Organ Mountains National Monument

Where: a few weeks of vacation before we start our summer job. Current stop: New Mexico

We always feel fortunate when a repair stop coincides with a lovely place to be for a spell. We’ve spent the past week at Aguirre Spring Campground, in the Organ Mountains, just east of Las Cruces, NM. This state continues to enthrall us, and we’ve been busy enjoying the scenes of one of the newest National Monuments (only declared in 2014). There’s two hiking trails that leave right from the campground, and tons more on the western slope of the mountains. I felt a bit like I did when I got to the Sierras, and I just couldn’t stop taking pictures. The low humidity produces ultra-blue skies, and the mountains are steep and stark contrasts against the azure.

Claret Cup cactus:

Apache Plume bush:

Gorgeous views from the campground:

Now, we can’t just hike all the time without some serious sustenance. So, we took a day trip to Hatch, NM to visit Sparky’s, a restaurant that we discovered last spring. It’s known for killer green chile cheeseburgers, which are a super big deal in these parts. The recipe is bun, burger, american cheese, and chopped, roasted green chiles–anything else is overkill. We had delicious burgers, and rounded off our meal with shakes–mine was a Sassy Strawberry, made with red chile powder!

On the topic of food, we really enjoyed our visit to the Las Cruces Farmers and Craft Market. It was multiple blocks long, and filled with not only local produce, but also well done jewelry, pottery, and gluten free baked goods! I also experienced a first since we’ve been on the road and found rhubarb in the grocery. My folks grow it, and I’ve really missed that taste of spring since we left Ohio. It was fresh and perfect, and just like home.

This area is steeped in history, too. We walked through Mesilla, which was a really big deal in the 1800s, as the crossroads of the Butterfield Stage Line and the Santa Fe Trail, and also the Capital of the Confederate Territory of Arizona for a year during the Civil War. I mostly just enjoyed the pretty buildings.

Today we checked out the western side of the mountains and hiked to ruins from the early 1900s. The high canyons were home to a TB sanatorium and a hotel that afforded visitors a respite from the heat down below.

Pray for no rockfalls!:

Great views from the trail:

I also talked with the resort this week, and got some great news about our summer job.  Although the Sierras were hammered with snow this winter, the road up to the resort is going to be plowed soon, and friends of the owners are going to come up with heavy equipment to help dig out the parking lot.  So, at a minimum, we will be able to drive the car up to work for a few weeks, even if we can’t get the RV there.  I found an Instagram picture of someone who was just outside the resort recently, and their photo of the pay phone shows how much snow is still up there…I’d say about 5-6 feet!

The plan is to have our final repair visit tomorrow, and then start heading north.  We have a lot of miles to cover (and trails to hike and pictures to take) before we land in Bishop, CA around Mother’s Day!

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