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 you’re 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 pollution 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.
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.
Thanks for stopping by! Hugs, Shawna