I'm still in the process of catching up here, so these first few photos are actually from when we were staying at Oliver Lee State Park, outside of Alamogordo.
The area around Alamogordo is a giant closed basin called the Tularosa Basin, covering some 6,500 square miles. One morning, we decided to take a day trip to Sierra Blanca, an incredible 12,000 foot peak (actually, it's only 11,973 feet, but who's counting?)
To get up to Sierra Blanca, we had to drive up to Ruidoso, a lovely trip by car. When we were close, we saw a sign for the Inn of the Mountain Gods. Well, this name was too intriguing for us to let it pass, so we took the turn off to explore.
When we arrived, we found it to be a large and beautiful convention center/hotel/casino. While we've been in the southwest, we've visited many Indian Casinos, but nothing like this. The Inn of the Mountain Gods is in fact a world class resort, built on a serene lake right at the base of Sierra Blanca.
This photo is taken from their sitting area. If you ever visit this area, the Inn of the Mountain Gods is certainly worth a day trip.
From here, we took a meandering country road into Ruidoso, then over some beautiful mountains into Cloudcroft, a mountain resort above Alamogordo that serves as a ski resort and winter getaway for the folks in the desert.
After leaving Cloudcroft, we took a windy mountain road down to the Tularosa Basin seeping out of the mountains. On the way down, as we were descending the 8,000 feet heights, we saw these incredible icicles. We couldn't pass this up, we had to stop and take a few pictures.
This shot shows a tunnel we had to pass through on our way down the mountain.
Those are the photos I had backlogged of that area, so now we skip forward again to Rockhound State Park. While at Rockhound, it seemed we had finally outrun the snow and bitter cold, but there were several mornings where we woke up to a bit of a frost.
I am constantly curious as to what effect the extreme winter weather exerts here in the desert. I have to admit that before arriving here, it never even occurred to me that there was frost and snow in the desert. How ignorant I was of this vast and rich ecological arena!
This shot is pretty simple, just the fencepost outside our rig. I liked the way the ice sat on the rings of the wood.
As the sun rises, the ice quickly evaporates, but if the morning is cold enough, you can watch it hanging on in the shade until the sun totally melts it for the day. While here at Rockhound, we are constantly picking up various rocks and stones, and we decorate the campsite with our finds.
Here's one more shot of some of our rocks before they lose the last of their morning ice.
Right next to Rockhound State Park is another New Mexico State Park called Spring Canyon, which is for day use only. To get there, you have to travel over an amazingly steep hill, but is it ever worth the trip!
I'm not sure exactly what appeals to me in this photo, perhaps it's the curve of the road?
This is a shot we took of Rockhound State Park Campgrounds as viewed from Spring Canyon. You have to click to enlarge the photo, then pan all the way to the right, and you'll see the tiny campground in the corner. Is this gorgeous country or what??
This shot shows the road, going up the hill as you're leaving Spring Canyon.
This last one is for the folks on the Life With A Lazy Daze RV yahoo group, where we often discuss driving motorhomes on mountain grades. Coming out of Spring Canyon is this sign announcing a 17% grade for 2 miles. I'm posting this picture just for the folks on the board.
We'll be leaving our current position at the LOWs park in Deming in a couple of days. Hopefully we will be going back to Rockhound, so maybe there will be more photos of this amazing park.
Here's one last sunset from Rockhound.