Thursday, June 13, 2013

Cloudcroft, New Mexico: not on fire yet

I don't know what day it is, but I'm pretty sure I've spent two nights outside Cloudcroft, in Lincoln National Forest. I have so much to tell you! I've forgotten what it was!



Oh, here's something: it's hard to find wifi there. Saw a sign outside a real estate office: "HOTSPOT." I found it tepid. Then I moved on to the Chamber of Commerce, whose written policy is "The longer you lurk out there in your Prius, the worse your connection will get. Welcome to Cloudcroft!"


I stayed for a couple of nights at Upper Karr Recreation Area. I figured I didn't mind sharing my space with other campers. Nope. Nary a one. One SUV pulled in, spotted me, and didn't even slow down in his loop back to escape. Fine with me - no need to put my clothes back on, then.



For Judy.

Met a local couple who told me not to leave until I had seen Bluff Springs. They seemed kindly, so I took their advice.





The altitude is around 9300', and I was feeling any exertion. I told myself I wouldn't do anything heroic, but look at this place! It was tiny heroism, like housefly catch-and-release. I climbed the steps two at a time, by which I mean I climbed two steps, then rested. Keep doing that, you get to the top.


If there's a sweeter little stream than this, I'm ready to see it.








Both of the places I mention are open for free camping. The first is secluded. The second is remote, but with a waterfall!

My first night solo in the forest felt a little weird. There were a lot of logistics to work out, like where do my feet go? The next morning I completely rearranged Spud, and last night was much better.

I realized that I left my sleeping bag at Cheryl's, but luckily I had the down comforter Sue gave me. That was fine, although when I visited the thrift store yesterday, I didn't turn down the brand new pair of Extreme Cold Weather Drawers for $3.50. You're willing to pay any exorbitant price when you're chilly in the mountains.

I woke up early with a voice telling me to go back to Alamogordo. That may have been internet calling me, that siren.*


*This post brought to you by Lowe's.


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47 comments:

Soaring Sun said...

Beautiful pictures! What big trees you have there.

I'm glad the down comforter helped. Can't wait to hear more about your adventures!

Texas Yellow Rose said...

You are doing so well and I am proud of you and Spud! What an absolutely gorgeous area. Color me forest green with envy.

RuthieBee said...

You embody a wild and magnificently feathered soul and I do appreciate your words so much. Fly on!

Anonymous said...

You are carrying us on your shoulders for company...Beautiful pictures and beautiful sites your eyes are beholding..keep up the good work, I myself am really enjoying this new adventure.

Kate said...

See _this_ is the kind of post that has me wedging cats into the car going NO REALLY THIS WILL WORK JUST FINE I SWEAR.

Dragonfly said...

Thank you so much for the pictures. The help me to bide my time till freedom.

Karen and Tony said...

Beautiful pictures! Do you know why the recreation area is limited to 16' RVs? It looks like there should be a lot of boondocking spots.

Best wishes for a good trip!

Good Luck Duck said...

Karen, I don't see why the spot itself should be restricted, but the road there is a little twisty. I wonder if that's why. Sixteen feet isn't a lot bigger than a car.

You're welcome, Dragonfly. Glad they help.

Hahaha Kate! You might have to get your legs into the Chocolate shove.

Thanks, Anon!

Aw, thanks, RuthieBee! Like a duck soul?

Thanks, Betty!

All the better to shade you with, my dear. Yep, very glad to have the blankie.

yobobe said...

I'm taking notes as I may be up around that way in a few short weeks! yay!
didn't consider it would be chilly? better go pack some warm jammies at least.

Good Luck Duck said...

Yeah, you'll be glad. It starts getting chilly as soon as the sun goes down.

Judy and Emma said...

A tour of our nations public outhouses. Not surprising from you... ;)

Sue said...

Now your talking. I Love the mountains much more then desert.
Must be strange travelling in such a smaller living situation then what you had before.
Hope you become more and more comfy at it as you go along.

Kimbopolo said...

And you're off!!! Go Spud, go !!!!

Leigh said...

Beautiful spots - were you able to get cell service at either of them?

Cj Cozygirl said...

Nice post....what beautiful greenery and all FREE! Love to have it chilly for sleeping over a hot ass night! Like that GO, Spud, Go!!!!

Grace said...

Nothin' like starting out this new adventure with a great big BANG! Wow! How will you ever top this beautiful place! I just HAVE to go there one day!
Grace (in Tucson)

Me and My Dog ...and My RV said...

WOW - Absolutely beautiful photos!

klbexplores said...

Good that you found a place for you feet....webs and all! Beautiful forrest you have there! Breathe in all that fresh air and figure out your next move.

Harriet said...

Finally, the question is answered, “How green is your valley”? This place is so lush and beautiful. I bet it is a great place to watch the wild life. Be kind to yourself, and take it easy on those solitary hikes. Love thrift shops and Goodwill.
Years ago, I traveled around Utah, Montana, Idaho in a Ford LTD Station Wagon, okay, I said it was years ago. I flew into Salt Lake City rented the car and was on my way. After paying, way too, much for a crappie motel room, I decided I would camp out the car. Finding the local Goodwill store and the army surplus store, I bought everything I needed. It was the best trip ever. Two week later, I was home bound and I return all my camping gear to the same Goodwill store.
This is so exciting, and your pics are wonderful, enjoy!

Sherry said...

Wow is it green and definitely looks cool. You have clearly dumped the desert. Masterful camping finds. You and RVSue. How do you two do it?? Glad to hear the spudbed is working out. Sorry about the sleeping bag. Bummer of a forget.

Paul and Marti Dahl said...

I think if you keep your clothes on, you will be warmer and not so scary to other campers... ;c)

The Lincoln NF is one of my mostest favoritist places on earth. Glad to see you're enjoying it.

The Odd Essay said...

We'll be heading Rt 380 soon... maybe we should drop down to rt 82... you make it look much more beautiful than I remember.. could be because I have an altitude problem... or is that an attitude? Whatever....

New Age Nomad said...

9300ft beautiful forest that's what I like to see. Thanks for the pics!

SwankieWheels said...

Looks a lot like the 9800 ft where I camped/worked last summer in CO. Great post. Today I kayaked 10 miles on the Snake River in ID. We are living the dream.

Merikay said...

Love the trees. Glad you are striking out and enjoying yourself. I knew you could do it.

Jeannie and Eldy said...

So great and inspirational, your solo journey...It is amazing what you are doing AND what you are seeing. Beautiful shots....

Gaelyn said...

Gorgeous place. I'm sure you'll repack a few times to find space for your feet. When I traveled in my Vega I shared the back with a big dog.

Desert Diva said...

And she's off! Do you want me to send Cali to keep you warm at night? (She's hogs the covers!) I'm still here for awhile and going to have my valves "re-adjusted" on Monday. I'll bring your sleeping bag when I leave - maybe I can "catch up" with you!

Brenda A. said...

Beautiful! I'm sure you'll be fine tuning things for awhile. But you're a smart one; you'll probably end up configuring things unlike anyone has before and start a whole new trend. :)

dorrieanne said...

The Lincoln Forest is quite unique; you will constantly find unexpected things to see.

ain't for city gals said...

you are going to od on green! after spending the winter in the desert...

TexCyn said...

Wow, it sure looks lovely there! But I can't EVEN imagine anything cold right now!! It's not here, that's for sure....ps, you get to be the first blog I've read on my little new netbook. Not that you've won a prize or anything....

Kevin and Ruth said...

I like your two steps at a time. Kevin and I do lots of hiking and we always say that anybody can do a lot of the hikes we do, they just may do them a lot slower by taking more breaks. Many people miss a lot of the beauty out there by not taking the to the trails. Looks lovely there.

Ruth
www.travelwithkevinandruth.com

JO said...

What a beautiful place you found. I hope you have a can of hornet spray with you for protection. Works great.

Beth Murray said...

You certainly found the most beautiful places in LNF. I was there last June and loved Upper Karr and Bluff Springs. Were the hummingbirds thick at Bluff Springs? Last year they tried to feed off the red Nike swooshes on my shoes as I sat outside.
I travel in a 21 foot van and didn't understand that 16' limit. The road to Bluff Springs was really narrow (thank goodness I didn't meet anyone) but length was certainly not a problem.
The only cell service I had was in the town of Cloudcroft. Great trip!!!
Your car set up sounds great. I tent camped out of cars through 47 states for years--sometime sleeping in the car, but never as organized and equipped as you are.

Nancy said...

Beautiful place. Excellent pics, as always.

Donna W. said...

gorgeous pics of a gorgeous place
Donna of sam and donna

Good Luck Duck said...

Thanks, Nancy!

Beth, they were humming around - I was buzzed a few times. I wasn't wearing anything red, though. I also don't understand the 16' limit, especially out to Upper Karr.

Jo, I have bear spray. I hope I don't run into hornets, because it may not work.

It's true, Ruth. Slow and steady!

Cyn, don't make me report you to the Network Prize Committee. They're brutal. I'm in Alamogordo right now, where it's definitely not cold.

It's true, AFCG. It's definitely more green than I've seen in a while.

Cool, Judie! You mean like the Spanish Inquisition?

Brenda, I'm still rearranging. The feet have a place to be now, though.

Cheryl, she would wake up in the night and bark at me relentlessly for not being you.

WOW Gaelyn! I'm imagining...

Thank you, Jeannie. I appreciate you saying that.

Thanks for your confidence, Merikay!

How's the dream this morning, Swankie? Sore, I bet.

You're welcome, Berg!

Sharon, you have an attitude about altitude? I find elevation to be so uplifting.

So, Marti, what exactly are you saying? That I should stay dressed?

Sherry, it's the good old internet, and people sharing! The "cool" thing is that I can be back in the desert in 40 minutes. I actually really like the desert. It's not the Sonoran, but it smells pretty darn good.

Harriet, it's true. The animals just stumble over each other to be seen. Even some wild cows. Good idea about renting all your equipment, even your rig! I'm sure you got equipped more cheaply than if you actually HAD rented the stuff.

Right, Karen! There is a lot of figuring out, isn't there?

Thanks, Barbara!

I don't know how I'll top it, Grace! I'll just have to different it. Yes, you guys will have to head up here.

CJ, I love the FREE part. And, I love a chilly, free, beautiful campsite much more than a hot, free Walmart parking lot.

Leigh, I had 1x of cell signal - good enough to send a text if I held the phone up just right.

LOL, Kim! I like it.

It's funny, Sue - I think I still like the desert more, but this is beautiful, and a refreshing change. It is strange living like this, which is why I appreciate van dwellers sharing what works for them.

Judy, it's my pleasure! :oD

Contessa said...

Thanks for checking in! Yes North does mean colder but you just have to find the hot spots :)

Tesaje said...

Gorgeous find. Amazing you had it all to yourself. My van is 22' and it made it up and back on a very steep twisty windy road that I thought it might not. Just took it slow. Did you feel all right being alone in the wilderness? I know being all alone is a new one for you. If you get a good antenna and amplifier, that 1x cell signal could work. The trick is finding a cell phone that works with an external antenna.

In the west, if you want green, you have to accept cool nights and mornings. I find that so refreshing. I also got an external antenna and wi-fi adapter that helps a lot lurking in my vehicle and picking up wi-fi. I like the note that this post is brought to you by ...

I put my down comforter under my bed in the summer so it adds cushiness and is always available if needed. I don't feel the need for a sleeping bag when sleeping in a vehicle - bedding is more comfortable and versatile as you can add and subtract as temps demand. Needed more in a tent.

Yay for you jumping in and figuring it all out.

Anonymous said...

I TOLE you, didn't I? Mountains, mountains, MOUNTAINS!!! Cloudcroft is beautiful; have some friends who have a cabin back in those MOUNTAINS. Haven't spent much time in Alamagordo; stayed one night there last year en route to Oklahoma -- my last MOUNTAIN fix for four months. Did I mention how soothing MOUNTAINS are???

Renee

Anonymous said...

Congratulations ROXI!!! You're doing GREAT! What a terrific find--Just Beautiful!! Can't wait to read about your next adventure.Have fun!,Dixie

Karen Snyder said...

If my sister hadn't mentioned the beautiful photos you shared, I would have totally missed these! FB is quite erratic and unreliable about what makes it thru in my feed these days...I get so frustrated at all the "ads" masquerading as "perhaps you'd likes!" Anyhoo, the photos ARE beautiful, especially that 2nd one, and I applaud your brave, adventurous spirit (I think that I, like Gaelyn, would appreciate the company of a BIG dog, no matter how much space he took up in the bed). :)

Zophie @ Chasing 75 said...

Ok, were gonna pack the Revcon and leave just the house behind for good. I would be happy forever in a songs like this. We are getting closer to the day of leaving ourselves, but the house still need to be fixed and sold and we'll be right at your heels! Watch out!

Zophie @ Chasing 75 said...

Song being sight...

Levonne said...

Looks as though the adventure continues for the Good Luck Duck! Fantastic! Looking forward to seeing where your travels take you!

Good Luck Duck said...

Thanks, Levonne! Me, too!

Okay, Zophie, I'm watching my back! Come on out and play!

Karen, Facebook is whack. Bloggers have to try to game the system just so people can see what they've already say they'd like to see.

The dog and I would have to take turns sleeping.

Thank you, Dixie! I hope you're enjoying being back in Minnesota this summer!

Renee, sneak your friend's cabin keys and I'll meet you there. NO ONE WILL KNOW WE'RE TRESPASSING.

Mary, being alone the first night felt weird, but the second night was fine. I think being connectedly self-sufficient would be great, and I may do that. I also think my sleeping bag is too bulky and uncompressable for my needs - the down blanket is more suitable.

LOL Contessa! And, you see I HAVE found them.

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