Our week in Ruidoso. After four days on the road we took the first day here pretty easy. Ruidoso is a very pretty town at about 6,900 ft. (Banff is only 4,600 ft.). However the terrain is not as rugged. In fact you can drive up to about 11,000 ft. Plenty of history here. Billy the Kid once roamed these hills. Lodges inhabited by ghosts, tiny zoos and a wonderful White Sands National Monument all make this an area worth visiting. In our case, twice!
Just a quiet day around our resort. The resort is not great but it is at the top of a mountain about 7,800 ft. in elevation and does have wonderful views. We got some shots of some VERY large wild turkeys and a couple of the resort cats.
We decided on a short road trip to a couple small places nearby, Cloudcroft and Alamogordo. Cloudcroft is a sleepy little place in the hills with an old hotel. Apparently, in the early 1900's a chambermaid named Rebecca as murdered and her ghost still roams the Lodge.
Alamogordo is a military town with the smallest accredited zoo in the U.S.
Billy the Kid Trail. What a story! Back in the latter half of the 19th century, this was the Wild West. The stuff of legends. The county seat of government, the town of Lincoln and Lincoln County were lawless. Turf wars over cattle ranges and government beef contracts or nearby Fort Stanton (established in 1855 to hopefully control the local Apache tribes) erupt into blood shed. No time or space for the whole story here but Hollywood has glorified this territory dozens of time. Interesting to walk the streets of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.
Then off to Fort Stanton. After the Indian Wars (In the 1890's Kit Carson was the commanding officer)and the Lincoln County wars, it became a hospital for tuberculosis patients. Then in WW II it was an internment camp for German prisoners. It is in desperate need of repair, but work is ongoing. Again, fascinating to walk in the rooms where Kit Carson lived.
Last on the tour is the Spencer Theatre for the Performing Arts. A beautiful theatre of the Jubilee calibre, but set in the mountains of Ruidoso with a local population of less than 20,000.
Another day touring the area. There is a restaurant that has burned down since we were here last year. I couldn't resist the irony of the sign in front (smokehouse) and the burnt out building behind. Across the street is a piece of land for sale and the local elk were making themselves at home. No extra charge for pets I guess.
Next a drive up to "Ski Apache", the local ski area. Once there we were at about 11,000 ft. elevation. Some great views on the way up (and down). In fact I decided to go up after dark and try my hand at some "astral photography".
White Sands National Monument. What an amazing place! Covering 225 sq. miles (583 sq. kms.) the sand is not like most sand. Instead of silica, this sand is pure Gypsum. The dunes are enormous and are constantly shifting in the winds. Gypsum doesn't absorb heat so even on the hottest day, the sands are cool. There are a variety of critters who make the area home, but we didn't see any other than a couple Ravens.
Then, on the way home, a quick stop in Tularosa and another old church. And lastly a few shots of the fall colours on a local side road. Wonderful!
Not much going on today. We have a big day traveling tomorrow so we took it pretty easy. Just a just of some deer below our balcony, a view from the balcony and some pretty sunset shots from said balcony. Then there is a interesting contrast between the sunset today the the view from the same spot the next morning. Dull and grey.
Carlsbad Caverns. Simply stunning. And enormous. If you are ever in this neck of the woods, this is a must see. Unlike many caves that make some folks claustrophobic, Carlsbad Caverns are huge. You walk along a trail for over two miles and never once feel constrained.
After the caverns we headed for Texas. Unfortunately our introduction to Texas was not great. We were introduced to what should be the next Texas State Park, a giant pothole. It took out two tires and sent us on a 6 hour trip on a tow truck and set us back a day. However, it all ended well thanks to a Good Samaritan that stopped to help (thanks Jay). We arrived in Brownsville a day late and tired so it is unlikely we will take many pictures for a few days. BTW. It is colder here in Brownsville Texas (on the Gulf of Mexico) than it is in Calgary!