I’m writing this post from the Burro Alley Lounge/Restaurant/Bakery in downtown Santa Fe. I haven’t been able to get online much lately. The campground where we’re parked in Santa National Forest, Black Canyon Campground, is out of range for phone/Internet service. I’ll post pics from our latest travels and Sharon’s daily photos again as soon as we move to a place where we have service again.
We are however getting some work done. Sharon is getting some great new shots for her portfolio and I’ve managed to get some writing done too.
We left Cloudcroft today around noon after getting 3 of Sharon’s framed photos setup in a local store for sale. We’re about 4 hours north of Cloudcroft now outside of Mountainair at Manzano Mountains State Park. It’s a nice spot to hide out for the weekend before we move on to Santa Fe. At least it seems nice so far. At 7000 feet it’s not quite as cool as Cloudcroft but still not bad. It was a pretty uneventful drive here other than going over a speed hump too fast I didn’t see in time. A couple of framed photos hanging in the trailer and a small painting hit the floor. Fortunately, I think I can salvage them though.
The downside is I’m typing this entry on my phone because I’m unable to get WordPress to operate properly on my laptop, due to the slow internet in the area. So that means no daily pics at least until we leave here. No pics at all I guess unless I take them on my phone.
Anyway, I should have a few days with plenty of time to work on my novel and I’ll try the laptop again maybe at an odd time to see if less users helps.
Till next time… Brian
We set out a bit after our breakfast outside at the picnic table this morning for about a 3 mile hike into Cloudcroft, NM. We have only 3 nights left at our beautiful campsite and though we are ready for new surroundings, we are a little sad to be leaving one of our favorite spots. We elected to head into town for a day of wandering around the small downtown to pass the time and maybe have some lunch. It’s actually a fairly easy hike, though in a lifetime of visiting this area I’ve never done this hike or even knew it existed before. The route starts right in the campground area off of NM130 near Cloudcroft. From there we pass through a group camping area into the Pines Campground. Most times before when we’ve been through this group area, it’s been empty. But this time it had a small group of folks setting up for what looked like a family reunion or something. I hate to see people in the area when we hike through because they rent the area out and we always get strange looks as we walk through the group site. But the trail actually goes through there and is public access.
“What are those people doing in here?” I hear a woman whisper.
“A trail goes through here, Honey.” A man answers.
At least someone in the group was aware of the trail. From there, we pass through an unlocked gate to the group area and cross NM130 to the entrance of the Pines Campground. At the back of the Pines, we nearly have to walk through another occupied campsite to get to the other trailhead. The occupants were very friendly as we walked past and through a break in the fence into the wilderness. It would be nice if some of these trailheads were marked better sometimes.
Then, like most of our hikes here in the Lincoln National Forest, the rain started. It was just a light sprinkle at first. Then a bit heavier, until we had to take refuge under a tree and put the cameras into the backpack for protection. I know, the pic above looks nice and sunny. That was taken about 20 minutes before the first thunder was heard and about 22 minutes before the first drop of rain. It went from about 72 degrees to low 60s almost instantly
Anyway, after going the wrong direction, finally figuring out where we were, and avoiding major mud puddles, we emerged cold and wet from what is called the Osha Trail, into Cloudcroft from the north. Of course we headed straight to Burro Street Bakery for a hot cup of coffee. We sat out on the upstairs balcony watching it rain until we headed inside for warmth and ended up discussing fulltime rv living and travel with the owner and another employee for a while.
After some nice conversation and great coffee, we headed across Burro Street to an old favorite, The Western Bar and Café, for some lunch. As usual, we enjoyed great food and great service with good prices. It really hasn’t changed as far as I can tell in the 15 plus years I’ve been going there.
The rain had stopped as we left the restaurant and wandered in and out of shops in the shopping district for a bit. Soon, we came across a wine tasting room, the only one here that I know of. If you know us or follow this blog, you already know we don’t usually pass these up. We sampled a few great New Mexico red wines, compliments of Noisy Water Winery. Our server, Norma, was a great hostess and we’ll return tomorrow in the truck to purchase of a few bottles to hold us over for a while.
After another coffee and more great conversation back at the bakery, we decided to start the walk back home while we still had daylight. Neither of us has any interest in getting caught out in the forest at night.
Here are a few parting shots of the Village of Cloudcroft.
Till next time… Brian
Yesterday we finally got some nice sunny weather to get out and hike one of the trails we like here. We’ve actually done this hike about 3 times now, but it’s one of our favorites. Much of the trail follows the old rail that ran from Alamogordo, NM to Cloudcroft, NM and back. The tracks are all gone but there are bits of coal and old rotten cross ties, as well as a recently restored trestle that can also be seen from US 82 West of Cloudcroft.
The last train ran this route in 1948 and passenger service stopped in 1938. The parking area at the trailhead was very busy and we got one of the last parking spots. Despite that, once we got a couple miles along our near 8 mile hike, we never saw another person. It’s not that we aren’t social, we love being social… sometimes. We just really like hiking alone most of the time.
The Switchback trail we hiked is mostly down hill the first half, but the second half along part of the Old Cloudcroft Highway was all up hill. The elevation change along our route was 950 ft.
I didn’t get a shot of the restored trestle but we’ll go back and get one later if we get a chance, or I’ll find an old pic and post it. All in all, the hike took about 3 hours total. Some areas can be moderately difficult because of the high elevation and long climb on the second half, but the terrain is pretty easy most of the trail.
Till next time… Brian