I feel so lucky to have traveled through New Mexico. We covered almost all of the state in five days and in that short time, I fell in love with that part of the country. The vastness of the desert gives you a feeling of being open and free. The huge sky is perfectly clear at all times making sunrises and sunsets an extraordinary moment. With nothing else around the state shined bright.
Day 1: We made the 266 mile journey from Midland, Tx to The Lincoln National Forest which is just outside of Cloudcroft, NM. We got there right at dusk which brought out huge bull elks and all their girlfriends. It was so hard to not squeal with excitement to see such large animals up close in their natural habitat. Being outside of the car and hearing them bugle was a different store though! Being pitch black and hearing the elk calling out to each other so close made me nervous but also excited!
That campsite was by far my favorite. Being surrounded by all of the trees, animals and having no cell service allowed me to completely detach and relax. I was surprised there was such a large luscious forest in a state that is know for their desert lands.
Day 2: Morning time came which meant loading up the van and hitting the road! We went into the town of Cloudcroft for a second breakfast and oh it was tasty! Country styled breakfast with hot tea and coffee was exactly what we needed on that cold cold morning. The town was a quaint little ski city. I could picture it being covered in snow, lights strung all across Main Street and people locked arm in arm as they enjoyed the holiday season with their loved ones. It was a place that gave you a happy feeling inside that was filled with love.
I would have loved to spend more time taking it slow there in Cloudcroft and in the Lincoln National Forest.
Continuing the drive north, we stopped at Three Rivers Petroglyph National Park in Tularosa, NM. On this 50 acres of land there are over 21,000 glyphs of of birds, humans, animals, fish, insects and plants, as well as numerous geometric and abstract designs. It was fascinating to look at art in its original place that dates all the way back to 900 AD by some of the first people who lived on American soil. This is one of the few locations in the Southwest that is set aside solely because of its rock art.
That evening we camped at Manzano Mountains State Park in Mountainair, NM. It was a beautiful and well maintained park. Each parking spot came with its own metal picnic table (perfect for outdoor showering), a fire pit and some covered sheltered. It more of a recreation spot than finding a campsite in the middle of nowhere.
When morning came and the sun was slowly rising into the sky, we discovered a beautiful jewel about this park. The paths were covered with crystals! As we took a morning stroll the path shimmered against the morning light. I wanted to stuff as many crystals as I could into mine and my boyfriend’s pockets, but decided to just take one home for a souvenir and leave the others where they belong.
Day 3: Today is the day we make the last leg of our trip north. Our goal was to end up in Albequrque and attend the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta (which we successfully made it to-you can read all about that festival in my previous post). It ended up being a magical event. Not only were the balloons breathtaking, but attending this festival also gave me confidence in a whole other way. It showed me that no matter what my physical abilities are at the time, there is usually always accommodations that can be made so I can enjoy my time at any activity. I have to just be openminded enough to try it and “look different”.
On the way to Albequrque, we stopped at Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument Mountainair, NM. The ruins are from the earliest period of European colonization. Even though the ruins have been abandoned for hundreds of years, the spirits were still alive here. Walking through the halls and into the different rooms you could feel a cold energy move through your body. Stepping on the same ground as many men and women once stood on at the beginning of colonizing America was very moving.
Day 4: The last of our campsites was at Bottomless Lakes State Park in Rosewell, New Mexico, the town where aliens landed. The city was filled with anything and everything alien! Seth was dying to visit the alien museum, but my energy level was hitting a ultimate low. That day it was abnormally hot which did not help my fatigue. The campsite stunk of old sitting water and the mosquitoes were terrible. Once the sun set and our citronella candles began working it became a very enjoyable campsite.
It seemed like we were constantly going and needing to do something I sometimes forgot to just be still on this trip. I almost forgot to look up and enjoy the infinite amount of stars that were overhead. I would have missed a beautiful Milky Way Galaxy.
That night was the only night Kerby woke us up ferociously barking. Seth swears it was aliens trying to invade our van, but I believe it was little raccoon’s enjoying our trash can.
Being on the road everyday was not easy, it definitely took a toll on my body. Each day my fatigue worsened were all I wanted/could do was sleep. But covering almost all of the state of New Mexico was worth it. The landscape… Oh the landscape was so beautiful. It would be desert on one side, then we would drive through a tunnel and it would then be a forest. It was mesmerizing being able to see all of the different ecosystems and to truly admire them. The vegetation was different at every campsite. The air was harder to breath in some, but there were little jack bunnies in them all!
In this thing called adventure we are putting our tiny little lives out in the open for something bigger to show us how to really live. This world is utterly huge and it is easy to forgot how small we really are in it.