Southwestern Roadtrip

Roadtrip: February 2009

Robin and I went on a Southwestern roadtrip. These pictures capture some of our adventures in New Mexico and Texas.

This is our first trip (car) camping. Over Christmas, we received a huge tent, sleeping bags, a 2-burner camping stove, and kitchen equipment. We had a great time. And it was the first trip to Texas for both of us.

21 Feb - 27 Feb 2009

Bottomless Lakes State Park, NM

Robin and I drove 10 hours or so from Boulder to Bottomless Lakes State Park near Roswell, NM.

The two of us standing in front of our new tent on the campsite.

Inside the tent...

A look at our campsite. It was a nice place, except that they were doing road construction about 50 feet away at 5:30 in the morning.

Inside Bottomless Lakes State Park.

Roswell, NM

Roswell boasts of the 1947 "Roswell Incident" which participants claim involve UFOs and extra-terestrials. Despite being a skeptic, I enjoyed wandering around the UFO Museum and Research Library. They did a better job of research and presenting both sides than I thought, which admittedly is only faint praise.

Inside the UFO museum, plus a cute street lamp just outside.

Various scenes around Roswell, showing the town's devotion to UFOs, no matter how unseemly.

Big Bend National Park, TX

Robin just inside the Big Bend. The park entrance is ~60 miles from Marathon TX, which appears to consist of little more than two gas stations. There is another ~50 miles from the park entrance to anything of interest, save for a a few historical markers.

While I was putting up the tent, a couple of fawns wandered by. I got my camera out just in time.

This shows our campsite. As you can tell, the surroundings are very pretty. We stayed in the basin of the Chisos Mountains, at ~5600 ft (towering ~3000 ft above the dessert floor). Although it is not a secluded campsite, it was worth it for the views and nearby hiking. Being in the basin, the sun does not appear until 8am or later.

This shows the more views from our campsite.

Robin and I took a short morning hike called the "Basin Loop". This view is from the hike, and shows the Basin Lodge.

Also on our hike, we saw five bucks.

After our hike, we drove to other parts of the park. We saw many Road Runners, like this one.

This is the Rio Grande river. It is rather small in the winter.

The other side of the Rio Grande river is Mexico. The river actually defines the border, so as the river moves so does the border.

A very happy prickly pear near the Rio Grande. There is a camp ground near the river here, but the mountain camp ground is much better because it is cooler in the day and warmer at night. Plus is is overall more pleasant.

This is a very picturesque cliff. The canyon on the left is the Boquillas canyon, and is supposed to be a very nice hike (for next time?).

Another view of from our campsite. This opening in the basin is called "The Window". A 2 mile hiking trail goes there. I hiked it on the last day of our visit. I started at 5am, so early that I needed a flashlight for the entire trip there, but not the return trip. The pictures here show Mexico on the other side of the Window.

Robin really wanted a picture of the Bear X-ing sign. Here it is. But where is the hula hoop?

Carlsbad Caverns, NM

We drove back to Carlsbad, NM but this time we stayed the night. The next morning, we visited the world famous Carlsbad Caverns national park. This is perhaps the most spectacular cave system on the continent. We took the early morning tour, where a David the park ranger took us to the Left Hand Cave. This section of cave is open only to guided tours, and is lit only by hand-held lanterns.

Park ranger David is showing off some "popcorn", which covers most of the surfaces in the cave.

Stalactites on the ceiling, stalagmites on the ground.

After our guided tour, we took the self-guided walk around the "Big Room". This walk is 1.5 miles through a series of huge caves. There are very many interesting cave phenomena on display. Some samples are below.

Bentley Lake State Park, NM

The view from Bentley Lake State Park. There is a small lake around here somewhere.

Yes, a step down from Big Bend. Actually, a huge step down because it smelled of Sulfur from nearby oil refineries. We decided not to camp here, and instead went to a motel. I don't recommending visiting here.

Raton, NM

We went to a wonderful Bed and Breakfast in Raton, on our drive back. It is a 1885 victorian house that was built for the town Sheriff. It has also been a hotel, boarding house, and now a B&B. It is called Heart's Desire B&B and run by Barbara. The rooms are decorated in particular styles, like the Victorian room above.

More from the Victorian Room, where we stayed.