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Random thoughts and pictures from our travels in a LazyDaze motorhome.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Snow!

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We have traveled over 1000 miles to get away from this stuff, but it found us again! A view of snow showers at City of Rocks looking north.

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Stuck on vehicles, but not to the ground.

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A nice picture of Carla’s cousin Terry and wife Sandy, who camped with us the day before. They moved out before the snow and wind arrived!

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The sky cleared quickly by late afternoon as the winds decreased.

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Systems do blow through fast. A nice sunset for a day that started like a lion.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

City of Rocks SP, NM

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This is City of Rocks. It was formed by a volcanic eruption about 34.9 million years ago with erosion sculpting the rock formations. This view is looking to the south southwest.

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A tourist.

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This is a view looking north from the south end of the rock formation. You can hike through the middle of the formation, in fact you can crawl all over the rocks if you like. You can actually get disoriented at times.

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There is about a four mile trail surrounding the formation. This view is looking to the east. That flat looking terrain in the background is Table Mountain.

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A better view of Table Mountain and the distant Rattlesnake Ridge at 7600 feet.

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A zoom shot of our Pegasus camping spot on the far north end of the formation. All camping areas are named after star formations.

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Isn’t the sky amazing? We are in that formation on the far right.

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A close up of our spot. Tomorrow, Sunday the 27th, winds are supposed to switch to the north and hit 50 mph. We may have to move to the other side of that big rock!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Oliver Lee Memorial SP, NM

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After Lake Brantley, we traveled to Oliver Lee SP near Alamogordo via Guadalupe National Park and El Paso. The national park is at a 5800 foot pass along with this impressive piece of rock. After the climb, you descend to the remains of the ancient lake, salt pans. The San Elizario Salt War occurred over the ownership and access to these pans in the mid 1800s.

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We arrived at Oliver Lee SP and found this camping spot. The next day we hiked Dog Canyon. There are two “benches” on the hike. The first is at 600 feet above the valley floor, where we took this shot,

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and this shot across the Tularosa Basin. Its about 60 miles to those mountains, with the White Sands Monument, White Sands Missile Range, and Holloman Air Force Base in the same direction. The Trinity Site is at the north end of the basin.

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An intrepid hiker entering the wilderness.

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After three miles, we were near the head of the canyon. This trail is an old Indian trail, used by Oliver Lee in the late 1800s and early 1900s to move cattle to summer grazing on higher ground. There is a stream behind me at the tree to the left.

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A shot of his small rock cabin, look hard. The trail passes in front of the cabin remains and switchbacks up the siding in the middle of the picture. You can see a hint of the trail.

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Here is the stream in front of the cabin remains.  A nice spot considering it has not rained in two months.

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The trail climbs this left siding as I mentioned before. I believe it reaches those rock platforms on the left, then heads to the top of the canyon wall to that notch. On top of the wall to the right is your destination, green grass and cooler temperatures, for a cow. The climb is about 1000 feet in 0.8 miles. We turned around about half up the left side.

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A view down valley. You can see the trail on the left, and the top of the second “bench”.

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White sands with increasing winds kicking up sand.

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Sand Devils.

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Heading off the second “bench”.

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Sand blown higher into the atmosphere. This occurs practically every day.

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A lone pittance of a cloud.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Carlsbad Caverns

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Carlsbad Caverns National Park is about 30 miles south of Lake Brantley and our prime reason for camping here. Carla loves caves and we have been wanting to visit this one for quite awhile. Interestingly, two of her grandson’s beat her to it. This is a small point of interest along the road leading up to the visitor center.

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Here is a better view of the road and terrain leading up to the visitor center.

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This the cave entrance. Thousands of bats leave the cave during the non-winter months. You can see the descending walkway in the mouth of the cave as well.

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Descending…

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Right at the cave interface between sky and cave ceiling. That is farther down than it looks.

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Inside the cave entrance now, nice asphalt walks.

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The descent is serpentine for about 700 feet of vertical elevation. This is a shot towards the Bat Cave where all the bats hang out. No one is allowed back there. You can see the stalagmites on this sloping floor and the ceiling. I must say that the pictures taken in this cave are not the best.

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This is an interesting shot. You are looking back at the entrance into the cave. You can see the descending walkway in the entrance and in the lower portion of the picture. That wispy stuff is fog rising towards the entrance. The distance from the cave ceiling to the bottom of picture is probably 200 feet.

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The cave is relatively dry, except for the entrance area and for isolated pools of water. It is cool, a constant 57 degrees. These are two columns with water at their bases.

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Very nice ribbons.

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An impressive column, with another in the background.

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Delicate popcorn stalactites.

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Back in the late 20s and 30s, the only way into the cave was by wooden stairs.

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Interesting formations…

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You can see the guide rails on the walkway. The ceiling was fairly close at this location.

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Lion’s Tail stalactite.

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A large column, probably 70 feet tall. Plenty of phallic symbols in this cave!

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A close-up of the Lion’s Tails and column top.

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And other symbolism as well…

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Just amazing…

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There are two major descents into the cave via the walkway. This is the third :)

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Its about 90 feet to the bottom, and another lower level. Not open to the public. Pure darkness without the flash.

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Soda straws.

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Quite a tour. We spent about four hours underground. You can ride an elevator back to the surface or you can reverse your descent and climb the 1500 feet back to the entrance!

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A view of the Guadalupe mountains to the southwest just outside of the visitor center. The mountains are actually ancient reefs that have been lifted. The ancient lake is the plain you see that extends into Texas.