Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Getting a Mountain Fix

A couple of days ago we drove up from 4300 feet in Clovis to over 8600 feet in Cloudcroft, New Mexico, located in the beautiful Sacramento Mountains. What a gorgeous drive! After several months on the high plains, we needed another mountain fix.

We took Hwy. 70 from Clovis past Roswell, to the beautiful Hondo Valley. Here we passed through the tiny towns of Picacho, Tinnie, Arabela, Hondo, and San Patricio. If I were 30 years younger, I would love to live in this uniquely scenic area.

We continued on to the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation, passing through Ruidoso. We turned off on Hwy. 244, a quiet two lane road that travels through Elk Canyon, where we stopped to take pictures and could hear elk bugling on the hillside above us.
We traveled in and out of the Lincoln National Forest, an area rich in history. According to the Billy the Kid Scenic Byway web site: "The Lincoln County area...has been home to Billy the Kid, the Lincoln County War, the Mescalero Apache tribe, Kit Carson, "Black Jack" Pershing, the Buffalo Soldiers, the world's richest Quarter Horse race and Smokey Bear."

For the first half of its history, those going to the village of Cloudcroft went by excursion train from Alamogordo, traveling 16 miles up from the desert floor. The first highway to Cloudcroft was built in the mid-1940s, and the train service was discontinued in 1948. We found a delightful small mountain town with abundant fresh air (and abundant tourists, too). After a delicious lunch of green chile meat burritos that we ate on the front porch of a little cafe, we started back to our home on the plains.

Here are some points of interest on our journey.

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