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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Vacationing in the Southwest, Ruidoso, New Mexico to Alpine, Texas

Another entry written while traveling.

There’s a couple of different ways we could get from Ruidoso to Carlsbad, NM, and we opt to take the one that leads south through the mountains of the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation to Cloudcroft (Route 70), and then east and south to Carlsbad (Route 82 to Route 285). A few minutes after we’ve entered the reservation, we see a wild elk.P1000465

A couple minutes after that, we come upon a herd of beautiful horses, one of which was on our side of the fence. Isn’t he gorgeous?
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Mostly we see just the occasional house, dirt road, and herd of cows. After spending an hour or so winding through the low Sacramento mountain range, we come to the town of Cloudcroft (elevation 8,600 feet, population 764), where there’s lots of cross-country skiing, downhill skiing and snowboarding. Cloudcroft is small and remote, and we’d like to stay over, but today we’re trying to cover some ground.

Before we know it, we’ve left the snowy conifer forests and are in the warm desert around Carlsbad, where we’ve planned to spend a few hours in the vast underground caverns.P1000472
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It's dark in the caverns and there's no way my camera could take in the scale of the amazing formations, so if you're not familiar with this area, check out the pictures on the park service’s site, like this one, and others here. Let me put it this way: when we first walked in, I was amazed by the size of the caverns, and then we turned a corner and saw there was far more. It went on like that for a good 20 minutes. Huge!

While we’re walking around the enormous caverns, we come across a park ranger who is doing one of those boring, painstakingly tasks that park rangers always get stuck with. She is cleaning accumulated dust/lint from one of the caverns walls. A vacuum would be too noisy and destructive to the delicate surface, so she wiggles a paint brush in the lint, it sticks to the brush fibers, and she flicks it into a little plastic baggie.P1000563
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Our wireless internet access is getting spotty again, so I'm going to sign off before uploading the photos I took of flowering cacti and the flats of west Texas. They're more interesting than the lint lady pic, I swear. :)

Edited to add Carlsbad links above and the rest of the photos below.

What's above the caverns:


From there we drive through the Guadalupe mountains in west Texas, on our way to visit with D's brother in Alpine:

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Mary said...

I'm so enjoying these posts! I love Santa Fe -- and now know other things to put on the "want to see" list. Hope D has been back at 100 percent for some time now. And yes, Cascade 220 seems to be working well for Trellis, though maybe you should hold off till mine's finished to be sure! I wouldn't have guessed it would match the gauge of All Seasons Cotton without trying it, but it seems to be right on.

2:19 PM  
Anonymous Dipsy D. said...

Oh, what an amazing entry, and I *so* love the photos - thanks for sharing! There's not much more that's better in life than travelling I think, and with reading through your entry and looking at the pics, I felt such an urge of travelling fever coming up to me - if I could, I'd pack my suitcase in an instant and off I'd be to travel! I'd really love to see this particular area one day too, it seems so beautiful!

4:07 AM  

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