Raton to Cimarron Canyon State Park, NM

Raton to Cimarron Canyon State Park, NM

Thursday, July 13, 2006 … 62 Camper Miles – Total 3,280

Sunny, low 90s

This was a morning of doing errands, purchasing groceries and selecting and purchasing a set of compact binoculars. We dropped the camper off at the tire dealer so he could install the tires as soon as they arrived. We got his call just after noon and were finally on the road about 1:00.

We were ready for some green scenery! So, we drove through the town of Cimarron (of Philmont Scout Camp fame) and on to Cimarron Canyon State Park. The relatively flat terrain south of Raton graduallly gave way to hills and pine covered mountains laced with trout fishing streams. We pulled into the western most campsite in the park and were met by the park’s excellent camp hosts, Scott & Carol. It turns out that Scott was a graduate of Lancaster’s McCaskey High School!

Hummingbirds Feed In Cimarron Canyon State Park

This was a small campground, and many of the campers were regulars and knew each other. The area was all about trout fishing. The state stocks the local streams about every ten days so there are plenty of fish to catch … yeah, it seems more like catching than fishing to us, too. Anyway, it was a friendly place and we were happy to be there.

Dinner was another chicken and veggie stir-fry, this time using a new Thai sauce … good stuff!

Cimarron Canyon State Park

Friday, July 14, 2006 … 0 Camper Miles – Total 3,280

Sunny, hot, mid 90s, showers

This area’s “Enchanted Circle” is a fine example of tourism marketing. We drove the circle, really a loop drive using several highways. Several nice towns are on the route but “enchanted”? Maybe not quite. We did have a nice day, though. The circle started with Eagles Nest. There’s a trout-stocked lake that you can pay to fish in and the town is picturesque, though not particularly prosperous looking. Next on the circle, going counter-clockwise is Red River. This is a small ski town with lots of interesting shops, restaurants, condos, hotels and campgrounds. We spent a couple of hours here shopping for gifts and things we probably don’t need.

Next stop: Questa, well not quite. We actually drove through this tiny town to Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Rivers Recreation Area. The Area encompasses the confluence of the Red & Rio Grande Rivers. That confluence is in a canyon and the drive overlooks the canyon. At the end of the drive is a small park with an overlook to the confluence and several trailheads. One of the trailheads begins a rugged 2½ mile hike from the bluff to the confluence. (By rugged we mean that the trail drops 800 ft in the first 0.8 mile.) We climbed down, talked to a few fellow hikers who were really there to fish for trout. On the way back up we were fortunate to get some cloud cover so the hiking wasn’t too bad. Some thunder accompanied the clouds, though, and we were a bit anxious about possible lightning strikes!

View Of 800 Ft Descent To Confluence

Our drive next lead us through Taos which looked like a really nice place. We decided to save it for a later visit since it was getting late in the day. Last stop was in Angel Fire, another budding ski area. It looked nice enough, though small. We headed the last few miles through a lush, beautiful valley, back to the campground.

It turned out to be a cool evening, cool enough to need long pants and fleece jackets. We liked that! We met Diane & Tom who were tenting and who were interested in the Aliner. After the usual camper tour we talked with them for a bit. Since it was late, we settled for a dinner of turkey sandwiches and spinach salad, simple but satisfying!

Cimarron Canyon State Park to Santa Fe Skies Campground, NM

Saturday, July 15, 2006 … 113 Camper Miles – Total 3,393

Bright sunshine, chilly, low 50s in morning, got to mid 90s by mid-afternoon

We pulled up stakes and left the campground about 8:00. First stop, after coffee and cappuccino, was a Vietnam memorial by Dr Victor Westphall in memory of his son, Richard, and others who were killed in the war. The memorial consisted of a chapel and gardens. It was a moving tribute. A bit farther down the road was the Rio Grande Visitor Center. This section of the river is popular for short day trips down the river on rafts … there were lots of them in the water. While there, we met folks from the Millersville area!

Our big stop for the day was at the San Juan Pueblo 35th annual Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Arts & Crafts Fair. That’s a big name for a very popular, large, juried show and sale of Puebloan crafts, mainly of jewelry and pottery. There was lots of fine work on display at, what we thought, were reasonable prices. Sandy just couldn’t resist a nice set of inlaid earrings and a bracelet.

Afterwards, we continued south to Santa Fe and the Santa Fe Skies Campground, slightly south of town. This is a very nice place with easy access to the city, super facilities and very clean. We took much-needed showers and headed downtown to explore. The architecture in the historic areas all looks like adobe in a very small range of earth colors. Even the large municipal parking garage looks like adobe. The whole effect is very pleasing. While we were beginning to look over the old churches, etc., there was a heavy thundershower and we had to take cover. Part of that time we looked over “street vendor’s” wares under the cover of the old Governor’s Palace. Some of the work was pretty nice!

Adobe-Look Shops In Downtown Santa Fe
Even The Municipal Parking Garage Looks Like Adobe

Returning to the campground, we made burgers and a spinach salad for dinner and had a relaxing evening.

Santa Fe Skies Campground

Sunday, July 16, 2006 … 0 Camper Miles – Total 3,393

Bright sunshine, mid 90s, hot!

No doubt about it, Santa Fe is a hot place! It is definitely desert and heats up really fast when the sun rises. On the other hand, it cools down nicely overnight. Bill got up early, found his cappuccino up the road and then spent most of the morning writing. Then we headed back to Santa Fe for brunch at Guadalupe Café along the Old Pecos Trail, one of the streets leading into the historic district. The café was very busy and we wandered around the New Mexico statehouse next door while we waited for a table. The wait was worthwhile as the food was delicious!

Artists Peddle Their Creations At Palace Of The Governors
Historic San Miguel Mission
Mastercrafted Wooden Stairway In Loretto Chapel
Extraodinary Bronze Appears To Flutter In A Breeze

We took in most of the obligatory sightseeing stuff like the San Miguel Mission, the oldest continuously used church in U.S., Loreto Chapel, known for its masterful, unsupported wooden spiral staircase, the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, the Palace of Governors (vendors selling crafts) and several other venues. It turns out that Santa Fe is the second largest art market in the U.S. That market seems to center on Canyon Road. Here, old residences have been turned into very exclusive art studios filled with beautiful art works of all kinds. We spent a couple of hours admiring but not buying. These shops were, for the most part, way beyond our means!

Santa Fe Skies Campground

Monday, July 17, 2006 … 0 Camper Miles – Total 3,393

HOT, mid 90s, breezy

Today, we decided to have a lay-day so Bill could get more work done on the web site while we had access to free WiFi in the campground’s spacious community room. Sandy got a walk in before it got too hot and then did a bunch of errands in town. Predictably, Bill spent the entire day at the computer. Dinner that evening was sandwiches and a salad while sitting outside the laundry room waiting for our clothes to dry.