From Coyote Creek we climb up a mountain to the village of Angel Fire.
The road is paved for which I am extremely grateful, thank you very much. About halfway to Angel Fire, we receive a stern warning: “No center line. Proceed at your own risk.”
Having met and conquered the Crisis of Coyote Road, I figure I can climb the Andes with the Perfect Tow Vehicle! We move along very well, the PTV shifting for extra power when needed. As we are going up a steep incline with a curve at the top, we face a moment of truth. Just as we reach the curve a pick-up pulling a fifth wheel meets us on the narrow road. There are no shoulders. I back down the incline about halfway so he can pass. No problem! The guy gives me a big smile and a wave as he passes. I bet I impressed the heck out of him!
The ride to Angel Fire gives spectacular mountain views.
At the base of the mountains are vast fields with an occasional small lake. Horses and cattle herds graze. Ranch houses and vacation houses perch on the lower slopes, looking like toys. I pull over to take a photo. I can tell the photo won’t do justice to the magnificent peaks. They look small through the lens.
As always there are flowers everywhere, mostly purple and yellow in great swaths of color. I pull over to let the crew stretch their legs and relieve themselves. I notice clumps of white daisies. I’m used to seeing daisies in June. At these altitudes (7,000 ft. and up) they can be seen in September!
Angel Fire is a ski-oriented, vacation town.
It’s not very big. I stop at the Tourist Visitor Center and collect a bunch of brochures about areas of New Mexico, plus a New Mexico road map. I continue on to the town of Eagle Nest. There’s road construction going on. They took down all the signs to work on the shoulders, so I drive past the nondescript entrance to Eagle Nest State Park. I happen to see a New Mexico park ranger going into the post office. I park the PTV and Casita in the parking lot in order to catch him on his way out. He sends me back up the road about a mile to the turn for the park.
That’s when I learn there are no utilities at Eagle Nest State Park.
I didn’t fill the fresh water tank before leaving Coyote Creek because I didn’t want the extra weight going up that mountain. I hesitate to fill it up here because I don’t know how soon I’ll be leaving and again I don’t want to haul that weight. So I pick a spot – They’re all great sites, by the way – and get the crew out so we can look around.
This is our first dry camp!
I have some bottled water on board the PTV. I’ll use paper plates so there won’t be a big clean-up.. The site I choose is not too far a walk to the vault toilet house. Since we won’t be able to use the heat strip, I’ll throw on another quilt. Propane will keep the fridge going.
I’m typing this entry after dark, using my clip-on, LED reading light so I can see the keyboard. I don’t even need the lights, though I could turn them on.
I like to cook the day before breaking camp, so when we arrive at a new campground I already have a meal or meals ready to heat up. It’s nice, after setting up, to have a good, quick meal. Then the crew and I can immediately go out and explore our new surroundings.
Eagle Nest Lake is noted for its kokanee salmon and rainbow trout fishing.
The crew and I walk to the day use area where most of the fishing takes place. I talk with a young woman who is here for the day with her husband. She says, “The radio predicts by Wednesday it won’t get up to 70 during the day.”
Later the campground host stops by our campsite.
Debbie is a wealth of information. She advises me on what kind of roads I’ll encounter if I decide to go southwest to Taos and circle around to Santa Fe (winding and steep, surprise, surprise!). If I go northeast to Cimmaron Canyon State Park, and then loop around to Interstate 25 to make a beeline south to lower altitude and warmer weather, the driving will not be as challenging.
Debbie works 25 hours a week for free hookups.
(I’m camping here for free without hookups, because I have the New Mexico Annual Park Pass.) She has been at Eagle Nest all summer. In a few weeks she starts a new assignment at Bottomless Lake State Park in southern NM for the winter months. Not a bad life. She seems to love her work. She invites me to come back next summer.
“Some people spend 21 days here at Eagle Nest, then 21 days at Cimmaron Canyon, and go back and forth like that all summer. Our fireworks display over the lake is fantastic. We couldn’t have fireworks this year because of the threat of forest fire.”
I appreciate all your comments.
I’m posting this entry at the library in Angel Fire. I want you to know I am touched by the sincere and happy-for-you remarks you made in the comments section of the previous entry. The crew waits in the PTV while I type inside in the library. I need to get back to them.
It’s a rainy, foggy morning at Angel Fire and Eagle Nest State Park.
I hear it’s going to get a lot colder starting tomorrow. I think it’s time we moved south. I have a lot of business to take care of that requires a phone and internet connection, not easily available between these mountain peaks.
The mountains aren’t going anywhere. God willing, we’ll be back!