Monday, December 31, 2012

New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum

This morning Noelle and I packed up the car and then the whole family loaded up and we hit the road, due west for Las Cruces. We made pretty good time considering we had a dog and an infant baby. We stopped for lunch and gas in El Paso and made it to the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum by 2.

At the entrance to the museum we were greeted by a pair of great horned owls.
Owls in Rafters
They have apparently taken up residence in the rafters above the entrance.
Great Horned Owl
Once in the museum our first stop at the was the outdoor area where there were lots of different animals. We saw some goats,
Angora Goat
horses,
Meeting a Horse
sheep,
Sheep
Navajo Sheep
burros, and cows.
Mean Bull
We even got to see a cow milking demonstration.
Milking Demonstration
I think Sierra really enjoyed the milking demo.
Watching the Milking Demo


After touring the outdoor areas we headed back across a bridge to the indoor exhibits.
Old Bridge
My favorite was an exhibit about New Mexico's centennial which featured, amongst other things, a display of every single license plate New Mexico has used. There was another exhibit about the history of farming and ranching in New Mexico, and yet another about John Deere tractors.
Noelle on Tractor
We enjoyed our visit to the museum. Sierra enjoyed it so much that it really tired her out.
Sleeping Sierra

After touring the museum we checked into our hotel and then headed out for dinner at High Desert Brewing.               

Monday, December 17, 2012

Lincoln National Forest: Grandview Trail

After lunch at the Texas Pit Barbeque Robby, Lee and I headed down the west side of the mountains towards High Rolls where we picked up the Grandview Trail. Like the Salado Canyon Trail which Noelle and I hiked to Bridal Veil Falls in May, the Grandview Trail followed an old railroad grade.
In Railroad Cut
The hiking was pretty easy and we made our way through an old rock-cut to a view that was, indeed, grand.
Grandview Overlook
 We rested in the small shelter there for a few minutes and then returned to the trail.
Lee and Robby Distant Hikers
Soon we crossed a fence using a stile and made our way to the road, which we walked back to the car.     

Sacramento Mountains South Highpoint

I finally got out of the house for some hiking adventure today! My friends Lee and Robby stopped by this morning and then we loaded up my car for a drive up into the mountains. We stopped in Artesia at the Chaos Cafe for a delicious breakfast and then headed west on US-82 to Cloudcroft. As we headed up into the mountains we were treated to views of snow! From Cloudcroft we headed south towards Sunspot, but turned off and headed towards Timberon before reaching the solar observatory. We drove a snowy county road (the trees were adorned in frosty splendor)
Frosty Evergreen
to the well-marked Corral Canyon Trailhead where we parked and prepared for our journey.
Robby at Trailhead

From the trailhead, we proceeded up a snow covered  Corral Canyon.
Lee and Robby
We saw lots of animal tracks in the fresh snow including elk and deer tracks. We followed the Corral Canyon Trail up to Forest Road 64 and turned right on the surprisingly plowed road.
Hiking the Road
The hiking on the road was easy.
Eric, Lee, Aspens
We followed it for about 3/4 mile and then headed off-trail. I had found the GPS coordinates and entered them into my GPS unit. We used the Garmin to find the vicinity of the summit. We took a group photo at what we first thought was the summit: a green post stuck into the frozen earth.
Near Summit
I had doubts about the post marking the actual highpoint tough, and so I searched around for a cairn I had read existed.

After about 5 minutes I found the cairn and dug through a little bit of snow to find a summit register. I called the others over to my location and we all signed the register and then replaced it into the cairn which hugged the side of a tree trunk.
Lee Signs Register
Summit Register
After a few minutes at the summit we began our descent.
Lee Leads the Way
It was a quick, slippery hike back to the car. Along the way we saw some elk and turkeys.
Turkeys Crossing Road

After returning to the car we decided to give the Sacramento Mountians North Highpoint a try. We drove the Sunspot Road to Forest Road 233. Unfortunately, we found the road to be too snow covered for safe travel in my Civic and so we turned around after driving the road for about 1/8 mile. The northern high point will just have to wait.            

Monday, December 10, 2012

Exploring Old El Paso

Noelle and I had been wanting to eat at Cattleman's Steak House and check out a few sites in El Paso that we had never been to before for some time now. Today, we finally got our chance to head south. Robby came over for breakfast burritos smothered with green chile sauce and at about 11:30 we finally hit the road. It was a long drive down to El Paso and we stopped at Kohl's and Target so that Noelle could return something and we could get some snacks. From our short shopping excursion we headed to our first adventure stop: Concordia Cemetery
Concordia Sign
Concordia Cemetry
At Concordia we explored the Chinese section of the cemetery
Robby at Chinese Section
Old Chinese Grave Marker
and also found the grave of the notorious John Wesley Hardin.
John Wesley Hardin Grave
Perhaps most interesting was the section of graves of Buffalo Soldiers from Fort Bliss.
Buffalo Soldiers Graves


After walking the roads within the cemetery
Ranger
we were ready to move on the the Mission Trail. The first stop on the Mission Trail was the Ysleta Mission.
Ysleta Mission
We walked around the mission
Ysleta Shrine
and were even able to go inside for a peek.
Inside Ysleta
From Ysleta, we drove the Mission Trail to Socorro Mission.
Robby at Socorro
Socorro Mission
Eric at Socorro
Again we got out of the car and walked around a bit, but the Socorro Mission was closed when we arrived so we were not able to see the inside. From Socorro we drove to the final stop on the Mission Trail: San Elizario Presidio Chapel.
San Elizandro
San Elizandro
It was dark when we arrived, but San Elizario was, in my opinion, the most interesting of the three missions. The area around the chapel seemed quite interesting as well, with lots of little shops and art galleries.

After our adventure on the Mission Trail it was on to the famous Cattleman's Steakhouse.
Family at Cattlemans's
We enjoyed a great meal at Cattleman's, but decided we must return at some point to check out the grounds surrounding the restaurant.