Good Grief

After a long day of driving, we pulled into a beautiful campsite nestled in the mountains near Alamogordo, New Mexico. Stephen and I were tired but now we had a few days to relax and explore some hiking trails in White Sands National Park.

As I hopped out of the car, swarms of black flies and biting gnats attacked me. Yikes…this was bad.

Then I opened the Vistabule refrigerator and discovered that our bumpy ride had cracked all the eggs. What a mess!

While Stephen swatted the flies, I cleaned the sticky mess and seriously considered packing up.

Then, our camping neighbors dropped by and invited us to dinner.

Thank you Chuck and Jean for saving the day.

The next morning we visited White Sands National Park. I snapped a photo of the park sign and we headed to the nature trail. The sand was milky white and felt so soft but the temperatures were soaring. We had hats and lots of water but quickly realized it was too hot for us to hike any significant distance. It would not be safe and we didn’t want to repeat last year’s hike in the Oregon Sand Dunes.

This is not the day we planned and I’m certain that Stephen bore the brunt of my lousy mood.

When the weather is difficult, our default plan has always been a trip to the local public library. We found one with air conditioning and a comfortable couch.

Too bad the computers and internet crashed as we walked through the door.

Tomorrow we head for Silver City, NM. I hope the flies don’t follow us.

Mesa Verde, Take Two

Last summer we attempted to visit Mesa Verde National Park but wildfire smoke and Covid prevented us from seeing anything. It was a big disappointment… so this summer we decided to circle back for a second look.

Mesa Verde is known for its nine-hundred year old Puebloan communities built into cliffs along a mountain range. I had seen photos of these ancient buildings on the front of our Benchmark atlas and always wanted to visit in person.

Spruce Tree House
Cliff Palace
Sun Temple

Although Mesa Verde was much busier than last year, we had a perfect day to drive through the park and witness these beautiful structures up close.

Stephen and I never set out to visit ancient Puebloan sites but as we were driving south to our next campground we passed by Chimney Rock..a newly designated National Monument near Pagosa Springs, Colorado and decided to explore. It required a lot of climbing but we discovered more interesting buildings and views.

Still smiling after climbing to Chimney Rock

When we crossed the border into New Mexico we saw a point of interest sign for the Santa Rosa de Lima ruins. We expected to see another Puebloan site but instead discovered the remains of a Catholic Church built by Spanish settlers circa 1734. I spotted the picturesque building in the distance and had to stop for a photo. It was beginning to rain and lightning was in the distance but I snapped a few pictures before the thunder began to roar.

Santa Rosa de Lima in Abiquiu, New Mexico

Telluride, Colorado

Over the last two months we have experienced the comforts of our new home and created habits that provide a nice daily rhythm. Early morning walks on desert trails, coffee on the patio and late afternoon swims are just a few examples. I wasn’t quite ready to leave all the comforts but it was time to collect the Vistabule from storage in Colorado.

I dragged my feet up until we departed but the moment we hit the open road, I was excited for the adventure ahead.

Storage in Grand Junction, CO

After picking up our camper in Grand Junction, we drove to Ridgway State Park and dropped the Vistabule. This allowed us to make a day trip to nearby Telluride, a world renowned ski area located in the rugged San Juan mountains.

Ridgway State Park

The drive up the mountain was a doozy with steep drop-offs and narrow switchback roads. I could feel my ears popping as we climbed up to 8,700 feet elevation.

Our first glimpse of the mountains was spectacular.

The drive through town was also lovely and the flower boxes that lined the streets made me feel as if I’d been transported to a European alpine village.

Downtown Telluride, CO

We started our day hiking up a very steep trail that provided a bird’s eye view of the city but once we reached 9,000 feet elevation my head began to spin.

It was time to move back towards the village where the air was not so thin!

After my dizzy spell, we rested on a bench near the river and watched anglers fly fish….

and then we finished the day with a free gondola ride.

It was a perfect day….and even though I am not a fan of cold weather, this is one town I would love to visit in winter.