Beating the heat in New Mexico
Trip Start Mar 04, 2005
253Trip End Dec 31, 2014
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First stop, Carlsbad. We settled into Brantley Lake State Park, located about 12 miles north of town and quite the bargain at $14 a night for water & 50 amp hookups. Most of you know already that given a choice, I will stay at a State/National or COE park every time. It's not that I have anything against commercial campgrounds, I just prefer to have fewer amenities and more nature.
We spent a very enjoyable day at Carlsbad Caverns National Park. We've been here before, years ago on one of our whirlwind vacations. The park offers several ranger guided tours as well as two self-guided tours. We opted to take the self-guided tours. We started outside the cave at an elevation of 4406 feet and walked down through the natural entrance and into the cave. We would eventually end up 755 feet below the surface of the earth - pretty amazing! The self-guided tours are pretty unique, you get to travel at your own pace and take your time soaking in all of natures beauty.
After the Caverns we headed back to the house by way of Sitting Bull Falls. Given that the average day time temps during our stay in New Mexico were right around 100, we didn't think there would be any water at the falls so we didn't bring our suits with us - what a shame! We learned that the falls are spring fed and they run year round. There wasn't alot of water but there was certainly enough flowing to fill several natural pools and the area is a popular swimming hole for the locals.
Our next stop would be Roswell, Home this time would be Bottomless Lakes State Park, New Mexico's first State Park. We chose to ignore the touristy alien related attractions in town and instead headed out for a day on the Billy the Kid Scenic Byway. This byway travels through the towns of Lincoln, Capitan ( site of Capitan National Forest, which is where Smokey the Bear was found as a cub in 1955 ) and Ruidoso. It's a beautiful drive full of history and one that we would highly recommend.
Last stop during our travels in New Mexico would be a commercial campground just north of Raton. We managed to get quite a bit of laundry done here during our overnight stay - it's the chore that never goes away! And enjoyed one last New Mexico sunset. All and all a good week along the backroads in a stark but beautiful part of the country!