20 degrees.

We end up staying here for several days, attend a flag lowering ceremony put on by the Boy Scouts to show support, and take long walks to the back of the park and back again, sometimes twice day.

Friday morning, coffee in hand I pour over the map making note of the roads that lead out of Taos trying to decide where we should go from there. I have a good idea of where we will head, but the final decision will be made once we get to Taos and do our supply shopping. Taking the last swig of my now cold coffee, I make a face, grab the leashes, and take the Boys for their morning walkabout. That done, we motor out of Coyote Creek, taking Hwy 434 back to Angel Fire and head up Hwy 64 where we begin to climb and twist and turn along the snakey mountainous highway.

Coyote Creek State Park is known for its good fishing. There is a large group site here, a small area with electrical hookups, but you’re packed in as you would be in a commercial campground. Showers, water, garbage, and a dump station are available. A few sites scattered about have shade shelters, most have picnic tables. The roads around the park are dirt, but nice and smooth and there’s no dust.

Thanks for joining us! Hugs, Shawna

Goodbye Sugarite, Hello Again Cimarron

July 24th. We leave the beautiful Sugarite Canyon. This park is up near the Colorado border and there are no roads heading from here back west; we must drive back along Hwy 64. I don’t want to travel east even though there is another state park about 80 miles from here—and one I would like to see—but the elevation drops, and I don’t want to get down into the heat. Perhaps another trip. My park pass is good through May of 2020, so ….

It’s a lovely soft morning of summer, blue sky and cool morning air. Enjoying the drive and keeping an eye out for things to stop and enjoy I notice a horse and a very shaggy old donkey next to a ramshackle barn. Of course I have to stop! DSC_0109 (1)

The Boys don’t quite know what to think of this woolly little creature standing perfectly still and content while I snap his photo. Llamas are the next attraction, a bit far away for a good shot, but I try anyway. DSC_0108 (1)

We end up back at Maverick Campground in Cimarron Canyon State Park and are blessed with the shady spot!! The camp host here welcomes us and says she had kind of promised the spot to someone, but there were other sites they could go to and we could stay as long as we. liked. Not sure what that was about because this spot isn’t a reserved site so they can’t hold it. I soon find out.

It’s not long before the neighbor on the right wanders over. Friendly small guy with a bit of an accent who practically tells me his life story before he gets around to why he is really here talking to me. His wife plays the dulcimer, and they come to this campground every year at this time from Texas to attend a dulcimer festival in Red River NM. It’s well attended he tells me, and this is the closest they can get as sites closer are always full.

Their group has made this “their” campground. All this said in a very friendly conversational way. I smile and think to myself, I get it buddy, but I’m here for the night. Rest assured I will be leaving in the morning.

Thanks for stopping by! Hugs, Shawna

NOTE:  I have reclaimed some of the lost photos PTL! The Cloud warned if I delete any photos, which I did after uploading to a thumb drive, they are permanently deleted from the hard drive.  Wellll, I found some of the photos. I had indeed moved them to a folder to be deleted. All the photos that I had transferred and then deleted were in the trash.  Still missing some, but am going through each and every folder in the trash before I empty it.   Hopefully Azetec Ruins and Mesa Verde National Park will show up as well. 

Here are a few photos of Cimarron Canyon State Park

Sugarite Canyon State Park, NM

July 17th, Sugarite Canyon has two tiers. One is along the creek that flows along the bottom of the canyon and into Alice Lake, the other is up on the mountain.

We cruise through the tiny lower tier and there is nothing available. Although tiny and crowded there are rows of shrubs and trees that keep each small site private. This is very appealing.
The upper tier has two campgrounds, Gambel Oaks, a group site, and Salt Pocket, a large area with many campsites. Each has a gravel parking pad, sunshade over a picnic table on a concrete pad, fire ring, and a bear box. Water and vault toilets are nearby.
Everyone must keep food, cosmetics, and anything else that may be enticing to a roaming bear, inside the box. The ranger talked to more than one person just in our area about not putting their foodstuff away. A bear entered two campsites last week and they are taking no chances. New Mexico doesn’t remove and rehome a wayward bear. If they cause any problems other than just walking through they are not given three chances. It’s two times and your out, as in euthanized.

Sugarite has several hiking trails, all with at least some uphill climbing involved. The one we walk every morning isn’t too bad. I am not interested in the one that is several miles long that goes to a high mountain lake. Vista Grande Trail is at the upper end of the park and each morning the Boys and I head out, rambling through the campground and onto Vista Grande where I look for wildflowers to photograph. I got several new ones here.

The vista around the campground isn’t too shabby.

Monsoon season has begun here in earnest. Almost every afternoon we get a thunder and lightning show. Moisture ranges from a few fat drops to a downright deluge, the temperature dropping 15 to 20 degrees. The days are warm, the nights cool and perfect for sleeping.

Pat, a roving ranger came up during one evening here at Sugarite and gave a wonderful talk about the night sky. She brought in an 8” diameter telescope and we took turns looking at Jupiter with it’s distinctive belt, and Saturn with it’s rings. Did you know New Mexico, due to it’s lower population and less light polution along with fewer big cities, has some of the darkest skies in the nation? Perfect for stargazing.

July 20. It’s early morning, around 5:30 and The Chiweenie Brothers go beserk. The berserk kind of bark that says, ‘MOM! There’s something out there. You HAVE to get up! NOW.’  Pulling my eyes open as best I can I sit up and look at my Boys. They couldn’t be any more excited, and I wonder what in the world …  Looking out the open back doors I see a big black shape ambling along the bush line about 150 feet from us. Big. Black. Bear. She pays no attention at all to the little dogs barking their heads off, she just keeps ambling along head to the ground, and eventually wanders out of sight. The Boys keep barking essentially asking if they can go get ’em. Nope, no way guys. You’re not bothering her! Well, that was exciting!!
July 23rd. It’s time to move on. I hate leaving our shady site, and will miss our daily walks along the Vista Grande Trail, but we need supplies and ice and I’ve already made a couple of trips to town from this camp.

DSC_0077 (1)cliff clouds yellow flowers, a favorite

Sugarite is only 15 miles from the Colorado border and there are roads up into Colorado but really no other way to go but back west along Hwy 64. It’s about 100 miles back to Cimarron and that’s enough driving for one day so Cimarron here we come.

DSC_0002 (2)Outcrop of Rock in Sugarite Canyon SP
Thanks for stopping by! Hugs, Shawna

Dawson Cemetery

It’s a beautiful cloudless morning when we pull out of Maverick Campground in Cimarron State Park. Heading east on Hwy 64 the plan is to stop at Dawson Cemetery, near the little town of Cimarron, New Mexico. It’s an old mining town. It’s dirt road, but it’s decent dirt road, and we drive the 7 or so miles in taking it nice and easy, just enjoying the drive. Charlie has his head out the passenger window and Fries is doing his thing with front feet on the dash and back legs planted on the passenger platform—the dog seat if you will.
Nothing left of the town that I can see except for a couple of old buildings.

We soon arrive at the cemetery and walk up to the bill-board type memorial board and read about the many Italian coal miners (and those of other nationalities) who died in two separate explosions at Dawson, New Mexico’s biggest mine in the 1920s.

I’d stay here tonight if there was some shade but there is just the dirt parking area, no trees. We head back out toward highway 64. I spot this big guy, bigger around than my forearm crawling across the road. Its head is triangular and looks like a rattler, but there are no rattles on the tail. Unfortunately I was obsessed with getting the head up close as I safely could, and didn’t get the whole snake in the shot. In any case, we’ll just let him crawl across the road and continue on with his snakey business. You’ll have to use your imagination, these photos, too, lost forever.

Pulling my gaze away from the distant mountains and marveling at how green everything is we stop to watch these guys cross the road in what seems like an unending line.  There must be 200 animals in this herd. I have never seen so many elk in one spot before! What a gift to witness this!

See photos of  Dawson Cemetery HERE

We gain Raton, NM and I find the library with the intentions of getting some posts scheduled. I work at it a bit, but soon, even with the windshield shade in place it becomes too hot. The boys are panting and circling trying to get comfortable. “I know babies, I’m hot too. Let me get this machine shut down then I’ll take you to McDonalds for a treat, ‘K?”
Tummies full we jump on I-25N and catch Hwy 72 to our next campsite. See you there!

Hugs, Shawna