A Sure Thing

Trip Start Mar 28, 2013
Trip End Jul 31, 2013

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Where I stayed
Heron Lake State Park

Flag of United States  , New Mexico
Friday, May 24, 2013

We went back and forth about staying in either Albuquerque or Santa Fe.  They are only an hour apart and since we have so many miles to cover we didn't want to stay in both cities.  We decided we would spend half a day in the city we didn't stay in so we could at least see a little bit of it.  
 We loved our time in Albuquerque but after seeing Santa Fe we wished we had much more time there.  It's quite a bit smaller yet seemed to have so much to offer.  Downtown's plaza (a grassy town square) was bustling with activity but also seemed to be a place to just sit and relax too. It is surrounded by unique shops, tons of art gallery's and museums, and great looking restaurants.  There were musicians set up and people were just strolling around or laying on blankets.  It was a great spot to people watch and the day could easily slip away from you.  We did feel it may be better suited to our "empty nest" trip which keeps getting bigger and bigger!

On the highway to Los Ojos we saw a large herd of bison which we haven't seen thus far on the trip.  We pulled over awhile and watched them grazing.  We continued on to Heron Lake State Park where we would be spending Caleb's birthday.  When we asked him what he would like to do on his 10th birthday he said he wanted to fish all day!  We could certainly accommodate that request and Heron Lake would be the perfect spot.  On the way we stopped and bought him a new fishing rod and lures.  We also stocked up on some of his favourite treats.

Heron Lake State Park was a quiet campground that wasn't too busy.  At least until we arrived!  We had some down time just sitting outside while the kids played.  We did the bike trail and noticed a big difference in how quickly we got out of breath because of the altitude.  We were 7200ft above sea level and even the kids noticed the difference.  There was information about altitude sickness at the office but we had been climbing gradually the last few days so we didn't have any problems.  After dinner we drove a few minutes down the road to Heron Dam.  The kids had never seen a dam that large and even though the water level in the lake was down quite a bit it was still quite a sight to see.
There was a lot of literature all over the park about mountain lions being in the area and what to do if you encounter one.  It said not to walk alone in the morning or dusk in the campground, always carry a big stick when you hike, and don't leave small children outside alone. Heard that one before!  Early one morning Aimee opened the trailer door to go outside and definitely heard something in the bushes.  She rushed back in trying to tell Bruce without alarming the kids.  Bruce grabbed the broom (not sure how much help that would be against a mountain lion!) and opened the door to check.  He's scared of snakes but ready to take on the mountain lion!  He saw 2 huge ....... deer having their breakfast on our site!  We all came out and were able to see them before they took off.  We told Caleb they must have come by to wish him a happy birthday!

Around our house (or in this case trailer) when it's your birthday you get to eat and do whatever you want, whenever you want!  You don't have to do any work and everyone is at your beckon call.  Caleb woke up with 10 balloons hanging on his ceiling, just in case he forgot it was his birthday!  We all sang him happy birthday and he opened the cards and presents family had sent and the ones from us.  He dove right into chips and cookies for breakfast and couldn't get out the IPAD fast enough to play games.  After a few more treats and a few more games he decided he was ready to go fishing.  We all headed to the only store in about a 20 mile radius to get some worms and bait.  At the store they told us about Barnes Lake which was 20 minutes away and is right next to a fish hatchery.   Only children, with an adult, senior citizens, and people with disabilities are allowed to fish there.  The hatchery puts fish into the lake regularly once they reach 15 inches.  We were told catching a fish there was "a sure thing" and we should give it a try.  After 4 hours, Aimee and Clare kept busy doing other things too, still no fish!   We watched another family pull out a fish that was at least 25 inches.  Still no luck.  We met a nice man who fishes there often who gave us some suggestions on lures to try and even shared some of the bait he was using.  He caught a 12 inch rainbow trout and knowing it was Caleb's birthday and probably feeling sorry for us gave Caleb his fish.  Very kind!  We fried it up for dinner that night along with corn dogs, Caleb's choice!  Caleb also picked donuts instead of a cake so we put candles in a donut for him and sang happy birthday again!
 Caleb and Bruce decided after dinner to head back to the lake to have another try.  3 hours later they returned exasperated and without a fish.  Caleb said it was as if the fish were taunting them, jumping out of the water constantly but they only got a few nibbles.  Caleb took it all in stride and ate some more treats, had some more screen time then finally headed to bed at the same time as us at 11pm.  He said he still had a great birthday even though the fish "weren't a sure thing"!
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Lisa Clow-Simons on

I am so glad Jo told me about your blog! I am so enjoying reading it and glad you are having a great time! Happy belated birthday Caleb - hard to believe you are 10 already! Seems like just yesterday he was born!

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