Exploring and Creating… on the road. New Mexico and Texas

Dog Canyon

Our First night in our tent was in Dog Canyon in the “ Guadalupe Mtns  National Forest”, located in Texas. However, we had to go into the Lincoln National Forest in New Mexico to get there! WE chose that one because it had a higher elevation than the other site. The best part, besides the beauty of the land, was that we were the only ones there. There was a good reason for that too… the temperature during the day goes up in to the 100’s!! Nobody wants to go hike in that kind of heat. Well… except for a couple of Floridians that don’t know any better. We started on the Tejas Trail in the morning, (apparently not early enough) and by the time we reached the (almost) top we were out of breathe and covered in sweaty dust. The views were worth the trek and seeing the unusual plants and cacti. What a treat! As always, Alfredo christened the mountains with one of his yodals.  On the way up, we say a couple of deer, but I was unable to get my camera up fast enough.

Since it was too hot to stay in camp in the afternoon, we headed into the town of Carlsbad. Not much of a reprieve there either. So, off we went to Wal-Mart to stock up on some ice and wander, slowly,  in the A/C .  On our hour long, 65 mile drive back to camp, we lucked out when we came upon a herd of Elk! They’re not as big as those in the Rockies but pretty impressive, just the same.  Back at camp, we happened upon a leggy jack rabbit rustling in the tall grasses. I had the camera ready this time. According to the resident ranger, Bryan, there are hundreds of them in the desert!  In the mornings, we are awakened to elaborate birdsongs from around 5am. We also discovered that if we stand still under the trees, we get buzzed by the hummingbirds. When they come close to you, they sound like a deep baritone-bass bee!

Our plan to keep cool the next day was to visit Carlsbad Caverns. WE were told by family that it was a must-see. They were right! My camera, or rather my lack of camera skills, didn’t do it justice.  WE decided that we would walk down and take the elevator up. We wandered around the caverns walkways for around 2 hours in awe of the multitude of natural formations. Ready to zip up to the top, we  found out that one of the two elevators was out of commission and there was at least an hour wait. Needless to say, we were walking back up as well. Alfredo took it on as a challenge and I kept at my own pace, taking in deep breaths. I could hear him ahead of me encouraging the other tourists not to give up and to keep a steady pace. I could hear the laughter too and wondered was he was up to! The story I heard later was that he told an older couple that both elevators were out and that once they got down there, they would have to walk back up. He even had a couple of teens corroborate his prank. Since the slow-moving couple were having a hard time going down, he may have spared them a painful return since the lines at the bottom of the cave elevator continued to grow.

Next stop is Abiquiu, New Mexico!