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.



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