Sunday, March 25, 2012

Lakes in New Mexico

On the way to Santa Fe, we stopped at a couple of state parks. The first was Bottomless Lakes, near Roswell. Bottomless Lakes State Park is the first state park created in NM., It is located along the Pecos River. The  name comes from the fact that there are nine small, deep lakes in this area. One is 90 feet deep. As there has been a draught the last few years, some of the lakes look almost dried up. However, the lakes, or sinkholes, are still deep. Even if there was a lot of rain, the surrounding area around these small lakes would still only be a few feet deep. The campground is nice right by Lea Lake with colorful cliffs on one side. This is the largest lake and the only one where you can swim. We took one of the reservation spots that was open for one night and looks out at the lake.


We haven't had any problems not having our official NM pass when registering. However, we did find out that our mailing service had received the pass and sent it to a post office here in Roswell. So we went into town and picked it up and WE are now official with our annual pass stickers on both the MH and the Jeep. Roswell was the location of a possible UFO incident in 1947 where an alien ship was suppose to have crashed but was covered up by the government. Weather that was true or not, the town has taken advantage of it and there is an UFO Museum and little green men stationed in front of a number of stores in town. We didn't go to the museum. Next time we pass through here, we'll have to stop there. We stayed one more day in a different spot and then headed to another state park near a lake, Santa Rosa Lake State Park. The park is by a reservoir and is a way outside of the town of Santa Rosa and so seems quite remote. The elevation of the park is between 4200 and 5,000 feet and is high desert with juniper  and pinon trees, which is a change from the low desert with smaller trees and cactus which we have been seeing for the last little while. There was only one loop open at this time as the season doesn't really get going until May when weather is better and the lake comes alive with various types of boats and lots of people. We were lucky in that the weather was actually quite nice. In fact one day was pretty hot. We were close to putting on the air conditioner We didn't have anyone in sites near us and so was very peaceful sitting outside enjoying the scenery and good weather.

. Part of it ends above the water line. Santa Rosa is known as the city of natural lakes and is in the  upper Pecos River valley in Guadalupe County where numerous natural artesian-spring lakes abound. Blue Hole is known for its crystal-clear water and attracts scuba divers. Santa Rosa Lake is the largest lake and is man made. We drove down to the boat launch area. Drought has hit here too and the lake is really low. It looks like they had to add a section of the ramp on one side for boats to get through


It is still very pretty and a lovely spot to spend a few days.

We went into town and stopped for lunch at an appropriately named restaurant which is on, of course, the historic Route 66. It is a cute diner with friendly service and pretty good food


Next stop is Santa Fe, which is a town we have been to a few times and really enjoy.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Brantley Lake and the Caverns

Our next spot was Brantley Lake, which we had been to a few years back. We settled in a nice electric site with great view of the lake.Not such great weather though. We knew that winds and cold weather were in store and the weather people were, unfortunately, correct. We even had to pull in the slides part of the first few days as the wind was blowing so hard. Well, with bad weather, we headed for Walmart for some shopping, which included the new ipad that just came out. We had been thinking of getting one for awhile and had decided to wait until the new one came out So far, we really like it. I am still blogging on my computer, at least for now. It looks like I need to down load some apps in order to blog easily on the ipad.

 Like last time we were here, we decided to go to the Carlsbad Caverns, which is about an hour drive from the campground. Carlsbad Caverns National Park is in the Guadalupe Mountains and the drive up the Walnut Canyon Desert Drive goes through some dramatic desert views . There are a number of trails. However, the Caverns are the star attraction there. The Caverns began 250 million years ago. Over 500,000 years ago is when the "decorations", which make the caves so special, started forming. The cave was literally created and decorated, drop by drop and continues to change, slowly over the years. There are 3 tours to explore the hugh caves. One is the natural entrance route, which is self guided(you can buy a tape and there are numbers areas in the cave where you can stop and listen to information on that area of the cave). You walk down 750 feet into the earth and descend down some steep and narrow pathways. This is the way people originally accessed the caves. It is about a mile and takes about 1 1/2 hours.We took that way last time we were here.  There is also a Kings Palace tour, also a mile around that room and ranger guided and another self guided tour in the Big Room, which is the one we took this time. On the other tour we took, you walk down but tale an elevator back up. The tour this time is by elevator both down and back up. This way, you have more time to explore the Big Room, which is 8.2 acres and about a mile in a circular route The place is just amazing. I'll let the pictures tell the story



Saturday, March 17, 2012

Sands of Time

One of the wonders of the world is White Sands National Monument. The famous dunes encompass 275 square miles of desert and is the world's largest gypsum dunefield. . The pure gypsum that forms these unusual dunes originate from an ephemeral lake or playa with a very high mineral content. As the water evaporate, the minerals are left behind to form gypsum deposits that eventually are wind-transported to form these white sand dunes.
We first stopped at the very nice Visitor Center. As we started driving through the park, we remarked it was like driving through the mountains after a snowfall.                     

Some species of plants can survive burial by a moving dune by a process called "stem elongation." As the sand rises, the plants quickly grow upward to keep their leaves above the rising sand .

           There is plenty to do here, hiking trails and guided tours, including a sunset tour every night. Also one area looks like a day at the beach without water. There are groups of people picnicking with kids sliding and surfing down the dunes.

   New Mexico's parks seem very pet friendly and Savannah was able to go into the park and on trails as well. It was pretty warm today and below is picture of her taking a water break.


A fascinating place and we enjoyed ourselves very much.  Our timing was good as the next day was windy and wouldn't have been much fun with sand blowing everywhere. Sunday we leave for Brantley Lake, the next leg of our New Mexico adventure.                                                                                                   

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Oliver Lee Memorial State Park

Oliver Lee Memorial State Park is another great desert park. It has a wide selection of plants and spectacular views from all the sites. They have a nice visitor center, a cactus garden and a few nice trails, including the  Dog Canyon National Recreational Trail into the adjacent Lincoln National Forest. From our site, we can see the Sacramento Mountains which the campground is right up against and views of White Sands and the San Andreas and Organ Mountains in the distance the other way.


While we were there, the Turks Head Cactus was in bloom. Beautiful plant.


The campground is only about 12 miles from the town of Alamogordo and we did some grocery shopping while there. Friday we are going to go to White Sands, which is the main reason we wanted to stay in the area.