Monday, August 21, 2017

Ute Lake State Park | New Mexico

 
Reeds and cattails are growing in this section of the lake.
 
 
This is not a very good photo of my campsite, but it shows how LONG it is - my truck is at the back, and I could put at least one more big truck back there.  It's great for people who bring in boats on trailers, as well as a huge Class A towing a huge trailer.  It's a shame not to have a boat here.
 

 
These people found their own private peninsula for their camping.
 

The park has about 5 entrances, some quite far from the main one, as the lake is 13 miles long.  Only two of the campgrounds have electric hookups.  These are some scenes from the south entrances. 
 

The lake has a very convoluted shoreline and there are many coves to visit - to see the entire lake would require a boat and lots of time.

 
 
When I came here, I had no idea you could get campsites right on the water.
 
 

The little town has it's own draw, they have some old abandoned buildings, like most of these towns do.  There is a decent little grocery store and other establishments.


 
The area is filled with marine places, storage and supplies - this is just the most eye-catching.
 
 
After the monsoon season was almost over, we did have a couple of nice sunsets.  This was after a couple of days with no storms.......
 
 
 

 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Clayton Lake State Park | New Mexico

 
This is Clayton Lake, and to the right are what's left of old cottonwood trees that were alive before they started building the dam. 
 
 
This is the type of land that I drove by to get to Clayton, totally meadow, ranch land and lots of cows.  I was lucky enough to get a couple of photos of antelopes.  I certainly saw more than these, but there are some places you just can't stop for a photo!  I was also lucky to see a couple of cowboys rounding up some of the cows - yes, just like they used to - on horseback!
 


The lake was beautiful, when I could catch it without the monsoon clouds. 




While building the dam here in the 1950s, water washed away some dirt and left ancient dinosaur tracks in the hardened soil.  Supposedly there were multiple varieties here and there are over 500 prints.  It rained the day before, and I think it shows in the photos better with the water.





I thought this was interesting also, dried mud cracks that were petrified under all that top dirt that got washed away.  This was dried puddles along the shoreline of an ancient ocean.


Town is interesting, with some distinctive buildings.....  The library does have a new building.


This looks very much like the "wild west".

This one is interesting, I have no idea what this was when it was inhabited.


Sunsets gave us some pretty color on the scenery.



 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Sugarite Canyon State Park | New Mexico


Sugarite Canyon State Park is outside the town of Raton in northeast New Mexico.  It's really not that far out, but worlds away from the interstate and the town.  It's a canyon, which means on each side of the road, there are mountains that tower over the campsites on both sides of the road.  It's a small park, but I was able to get a site in the overflow parking. This means no hookups, which is fine with me because that means it's free with the yearly park permit, instead of having to pay $4 for the utilities!  Either way, it's a bargain!

Campsites are not on the lake, but the overflow parking area has a wonderful little stream running in back of the sites, so you can hear it when you're outside. 

It's bear country, but I didn't get to see one - probably just as well, since I was thinking on some of my hikes that I really didn't want to see one face to face!  I did see a few deer and a little faun, usually while driving, so I didn't get a good photo.  

A little chipmunk was sitting on a rock by the lake, just staring out at it and chirping every few seconds.  He really didn't worry about me sitting there taking photos of him.


The lakes were beautiful, the smaller one was actually in Colorado, but it wasn't a long hike.....


I liked the larger lake, on the New Mexico side, it seemed more picturesque.....



The hike to the coal mines was interesting, once I was able to find one of the mines.  Of course, they are blocked off now.   


 
This little building was where all the explosives were stored.
 

One of the impressive objects were the hoists that hauled the coal down the steep side of the canyon and then winched the empty cars back up.  I have not seen these at other mines, but possibly they didn't have the steep terrain.


The view from the top where the mines are was great.


From high above the valley, you could see what's left of the foundations of some of the houses.  There was a whole town of homes and other buildings for the miners.


One miner built this oven for his wife so that she could bake bread, which she sold to other families.


An interesting note - the symbol for the mines was the swastika.  Of course, this was before WW II.  Back in the early 1900s, it was a sign of good luck, and I even noticed them on a building in town, trimming the 6 story structure.


Another hike took me to a huge mesa, the views were great!



And then the storms started moving in - this is monsoon season......

 


In the small visitor center of the park, I found this little item.....


And heading into the park, I found this wonderful old barn - I just love these old abandoned buildings.