One of the reasons Paul and I chose our new home was location to nature and our ability to travel. When we finally got programmable heat put into our home we could leave on a short van trip at the end of February. On Day One: we headed south stopping only in Albuquerque to stock up the van with healthy food and a bit of vino.
Right off of Hwy 25, we did a trail run in Sevilleta NWR. It was Sunday so nothing was open and no one was around. Easy, well marked trails with some nice views, birds, and arroyos. Perfect place to stretch our legs.
We ended up sleeping at Elephant Butte, SP. We found a nice spot up high with views of the lake. Very quiet. Day 2: In the morning we ran some trails in the park. The trails are lined with rocks, not too difficult but a bit sandy. It was almost hot so we became sweaty in our shorts and t-shirts. Sweet!
Truth or Consequences: A town with natural hot springs. Both of us were excited to try a hot spring so we chose River Bend. It did not disappoint. River Bend has many pools to soak in located right on the side of the Rio Grande. Lots of birds to watch while in the tubs. At night they put some laser lights on foliage that makes it look like a whole different magical place. The spa was originally a fish hatchery and you can sit in the fish tub still today.
Day 3: we did a short run in ToC which went up to a veterans home on windy trails and back. We enjoyed one more soak before departing. Lunch at our neighbor Deirdre’s suggestion at La Posta in Mesilla was tasty. The place is so colorful, plus birds and piranhas in the lobby are over the top.
We sleep next to mountains at Oliver Lee SP. after a long ride and not altogether pleasant.
Day 4: we have one spectacular run in the Lincoln National Forest. An old train line was turned into hiking trails. The grand view looks out at White Sands in the distance. A waterfall was another stopping point. Driving was also pretty nice in this area.
Next we headed to 3 Rivers Petroglyph Site where we walked around then camped for the night.
Day 5: Early morning White Sands NP run. A bit cold in the early am but as the sun rose in the sky, we were glad to have arrived before all the other people. What a bizarre landscape. Not to hard to run on because the sand was pretty cold and firm in most places. We got a lot of sand in our shoes.
After running we had coffee and breakfast in the van. We then drove to Las Cruces and had lunch from a food truck called Luchador. Full stomachs we headed west to Rock Hound SP. Nice spot nestled in the hills. We sat outside for awhile. I painted some rocks for fun.
Day 6: I explore and collect some rocks in the morning. The park is known for its abundance of agate and quartz crystals. You are allowed to take some home with you. We do a short run on the Spring Canyon Trail. Very steep and impossible to run in some places. We were hoping to see the Ibex that were donated by Iran but we never saw any. Another day for a soak! We camp at Faywood Hot Springs. Peacocks, nude tubs, smells a bit like weed around camp. Rustic in a good way. We find a remote, quiet spot to camp. Beautiful sunsets.
Day 7: Ride our bikes to City of Rocks, SP. Lock them up and do a wide run around the park and up the biggest hill. Cool rock formations and great view of surrounding area up on top. Sleep and soak at Faywood one more night.
Day 8: Drive towards Silver City. Run Dragonfly Loop. Fairly easy trail that winds around to a river and back. Dragonfly petroglyph on a stone plus a few more.
Next we explore Silver City. Check out a new mural with mosaic and tiles going up. Lots of art galleries. Paul buys a piece of art. Chai tea and music at Tranquil Buzz coffee shop. Paul food shops at local Co-op while I look in Space art gallery. Weird, eclectic art.
After resupply we drive up very windy route 13. There are plenty of free national forest camp grounds on the way up. We decide to pay for a view (and bathroom) at the Mesa Camp ground. It over looks Lake Roberts and had only one other camper. We took a short walk to explore. Must be a nice place to cool off in warmer weather. Dinner in the van and another lovely sunset.
Day 9: Wake early and drive to Gila Clif Dwellings National Monument. check the visitor center for trail map and information. Small museum with artifacts and a movie. Hike the loop to the cliff dwellings which was very well maintained. The dwelling is well protected so it is mostly intact. A small village under a rock ceiling with outstanding views and a river below.
Next we decide to do our daily run in the park on Little Bear Canyon Trail. The trail starts out in the open but then changes into a slot canyon opening onto a larger river. Peaceful, majestic, and breathtaking. If god created a church, it would look like this.
After the run we drive back down the mountain and on 180 north. We sleep in NF Cottonwood Campground right off the road. Very dark and quiet.
Day 10: We wake and walk around a bit. Trail goes off from campground and a little stream. On our drive back we stop and see the Very Large Array, a famous astronomical radio observatory. Driving towards hwy 25 we see small towns and a good amount of poverty. Sad. Our daily run was to be simple so we pulled off at Bernardo WR. Mostly dirt roads but there are bird sanctuaries and lookouts. Farm fields surround the area which attract the birds. We drive 60 all the way to 285 which was mostly very pretty. Back at home in Galisteo, New Mexico until next time.