Last Days at Rock Hound – March 2019

Monday March 25: Not a very interesting day here at Rock Hound New Mexico State Park where we are camped, as far as photos or outings go. We run errands in Deming, including the laundromat. Nice to have clean clothes and groceries. Leftovers for dinner and then we sit out for a bit to watch the sunset even though the sky has been messed up with spraying all day. Nice light on the cacti, however.

Tuesday March 26: It was super windy all night and much of the day, but I managed to sneak in a few shots of the poppies and another wildflower that I see as I walk back and forth from the bathhouse.

Poppies, of course!
Another wildflower

After putting away the clean clothes from yesterday’s outing to the laundromat, I take care of emails, texts with photos, and start reading an interesting book on life-saving foods. How to stay healthy is always of interest to me. Clifford is busy with his projects – ham radio and preparing for the upcoming presentation in Santa Fe. The rest of the day is spent packing up everything from outside that can be put away, as well as much of the inside stuff, as today is our last day here.

In the evening, I go for a walk on the Thunder Egg Trail and catch a few shots of the setting sun. Our stay here has been good, but I am not especially sad to leave it, either.

Thunder Egg Trail
Last light on the mesa
Sunset at Rock Hound

More of Rock Hound – March 2019

Saturday March 23: It is calm this morning, so I walk to the entrance of Rock Hound New Mexico State Park where we are camped, as I saw a nice stand of poppies there. By time I get there, I only get a few shots before the wind starts to blow. Poppies waving about are pretty, but not well-suited for photos.

Poppies wave in the wind

Today we work on more fund-raising campaigns for Carnicom Institute, as well taking care of CI email. I work on another blog and play viola inside, as it is too windy outside. Clifford continues with his preparation for his talk in Santa Fe in April. He also flies his kite with the new tails that he put on it.

Clifford flies his kite

Sunday March 24: This morning, coming back from taking a shower at the bathhouse, I take a detour on the Thunder Egg Trail, going just a short ways to photography some flowers. Kneeling down, wearing my wool poncho and my head still wrapped in a towel, I startle some guy who is going for a hike. But then, when he realizes I am just an ordinary human with my wet hair wrapped in a towel, we have a good conversation about various places we have camped.

After breakfast, Clifford and I continue with the fund-raising campaigns. Once we get a couple more done, we hike the Thunder Egg Trail from one side of the campground, across the face of the mesa, and down to the far side of the campground. It is quite windy, but at least the sky is blue so the photos look pretty good.

Clifford on Thunder Egg Trail
Yucca and prickly pear are abundant along Thunder Egg Trail
Up and up we go
Rugged mesa looms ahead; luckily the trail takes us back to the campground
Poppies along Thunder Egg Trail
Arriving back at our campsite

Back at the campsite, I work on another blog, write in the journal, and try to figure out why I’m not seeing cell photos in the Google Cloud. Technology just leaves me baffled sometimes, actually often! But I sure am grateful for the cell phone allowing me to take and share photos so readily.

Evening at Rock Hound State Park

Rock Hound Days – March 2019

Wednesday March 20: It was super windy all night here at Rock Hound New Mexico State Park, so I didn’t sleep well, and the wind continues throughout the day. After breakfast, we start the accounting for 2018. Once done, we walk to the Visitors Center, just to get out. The Visitors Center is already closed for the day, but a short Nature Trail provides a diversion before we head back to our campsite.

Ocotillo blossom on the Nature Trail

We sit out to watch the sunset before dinner. Viola, email, text, and journal finish out the day.

Thursday March 21: Today is another windy day, but I get photos of the poppies before it gets too bad. After breakfast, we start the 2018 taxes. Mostly Clifford does the taxes, but I am in charge of receipts and check book register and can be called upon to clarify expenses now and then. Mostly I work on the next blog. Once the taxes are done, I take care of email, as well as sending texts with photos to family.

In the afternoon, we start the 2019 accounting. Taking a break, we sit outside to watch the sunset. Soup for dinner, as it is too late to do anything more than that. Clifford watches a documentary on the Civil War, which is extremely depressing and hard to ignore. I keep working on the blog, but this documentary is a very unpleasant way to end the day.

Friday March 22: Today we start working on fund-raising campaigns for Carnicom Institute. These campaigns will form the basis of the prospective changes to the direction of CI and are needed for the presentation that Clifford will be giving in Santa Fe in April.

It is relatively calm this morning, so we decide to make an outing to Spring Creek, just a few miles away in the Florida Mountains, a small but very rugged mountain range in southwest New Mexico. Las Floridas was the name given because of the expanses of California poppies that used to bloom on the lower slopes. Due to changes in climate, fewer poppies bloom in New Mexico, but the name remains.

The rugged Florida Mountains – Las Floridas

We drive up the mountain to the end of the road looking for the Spring Creek trailhead.

Steep ups and downs

There are several picnic tables and shelters at the end of the road, but we are the only ones here. The wind has come up again, so Clifford flies his kite.

Wind is good for kites

Looking at the kiosk map, we see that the trail from here, the Lovers’ Leap Trail, is very steep. The Spring Creek Trail is back down the way we came, but not marked. We eventually find the overgrown road that once led to picnic tables on the mountainside, a road long since abandoned in favor of the current road.

Once a picnic site

Walking along this abandoned road, we find the Spring Creek trail, obviously not used often, along the rocky side of a ravine. It looks like a great place to find rattlesnakes, with hundreds of rocky hiding places. Yikes!

The trail goes up a steep draw to a ridge, and about the time I’m ready to turn back, Clifford, who has gone on ahead, finds the dry creek bed, which leads to a small spring.

Yes, this is the trail with lots of places for rattlesnakes to hide

The water flows out over the rocks in the shade of juniper and scrub oak trees. We find big rocks to sit on and relax in this cool moist spot. Going up was taxing for the cardio-vascular system, going down is hard on the knees, and we stay ever-vigilant for snakes.

Looking back up the trail; staying ever-vigilant for rattlesnakes

Back at camp, it is still early enough to make a trip to Deming for errands. When we return, naps are in order, as it has been a very busy day. Later, Clifford flies his kite in the campground, which is fine until the long tail gets caught in a tall ocotillo. This is not a good thing, but Clifford figures a clever way to get the kite tail out of the thorny bush.

Clifford getting kite tail out of the ocotillo

In the evening, I pick photos for the next blog, send texts with photos, and check Facebook after posting a photo there, while Clifford works on his projects. What a jam-packed day!

Cochise Stronghold to Rock Hound – March 2019

Monday March 18: Beautiful blue sky this morning in southeast Arizona. Kind of sad that we are leaving Cochise Stronghold where we have had a couple weeks of camping in the dispersed area, enjoying the great rocky landscape, the hiking, and playing bluegrass with neighbors who left yesterday.

Blue sky morning at Cochise Stronghold

My brother Rollie is also leaving, and I drive his S10 out of the canyon so he doesn’t have to hook it up to his motor home until we reach the straight and dry road past the creek crossings… much easier for his rig. Rollie is heading to Dallas to visit cousins; Clifford and I are heading to state parks in New Mexico.

Leaving Cochise Stronghold – looking back
Rollie hooking up S10 to Motor Home

Heading east, as we cross the deserts of Arizona and into New Mexico, there are numerous signs warning of sand storms in the area. Not too encouraging, especially since New Mexico has had severe winds recently, even blowing a train off a trestle. We are being quite cautious, watching the weather forecasts, and know today is our best chance to get across this section with only moderate winds.

One thing we are seeing as we drive are expanses of California poppies in bloom. There are not so many in New Mexico and I wasn’t able to get any good shots of the poppies from the suburban at highway speed. Oh well….

Poppies in southeast Arizona – seen from I-10
New Mexico landscape from I-10

At Deming, we go to the Dream Catcher Escapee RV Park. Dry camping is $8.50 per night and we find a spot along the outer edge by some little trees. We run errands in Deming, and then decide to forego the laundromat in favor of having a cup of tea and going to bed early.

Tuesday March 19: We don’t have much to pack up, so are on our way to Rock Hound New Mexico State Park by 10:00. There are only three electric sites left, so we take the one the host recommends, even though I would have preferred a spot on the outer loop. As it turns out, most of the spots are reservation only and within 15 minutes of our arrival, there are no spots left. We are surrounded by RV’s, but at least we have a spot. We need the electricity in order to take care of accounting, taxes, and preparations for the talk that Clifford will be giving in Santa Fe in April.

Lucky to have a spot at Rock Hound State Park

It is a beautiful blue sky day with only a light wind and, happily, I spot poppies here and there all about the campground. Hard to take photos, however, as the bright light reflects off the petals and they wave about in even the slightest breeze. I walk on the Botanical Trail, a pathway out into the desert with only a few signs to identify native vegetation, but a great view of the desert.

The desert landscape at Rock Hound State Park

I send texts and photos to my kids and siblings and hear back from several: Becka is considering a career change and Ang sends photos of the snow nearly obscuring the greenhouse, but veggies growing happily inside. At sunset, I take photos of the light reflecting off the west-facing mesa behind the campground.

Catching the sunset glow on the mesa

We have chicken, rice, quinoa, and spinach for dinner. Since we have electricity for the first time on this trip, we can charge laptops and really get some work done.