My Journey

Ace.....no.....

Dougnuts.....not sure.....



Four days of city life turned out to be plenty for me, so I decided to return to the life of silence & solitude. We returned to the interstate and we drove south, now looking for that massive flock of white birds that I had mentioned in an earlier post.....

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It was a perfect day for an amateur birder and his two dogs to take a long walk.....

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Honestly, I've never had any interest in birding but I swear the whole idea is growing on me.....birds are pretty awesome.....

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And it's not just the birds.....it's the serene environment where you find them that also appeals to me.....

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We never did see those white birds here.....but we did see tons of migrating birds.....

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I'm fairly certain that it was the Sandhill Cranes that we mostly saw here.....but there were plenty of other waterfowl.....I don't even hazard a guess as to their names.....

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We spent an entire morning walking here.....we walked the entire perimeter road, every trail, and every ramp. We climbed every step to every bird viewing station.....

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Oddly, at least to me, is that I noticed that we were always alone (not complaining here).....but people seem to prefer viewing from the comfort of a car.....or maybe, just standing quite close to their car.....

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Well, it was an awesome place to wander about.....and it was an experience that I plan (or hope) to do again.....

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ITTOG

Well-known member
I used to have a bayou behind my house that was amazing. We would see birds, gators, beavers, ducks, bobcats, raccoons, etc. We loved it and now miss it. Obviously the egrets were the primary bird but there were blue heron and tons of other types, like the roseate spoonbill.
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A gator pic for fun. He didn't like my weed eater. We also had an aluminum boat and go paddling in the bayou.
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Ace Brown

Retired Ol’ Fart
We have a big stopover spot nearby for the cranes. They call it Eckert Crane Days. I don’t recall a number but I’d guess 1000-1500. Love their sounds.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
Ace.....not that I'm any expert but I'll bet the number was way higher.....

ITTOG.....that would be an awesome backyard ! You must miss it quite a bit. That being said, that gator doesn't look real dog friendly so it wouldn't work for me.....



When I had exited the interstate that morning, hoping to see the white birds once again, I noticed a roadside sign for Abo National Monument.....30 miles to the east.....and in just the same way the white birds had changed the direction of this trip, so did this roadside sign.....we now headed east.....deeper into New Mexico.....

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I've always had a fascination for stone.....stone has always had a grip on me......

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The weather changed quickly that day.....I'm not sure if it was the short drive east that caused it, or maybe it was because we had just crossed yet another mountain range, or maybe a cold front had moved in.....

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It was many decades ago as a young Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador that I caught my first glimpses of the incredible stone walls of the Andes Mountains.....

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The temperatures dropped significantly that afternoon.....and it soon turned into a cold and blustery day.....

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And each & every subsequent trip to the Andes Mountains, the stones gripped me in the same way.....a visit to Machu Picchu several decades ago, the stones spoke to me yet again.....still to this very day I can remember wandering amongst the stone in the earliest light of the day.....

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I decided to leave the dogs in the truck while visiting here, I wanted to enjoy this one on my own.....

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Again in Nepal, now nearly a decade ago, I was so fascinated by the stone.....it's always the same.....

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The wind ripped right through me that day.....and there was no way of escaping it except for the brief blockages that the stone provided.....

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The day had been filled with birds and stone.....and for me, that was a very good day.....

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Rather than backtrack and return to the interstate, we continued east and once we reached the tiny town of Mountainair, New Mexico, we turned south.....now headed down Highway 55. With just a few hours left of sunlight, we stumbled onto the Gran Quivira Ruins.....

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Of course we stopped, but we only had 30 minutes until they locked the gates.....so once again the dogs waited in the truck (poor guys).....while I flew through the Gran Quivira Ruins.....

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The winds persisted and what stands out most at this time, is just how cold it was that day.....sometimes people will ask me if I'm a Snowbird, and I always say that I am not (it's almost an insult to me). Days like this one seem to prove that very fact.....

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The cold & wind is about all that I do remember about this place.....except for.....

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.....the fact that we were all alone.....and that was quite nice.....more silence and solitude.....

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"U.S. Route 50 (US 50) is a transcontinental highway in the United States, stretching from West Sacramento, California, in the west to Ocean City, Maryland, on the east coast. The Nevada portion crosses the center of the state and was named "The Loneliest Road in America" by Life magazine in July 1986."

I took the above quotation from Google and I can say that I've driven U.S. Route 50 and I tend to disagree with Life Magazine.....Highway 55 in New Mexico is certainly a much lonlier highway.....

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We camped on the side of that highway and never saw a single vehicle during our stay here.....this turned out to be a great spot to overnight.....my second most favorite spot while camping in New Mexico (the airport came in at number 3).....

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We probably could have slept on that double yellow line and got a good nights' sleep.....nobody came here.....

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.....and the lonely horses here proved that to me.....

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As soon as they saw us walking along the highway, they came charging down the hill.....

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.....except for this white guy.....

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They stood at the barbed wire fence and stared at us.....almost as if saying why are you here.....

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The dogs of course loved it.....as did I.....encounters with horses while exploring the high desert makes for a day special for me.....it's a wild west thing.....

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The following day I decided that it was time to climb yet another mountain.....so we drove further south on to our next climb.....

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PNWY.....change seems to be negligible in the area where we had camped. Remove the barbed wire, the fence posts, and the two lane paved road, and I'd imagine it looks the same now as it did centuries ago.....




Ancho Peak (7,825') was next on our to do list. This peak was nothing more than just another random peak that I had admired while out for the evening walk. The plan that I had devised was to drop the truck & camper off in White Oaks, New Mexico and then take the Jeep up into the mountains.....a 15 mile drive and then a short climb to the summit.....

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The plan was also for that relentless wind to subside but unfortunately that didn't happen.....so the planned climb also didn't happen. Since we'd already made the drive to White Oaks, New Mexico, I thought that we may as well tour the tiny, nearly deserted mountain town.....

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We dropped the rig off at the now abandoned storefront.....

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.....and began our exploration of White Oaks, New Mexico.....

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Well, as you might imagine, it didn't take long to explore the downtown section.....so we ventured a bit further out.....

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Since White Oaks, New Mexico was once a booming gold mining town.....a few huge Victorian style homes dotted the landscape and they looked so out of place along the mountainside.....

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Once our walking tour of the town was completed, we headed over to the town cemetery.....

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Headstones can be really interesting as they have that unique ability to tell the stories of the past townsfolks.....

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And these headstones seemed to tell the story of a once possibly prosperous & populated western town.....the vast majority of the townsfolk laid to rest in this cemetery appeared to have passed years ago.....

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We continued driving south as I pursued somewhat warmer temperatures.....and our next stop was at the Valley of Fires Recreation Center (not to be mistaken with the one near Las Vegas, Nevada).....

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To be honest, we only stopped here because I saw on ioverlander that they had hot showers.....lava is just not my thing.....

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.....but I did feel compelled to check the place out since we were here.....

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We walked the trail that wound it's way through the lava fields, took a few pictures.....

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.....and soon enough, we were back on the road.....headed even further south.....

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We spent that night along the shoreline of Raptor Lake.....

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Woke up to a beautiful morning sky.....and soon enough we were off to our next adventure.....

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"Rising from the heart of the Tularosa Basin is one of the world's great natural wonders - the glistening white sands of New Mexico. Great wave-like dunes of gypsum sand have engulfed 275 square miles of desert, creating the world's largest gypsum dunefield. White Sands National Park preserves a major portion of this unique dunefield, along with the plants and animals that live here."

The above quoted from the N.P.S. website.....

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I'm not sure what got into me during our visit to White Sands National Park, but I was really into this place this time (I'd been here once before).....

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We arrived there early in the morning.....

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.....and we began to hike.....

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