Monday, February 28, 2011

Exploring... Hiking... Winning!

Today we drove up to Ruidoso to get together with friends, James and Laura.  We will be leaving here Tuesday, and this may be our last chance to get together, since we're moving further and further away.
Ruidoso was half way between us, so we met at Mountain of the gods casino (Mescalaro I.R.) for brunch, visiting and games.
When we left here there was wind but it was warm.  We didnt realize we were going to climb to 8800 feet in elevation, and before we knew it it was snowing and 28 degrees!

We all enjoyed the buffet at the Casino's "Gathering of the Nations Buffet".

We enjoyed all sorts of good foods and took our time so we could enjoy it all.

Of course we were at a casino, and had more time to spend together, so it was time to play!  We all played some slots and did quite well.  On one machine I put in a dollar and won 5000!  Ok, so it was a penny machine, but hey... that was $50!  The first machine Jeff played was a dime machine and he won $58!  Before leaving Jeff put $5 in a quarter machine, and cashed out at $15, so as he visited with James and Laura I took that last ticket to the cashier.  Of course I had to walk through mazes of machines to get to the cashier, so I stopped very briefly at a few machines along the way, putting the ticket into them and pulling the handle a few times.  By the time I got to the cashier box the $15 ticket had become $30.  It was a very fun time and when we left we were up $95... which paid for the brunch for the four of us and our fuel to get there!  We left before our friends, and they called later to tell us they came home with an extra $200!

When we left, the sky had cleared but there was a little more snow on the ground and it was still cold there in the mountains.

Saturday, Feb 26

Saturday we attempted the hike up the mountain.  Sadly, I have to say "we attempted".  We made it 2.5 miles of the 2.9 up the mountain.  Jeff could have made it to the cabin, but I was dragging... I just couldnt go any further.  But it turned out to be a good move for both of us.  Coming down is more difficult on Jeffs knee and foot, so by the time we got down he couldn't move.  We felt a little pathetic as we were working our way up the mountian and couples older than us passed us coming down, looking lively and they had hiked to or past the cabin! 

zoomed in on the campground, from part way up mountain

Friday, Feb 25

Friday we walked along the stream and dry wash.  We love to explore, and Jeff can spend hours looking for that unique piece of rock, or fossil or artifact of some sort. 

We did find some interesting things...

And Jeff's most exciting discovery, was an undiscovered "Indian Well".  They have one on display at the visitor center, so we knew what it was, although I dont know that anyone knows for sure what they used them for.  These are deeper than many grinding stones.

This one was filled with dirt and rocks, but somehow Jeff knew it was something.

A proud Mr. Bright for his undiscovered find

On the agenda for today (Monday) is laundry (its been over 3 weeks), and the Space Museum and IMax theatre.  So better get to it!
Hope your day is a good one too!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Just a brief post to share some photos.  We visited the park office/visitor center this morning to find out about the hiking trails.  The trail does go for over 6 miles, but there are views for all of the trail, and the cabin on the mountain is 2.9 miles up the trail.  The cabin is most likely as far as we will hike... maybe. 

We went for a morning walk on a lower trail that leads to and beside a stream... very nice,  but we didnt have the camera for that.

After our morning walk, we went into Alamogordo to look around and get a few groceries.  Alamogordo seems to have all we would ever need in the way of stores, and we found out where the laundromat is, whenever we get around to washing clothes again.

Back at the park, we decided to check out the Dog Canyon Trail.  We knew we wouldn't make it very far this afternoon, but we wanted to get a feel for the trail. 

hard to believe this is really a trail

View of the Campground

This is really a trail?

On our way back down
We hiked up less than 1/2 mile!  But we were told by the camphosts  (who were sitting in the sun watching us hike up the mountain) that the part we hiked was the most difficult part of the trail.  So that is encouraging.  Wind is in the forecast tomorrow so we may not make the hike to the cabin tomorrow, but we will in a day soon.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Moving Day... Really!

Our reservation was up at Brantley Lake SP, and we were very ready to move on.  We had most things put away yesterday, so we were close to ready this morning.  

We had finally made the decision that our next destination would be Oliver Lee Memorial State Park in Alamogordo, New Mexico.  So our drive today took us North on Hwy 285 to Artesia, then West on Hwy 80 through Cloudcroft to Alamogordo.  We had no idea that Hwy 80 would be such a beautiful drive!

This road took us through Desert, Ranches, Forests, Rock Tunnels... We climbed to 8800 ft at Cloudcroft, then down again to under 4000 ft.   Cloudcroft appears to be a small Ski Resort town.

Oliver Lee State Park is 12 miles South of Alamogordo, then 4 miles East on Dog Canyon Rd.  We arrived at 3:30 (it was a slow drive). 

The park has only 16 electric sites, and not very large sites.  There were only three available... one was way too small... one had a broken water faucet, and the other was a "handicap" site.  Since Jeff has a "handicap" permit that hasn't expired from his full knee replacement... we took the handicap site.  Besides being a lot bigger, it isn't really any different than other sites.  We wouldn't normally take one these sites, but what are we to do?  We asked about it, and they gave us the ok!

Our back window view

We are beside the Sacramento Mountains

Our front door View
There is a steep 6 mile trail into the Sacramento Mountains that we will check into tomorrow, but I dont know...

There have been some ground explosions as we sit here tonight... we dont know what they are, but hopefully they wont continue and we can find out what they were or are.  The White Sands Missile Range is only 15 miles away, could it be they are doing something there?  Hmmm.