Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Guadalupe Mountains and Carlsbad

Texas and New Mexico come together in a beautiful part of the country with a tremendous diversity of natural wonders: the Guadalupe Mountains, the Carlsbad Caverns, and the Chihuahuan Living Desert. We spent four days experiencing as much as we could including the 40-year celebration of Guadalupe National Park which offered all kinds of adventures in honor of the day. We took a ride on a replica of Wells Fargo stagecoach. Wow, what a bumpy ride! And we were on an old asphalt road. I can only imagine how uncomfortable it was to be traveling on a dirt road rutted with wagon wheels. Our driver had a little friend riding shotgun and he did a good job. We had no problem with hostile Indians on our ride.

The weather was less than ideal, foggy and misty. We hoped to see Guadalupe Peak and El Capitan, the two highest peaks in the area, but the entire mountain was fogged in. About the only views we had were a few hundred yards from the Smith Spring trail, a loop that started and ended at the Smith Ranch.

We enjoyed the trail passing through a dry desert until we came to the spring, halfway around the trail. What an oasis that must have been for the Indians and the settlers in this arid place! Instead of cactus and scrub brush, there were numerous trees including some I'd never seen before, Madrone. with colorful pinkish bark and red berries. We hung around the spring for awhile resting and enjoying the change in scenery. Then off we went to complete the loop ending on a stretch of paved road that was wheelchair accessible.

Back at the Smith Ranch a group was singing and dancing -- explaining all of their instruments. The two young girls dancing actually are part of the percussion group, keeping the time of the music. What a fun way to keep the beat. We enjoyed watching and I was toe-tapping along with the dancers.

Our fun day ended with dinner at the "best Mexican restaurant" in Carlsbad, NM, Rojas! I agree with the little guy in the picture. Yum!

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