Friday, April 30, 2010

Snow in Texas today!

Thought this headline might get your attention. And, no, we’re not kidding! But before we get to that, let me get caught up to today…

On Tuesday (April 27), we went to Sitting Bull Falls. We did a quick “hit and run” cache near the park here and then were on the road about 11 - had a wonderful day! The falls are a federal recreation area within the Lincoln National Forest and are about 40 miles SW of the town of Carlsbad (which is 22 miles south of us). There is a nice picnic area there and it is only a short walk to the falls.

P1020220 Beautiful spot and we had it all to ourselves for awhile. On the way, we visited with the camp host, a single guy about our age who came for a 3 month stint four years ago. He claims he’s a desert rat and loves it there. Here are some pictures and a video from the area below the falls.

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Then we hiked up above the falls where the spring provides the water for the falls on its way through several very deep, very clear pools. John estimated this pool at 6-10 feet deep!

P1020273 This is the view from above the falls overlooking the parking/picnic area.

P1020263 And, of course, can’t have a blog entry without some of my flower pictures!

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There are a couple of remaining structures that were constructed by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) in the late 1930s.P1020281

There was quite a bit of open range on the way in and back from the falls. We enjoyed seeing the cows (we know: been away from Iowa too long!).

P1020284 We "found” our second cache for the day (a virtual cache) here near the falls and then stopped at Brantley Lake State Park on the way home to find another one. Here’s the dam below the lake.

P1020285 I hope this picture is generic enough not to give away exactly where this cache was!P1020287 Love those ears!P1020289

Wednesday (April 28), we did laundry and watched a couple of movies in preparation for heading over to Deming. We got a little bored in the afternoon so took a walk down to the road (about 1/2 mile each way). Boy, pretty exciting life, huh?

Thursday (April 29), we drove up to Artesia for groceries in the morning and then we sat and rocked & rolled here in the motor home for the rest of the day. We had originally planned to leave on Thursday, but high winds started last evening and by the afternoon, we were experiencing steady winds of 30-40 mph with gusts recorded as high as 69 mph in Artesia which is just 12 miles north of us. Yikes! By 4:00 pm, we felt like we had been living on a boat and decided to take a break so we fought our way over to the rec hall for happy hour. It was nice to spend some time in a solid building! We had a nice visit with our tablemates who had just arrived. They lived on their sailboat travelling the eastern seaboard for seven years and finally decided to buy a “land yacht” as they felt they were no longer physically capable of handling a sailboat at sea. They’re experiencing the west for the first time and are headed up to Alaska this summer so, of course, we stayed and visited long after everyone else went home. Not much else of note…

Sooooo, now it’s Friday (April 30). We had thought about moving down to Guadalupe Mountains National Park today, but a call to the ranger there changed our minds. High winds with gusts up to 70 mph were possible in the Guadalupe Mountains today, so we left the rig here and took the car. It does SO much better in high winds! Turns out the winds weren’t that bad, but the temperature was about 45 degrees at the 5,700’ elevation and IT WAS SNOWING! Not huge flakes; more like sleety stuff, but still a 4-letter word!!! Here’s our proof:


P1020317 We enjoyed a short slide show about the park and wandered around their visitor center looking at all the displays. Then we had lunch in the car watching the s**w and viewing Capitan Reef. This park is part of what was once a marine fossil reef some 260-270 million years ago. The high cliffs (Capitan Reef) that we see here today were part of a 400-mile long reef separating a lagoon from a vast sea that covered portions of Texas and New Mexico.

P1020300 After lunch, we stopped at a pull-off to explore the remains of a stagecoach station that was part of the historic Butterfield overland mail route in the mid-1800s.P1020298 Oh, look – flowers here, too!P1020302 P1020303

Just a few miles down the road was the Frijole Ranch History Museum located in the historic Frijole Ranch house.

P1020304P1020305 The museum was small but well-done and gave us a nice overview of what life was like for the early pioneers that lived here.P1020310 P1020313 We would like to return here someday to do some hiking.

After returning home, we attended happy hour again and then removed the sun screens and tire covers in preparation for travelling tomorrow. Whew! No snow here at the park!P1020320And, this is one of two little baby bunnies that we’ve been seeing on the path near our rig – so cute!

P1020318 Tomorrow, we’ll move to Deming, NM for a week or so before we wander up to the Albuquerque area.

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