A couple days ago we were joined by another friend from the LoW singles group. Hilda Cerday came by and we all went out to dinner and she spent the night, camping in her tent. Yesterday, Sandra and I went to Santa Fe for a fiesta in the plaza. There were many booths of arts and crafts. We had lunch at a rooftop pizzeria. I had the second best pizza I’ve ever had. (The best was in Chicago a number of years ago) We had a canadian bacon and pineapple with green chile on a blue corn crust. Honestly, very good! The local amber ale was also good. We have also taken a walking tour of the historic old town in Las Vegas, NM.
Santa Fe Plaza
We will be leaving soon to go to Coyote Creek State Park, John is already there. Did any of you notice that we wait until John isn’t around before we have pizza and beer? He has just gotten way too healthy for my taste! All kidding aside, he has done great with his 100 lb weight-loss.
Entertainment at the Fiesta
Beautiful buildings in Santa Fe
There is a natural hot springs out side of Las Vegas, NM and it’s free. Sandra and I went out there the other day and it was too hot to get in the water. Fortunately there was a creek nearby, the water was cool but it felt good on that hot day. After I got there, I remembered being there about 5 years ago with Marcia Griffith and Sandi Bianchini. They have made some improvements since then. We also took a tour of Old Fort Union. The fort was the largest military outpost in the southwest during the 1800s. They also had the largest supply depot that served the entire southwest. It was an important commercial stop on the Sante Fe Trail.
Ruins of Fort Union Hospital
Ruins of housing quarters
Six-mule supply wagon
Fort Union cannon
The Santa Fe Trail was an important route from Independence, MO to Mexico for six decades. It was used from the 1820s until the railroad came through in the 1880s.
It was bound to happen. We just couldn’t stand being so ‘disconnected’ from the world. We left Sugarite Canyon a few days early just so we could watch TV, talk on the phone and get on the internet. We loved the solitude of the canyon but we hated the solitude of the canyon. Those of you who really know me will understand that comment. After spending one night in the parking lot of the Raton Kmart, we headed for Storrie Lake State Park. We met up with John Campbell here and have enjoyed a couple walks in the area. We found a hot spring that we will take advantage of shortly. Each campsite at this park has it’s own little shelter which is nice for getting out of the sun. The weather here is perfect: High in the 80’s, low in the 50’s.
Storrie Lake State Park
I have submitted an application to volunteer in the NM State Park System. I won’t probably hear back for this year but I may be spending all my summers in NM Parks from now on. This park is near Las Vegas, NM which is a nice town with a Walmart – what else does a person need? We have TV, phone and 4G internet connection. Because of the drought in NM, the lake is really down so there isn’t any boating going on right now. This week we will go scouting around the area to see the sights. I’m back on the grid so call me or send a message.
- A view of the mountains across the dry lake bed of Storrie Lake
Sandra and I are really ‘some kind of hikers’. We had great plans to tackle the hike to Little Horse Mesa. The night before the hike we discussed it over too much wine. Sandra fell and hurt her wrist and bruised a rib. All the pain I had to deal with the next morning was in my head, literally…..but we hiked anyway. We even made it to the top which was no small feat. You can see from the pictures that some parts of the trail were quite steep. There was a point where we both thought just walking to the trailhead would be enough of a hike, but NO…we ventured on.
It may not look steep, but for 2 elderly, hungover and somewhat injured ladies it is very steep!
Pictures were taken on the way down – no energy on the way up!
Deer in meadow
Little Horse Mesa Trail
Sandra –at one of the steepest points
We were rewarded on a shorter hike by coming across a deer lying in a meadow. We also saw lots of pretty wild flowers.
Sugarite State Park is a very remote park with no phone, TV or internet signal. It is only 6 miles out of Raton, NM but it is in a canyon between two mountains. Every few day, when we drive into town, we can make calls and get messages. We have explored the old coal mining town of Sugarite (pronounced Sugar-eat). It was a booming town from 1912 to 1941 and had 3 coal mines in full swing. The town, at its height, had about 6,000 people. Mining work drew immigrants from 20 different nations. Sandra and I have been doing some hiking and enjoying the nature trails in this area. Sugarite had a major wildfire 2 years ago and there is a lot of burned out forest areas that are just beginning to show new growth. We made one trip to Trinidad, CO to the nearest Walmart but have decided to ‘make do’ with Raton’s Kmart and SuperSaver Food Store. We have definitely hit the jackpot where weather is concerned. It’s not too hot or too cold and no more pouring rains like we had at Eagle Nest.
The view from our campsites at Sugarite
Tree burned from the inside in the 2011 wildfire
Public ovens used to bake bread for the bachelors at Sugarite Mine Camp
Explosive shack at entrance to mine
Ruins of the town as seen from mine entrance
Tomorrow, Sandra and I will be going to Sugarite Canyon State Park, near Raton, NM. We enjoyed the fireworks display put on by the town of Eagle Nest.
John Campbell at the base of Wheeler Peak
The real highlight of the trip was John’s climb to the top of Wheeler Peak. It is the highest peak in NM and John has gotten himself into such great shape and lost so much weight the last 2 years that we all shared in his sense of accomplishment. John is heading for a place where he can get a better internet connection and Barry is headed for Las Cruces to take care of some appointments at the VA. We will probably get back together later this summer. We toured and old mining town near here called Elizabethtown. We will be checking out the ghost town near Sugarite also.
Elizabethtown – old mining town in NM
I t has been nice here but I think we are all ready to get closer to civilization or at least near a Walmart.
We have spent the last week scouting out the areas around Eagle Nest, NM. There are many beautiful mountains and valleys up here. I left Yuma to avoid the summer heat and like they say, “Be careful what you wish for”. It has been down-right cold the last few days. We are getting quite a bit of rain which is nice for the locals and sure decreases the chance of forest fires. This little town is promising a fireworks display for the 4th but I have my doubts.
Viet Nam Veterans Memorial at Angel Fire, NM
We went to the Viet Nam Veteran’s Memorial last week. It is very impressive. It was among the first memorials in this country and is on a peak near Angel Fire, NM. It was built by General Westphal, a WW II vet in honor of his son who died in Viet Nam. They have a beautiful garden and fountain area and a nice visitor center with a lot of the Viet Nam War history.
Viet Nam Veterans Memorial
We also took a drive out in the country to visit a local brewery that is being operated by a man whose great-grandfather homesteaded in the area. The brewery is in the old homestead building. It is very quaint. We were joined by 2 other singles that we know from the LoW Club. Aside from the 4 of us and those 2, there are 2 other singles staying at the same park we are in. All 8 of us may get together to watch the fireworks on the 4th.
Myself, Sandra Carpenter, Lee Horning and Joyce Ford at the brewery.