Just got back from a semi-aborted camping trip. I thought we would be gone four nights--we were gone only two. Came back to a hail storm, so it was a good call to return early.
We left on Thursday afternoon in order to secure a goods site at Sugarite Canyon State Park. I'd read a great write-up in Christina Frain's New Mexico Campgrounds: The Statewide Guide. I'd never been to Sugarite, but Frain said it was one of the prettiest state parks of New Mexico, so we had to go.
It is indeed one of the prettiest. Breath-taking views, great trails, forest, water, mountains, even a ghost town.
As soon as we got there I realized that the camera needed new batteries. Drat! No cool picutres from our trip to share with you.
The best I can do is resort to Google. Here is one from explorenm.com. It is a wide-shot of Soda Pocket Campground, where we camped. It doesn't really convey the majesty of the canyon views, but there are copyrighted photos on the site where I got this un-copyrighted pic, so have a look if you are curious to see what the camping looks like close up.
I also realized that we needn't have worried about securing a good camping spot--this was one of the three "crowded" weeks of the park due to the annual Fishing Derby, and there were still many empty sites.
We hiked three trails while we were there, but it was windy and pretty cold the whole time--heavy frost/ice on our tent when we woke up on Friday morning. It had gotten down to 20-something degrees in the night and didn't reach 65 in the daytime, and the cold wind just blew and blew, making reading, cooking, even sitting difficult. So although we had paid for two nights, we packed up on the afternoon of the second day and headed south toward home.
We stopped by the Maxwell Wildlife Refuge--there is primitive camping allowed there, but again the gale was blowing by the lake, and although we would have seen some great waterfowl, it just wasn't going to be fun to sit unprotected in cold wind. We did see some beautiful deer on the drive in and a very nice assortment of ducks on the lake.
As a last resort before returning home, we drove to Cimarron (home of the haunted St. James Hotel and the Philmont Scout Ranch) and then into the protected Canyon to see if we could snag a spot in Cimarron Canyon State Park. It was late afternoon of a Friday, so we were doubtful.
Jackpot! An amazing site at the Maverick Campground--on the river, with trees and shade and view of high cliffs--and both drinking and toilets just across from our site. No wind, mid-70s--the warmest we'd been in 24 hours.
Again, my camera wasn't working, but this picture I found when I Googled gives a sense of the canyon. Thank you, edboyden.org.
The dog was in high heaven--lots of mud and water and wonderful places to dig.
However, we were pretty dirty at this point--having been frozen, having moved camp, having slept with a muddy dog, having failed to wash/shower for two nights and almost three days. The clouds were getting up and it looked like an afternoon thunderstorm was in the works, so we packed up after lunch and headed home via the scenic route--through Eagle Nest and Angel Fire and Guadalupita. It rained and rainbowed--and hailed soon after we unloaded the car.
So we're home tonight a bit earlier than anticipated.
I managed to send two books into the wild as part of the trip, one at each campground.