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