ContentsRearview Mirror - Summary of the past week
Headlights - Our schedule as to where we will be heading
Note: click on any photo for a larger image/slideshow)
Sunday: Guadalupe Mountains National Park
The wind finally settled down and we had a nice view of the Guadalupe Mountains as I took the Pups for a long walk in the chilly air (49 degrees). After breakfast, we broke camp at Van Horn at 9:30 and took a nice and leisurely 63-mile trip north on Highway 54 to Guadalupe Mountains National Park, gently rising to 5,600 feet.
Carlsbad Day Trip
After getting situated, we unhooked the car and drove the 60 miles to Carslbad, New Mexico, for a wonderful lunch of Mexican for Jan and barbecue for me (of course we brought the Kids a treat). Carlsbad Caverns National Park was right on our path, so we pulled into the visitor center and I looked around. It wasn’t hot but we didn’t want to leave the Pups in the car so we were unable to explore the caves--some other trip.
Monday: Oliver Lee Memorial State Park, Alamagorda, New Mexico
Before dawn, Jan and I drove to the Frijole Ranch Trailhead in Guadalupe to hike the 2.3-mile Smith Spring Trail. It was quite chilly at sunrise, but slowly warmed, and at the end of the trek I was ready to shed my jacket. We enjoyed the walk along the stony path, going up and over the hills, and around a pond and by the springs.
Shortly after returning to camp we were packed and heading west on Texas 62. At El Paso we turned north on New Mexico 54 then turned into Oliver Lee Memorial State Park, about 12 miles south of Alamagordo. After getting settled in, we drove to White Sands National Monument, stopped by the Visitor Center, and then took the drive to scope out our photography hike for the next morning.
We can see for miles looking out from our high desert campground. This park is at the very tip of the Chichuahuan Desert in the foothills.
Jan has had quite a time watching the dust devils (baby tornadoes) as they suck and spurt among the cacti and the scrub. At any one time you can see six to ten of these little turbos.
Our camp host is an amateur astronomer of over 40 years, and he was kind enough to share his views of the heavens with Jan and me. Through the viewfinder of his 12-inch reflector, we peeked back into time viewing growing stars and dying nebulae. Just a wonderful experience. Makes me want to consider a new hobby :’>>>
White Sands National Monument
The gates to the Monument don’t open until 7 a.m., so we slept in, leaving BERT at 6:20 to drive the 30-minute journey. Because the morning was chilly, the Pups got to go. Jan and I took the Dune Life Nature Trail hike, and after that, drove through the Monument, stopping several times when we saw something interesting. This is a very interesting and unique park--one I feel most people would really enjoy.
Both Pups love running in the sand and they thoroughly enjoyed being off the leash. Here are a couple of my favorite photos of them.
In the afternoon, the four of us took a day trip to some small towns east of Alamogordo within the Lincoln National Forest.
Wednesday: Sugarite Canyon State Park, Raton, NM
Before dawn I hiked a short trail within walking distance of our campsite. Here are a few shots of desert flowers.
When I returned, Jan already had the Pups on leashes so we took them for a nice stroll/run before getting on NM Highway 54 north at 9:00. Once again, a beautiful day. We finally stopped at another New Mexico state park a few miles outside of Raton, close to the Colorado border.
Jan and I drove five miles across the border into Colorado, pulling into the James M. John State Wildlife Area. Here we hiked by ourselves for a couple of miles around Lake Dorothey.
Capulin Volcano National Monument Day Trip
After stopping back at camp to pick up the Pups, Jan drove us west on Highway 72 to Folsom. Here we turned south on 325 to the Capulin Volcanic National Monument. After spending time at the Monument, we returned back to camp via 64 East and I-25 North. Wonderful trip. Along the way we saw scenic vistas and herds of deer and antelope.
Friday: Colorado Horse Park, Parker, CO
At 7:30 a.m. we got the call from AJ--Kelly and he were heading for the hospital. We quickly packed up and headed up I-25 across the Colorado border and on to Parker. We set up camp at the Colorado Horse Park, 15 minutes from their home. At their place we walked their dog Hanna Pug, dropped off our Pups, and drove to the hospital. Natalie Marie Helman, all eight pounds and two ounces of her, was born at 11 a.m., April 20. One glance and it is obvious that this gorgeous, intelligent young female will grow into a woman of style and grace. Here is a pic of mom and baby. (Anyone interested in our granddaughter can see many more shots [all downloadable] by clicking here.)
Austie and Hanna Pug spent the night with us, and Saturday was quite “active” between walks, games, playgrounds, swimming lessons, car rides, setting up video…. Ended the day wonderfully exhausted. Life is good--very, very good.
Correction: Last week I referenced the dog-car racing book as “Driving in the Rain.” Should have had my coffee first. The correct title is The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein. Sorry about that.
This past week we made the miles fly by while listening to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and podcasts of National Public Radio’s “Car Talk.” Both recommended.
April 23 to May 5: Chatfield State Park, CO (near Denver) to visit family
May 6 - ??: As of now, our plans are to head to Durango and the Four Corners area for a few weeks.
See you next week.