Wednesday, December 30, 2015


Well the bad weather and snow found us. We ended up leaving Carlsbad a day early because the storm was supposed to drop enough snow there that we might have had a hard time getting on the road.

We did however still get snow in Las Cruces, NM.
I think we got about 6-8 inches and some very cold temperatures. The campground dog park was completely flooded and became an ice rink!

The days ended up getting warmer and there was a lot of melting and messy snow.

We had a small flood in the trailer too, but it wasn't too bad. Poor Tucker I wonder what he though was going on.
We took a drive up to sunny and warm White Sands to see the white sands.

Sure enough people were sledding on the sand as if it was snow, they could have just stayed in Las Cruces and sledded on real snow!

White Sands is pretty cool and we did a hike around the dunes which is a lot like walking on the beach.

At the same time jet fighters are cruising the skys from the air force base.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas in Carlsbad!

It is chilly here in Carlsbad but we took Tucker downtown to the dog park and then for a long walk around the river.

After that we setup for a nice late lunch. Starting with some salmon dip and triscuits.
Will brought with us an expensive bottle of wine (> 100$) that a client paid his firm with.

We also made delicious steak for dinner to go with the wine.

It was pretty yummy even if the last two steaks we had left from our 1/2 cow weren't really grilling steaks. We should have cooked them a different way as they weren't as tender as the could have been.
After dinner we went into Puzzle mode to work on our 1000 piece puzzle I had bought at Mammoth Cave.
It was a lot harder than it looked on the package! It too many hours to complete.

As you can see below it was a pretty amazing puzzle comprised of many different Retro National Park Logos.

Tucker got a giant rawhide bone to snack on!

While we had Chocolate Pecan Pie, Gingerbread and Ice Cream!

The next day Tucker managed to help himself to the remain Pecan Pie!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Carlsbad Area Part 1

We are camping at a great state park in Carlsbad the sites are big and there is a lake and a nice walking trail. For Tucker it is tortue as there are bunnies and jack rabbits EVERYWHERE!

One side trip from here was up to Roswell NM to visit the UFO museum. The museum is a bit cheesy and actually a little sad compared to all the TV shows on aliens we've seen before.

The research library is crazy though, thousands of books and reports.
Map of the crash and debris sites, they aren't all that close to Roswell downton and you have to trespass to try and visit them.
Seriously there are lots of crazy documents.

Funny story I almost skipped the research library but the main bathroom was closed so I had to use the library bathroom.
Another side trip was to Mammoth Cave National Park. Amazing you get to visit it without a tour. It is a long long walk and because of the off-season repairs the elevator is closed.

So we had to walk it both up and down and it was a long hike.

There were lots of people walking down I am pretty sure were going to be there all day trying to get back out.
Not as fancy as the previous cave we toured but much much bigger. Over 400 miles of mapped passages and very very large rooms.

We are going to have Chrismas here in Carlsbad and went shopping for groceries where I saw these, I am not sure how you cook them but they seem to be hams with odd fruit sauce sealed in plastic.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Rest of the week in Big Bend!

We spent a few more days in Big Bend and had a great time. One day we did some off-road driving out to an old ruins of a ranch and a hike around some rocks.

Another day we did another hike in the Basin you can see from the panorama and this picture it had pretty nice views. This was The Lost Mine trail, although the "mine" is actually a myth.
Another day in Big Bend we did the dirt loop road which actually was bumpier than some of the off-road trails.

On one side of the loop we visited Santa Elena Canyon which required crossing a large mud flat.

This wasn't much of a hike but was very pretty.
The canyon was pretty fun because everyone's voices echoed around. You couldn't tell if people were in front or behind you.
 After the canyon hike we drove through some more dirt trails and caught sight of some javelinas but I couldn't get the camera out fast enough.

On part of the loop hike you get to see the basin portion of the park which is in the panorama.

If you zoom in you can see where "The Window" hike is right in the middle of this picture.

After a week with no services we pulled into Terlingua right outside the park for a couple nights of electricity and showers.

It was a very unique little town with a great bar with live music and excellent food.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Boquillas Canyon and more trinkets

So these trinkets are everywhere! At least everywhere near the river where Mexicans can sneak into the USA and leave them. I think they are actually pretty cool and I can't help myself but checkout each display.

They do catch the light in a nice way. Most of them are dessert plants or animals but some have made special Christmas inspired ornaments too.
We are heading to Boquillas Canyon which is near a legit border crossing to Boquillas Mexico. The border crossing isn't always open but it doesn't look too exciting over there, I guess you can wander the tiny villiage buy a beer (and probably trinkets!) and then come home.

Near the canyon there used to be a mine with a big overhead conveyor system to move ore. This was a ore bucket. You can hike along the old tramway but it didn't sound as cool as the canyon.
These holes along the banks of the Rio Grande are where ancient peoples ground nuts and seeds.
 There were also some ancient pictographs on the sides of the river.
This is the actual canyon. It was pretty short and easy hike in. On the way a nice Mexican sung to us from his side of the river and asked us if we wanted to hear a song. He was pretty good actually but that may just be great accoustics of the canyon.
There was no way to the top of the canyon althoug it looked like you'd get a good view. That is Mexico anyway so we be illegally crossing the border.
Here is Will in the canyon. It was fun to explor the canyon. I climbed up into some of those caves you see on the left hand side of the picture. It wasn't easy getting up there but they seemed like a good place to hangout if you were an ancient person.

I didn't see any artifacts but some did seem like they had had fires burning in them in the past.
These people were on a overnight guided paddle up the Rio Grande. This is probably a great way to see more of the canyon. Our trail only went about a mile in before you couldn't go any further without swimming in the chilly water.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

A hike to the Window.

Big Bend is a big park that is good and bad at the same time. Given we can only camp on one side of it doing any hiking usually requires a decent drive.

Today we drove up to the Chisos Basin to hike to what they call the window.

The Window looks out over the view you see in the distance in this shot.
Th'e window is actually the top of a water fall when there is water running flowing. The Chisos Basin is just that a basin of mountains that funnel their water to a few places like the window.

Lucky for us right now it is dry but you can see how smooth and slippery the rock looks. And the other side of that break in the rocks is a deadly fall over 1000 ft high.

I didnt get that close!

 It was a good first real hike in Big Bend although it really wasn't that long a hike.
A view of some of the mountains that make up the Chisos Basin.

We hungout at the lodge at the Chisos Basin for a while and enjoyed the Wifi as we don't have phone service in most of the park.
Poor Tucker isn't allowed on any of the trails in the National Park which is a bummer but he gets pretty good walks around our large campground and the surrounding roads.

We had this Owl visitor on the tree opposite our camper one day. Other days he hung out on bear boxers or other trees. People were always out taking pictures of him.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Hot Springs, Fossils and Trinkets!

Today we're doing a short hike to some hot springs for a soak.

In the past there was a developed little resort hot spring here but now it just some ruins.
You can actually just walk 1/4 mile to the springs directly but we are doing a loop hike that is about 1.5 miles.

The benefit is some great views of the Rio Grande and a chance to look for fossils!
I can't really take credit for finding this cool fossil, someone else clearly found it and left it in a nice place to be seen on the side of the trail.

I did find a nice little pocket of crystals in this rock.

Very nice leaf fossil!
Here is Will in what is left of the hot springs tub. You can sit down nicely in it and enjoy the 105 degree water.

You can also dip your feet in the Rio Grande to cool off which flows right by the spring.
And of course Mexican Trinkets are available to buy on the honor system for about 5-20 $ depending on what you choose.