We didn't get to the area where we planned to camp until nearly 8pm. It was cold, dark, and still windy in the Sacramento Mountains at 8650 ft elevation. The road trip there wasn't the most relaxing. A few leg cramps sprang up, so there were a few unscheduled stops to stretch out. We were also very hungry. So we moved on and the next stop was a restaurant just inside the village of Cloudcroft called Big Daddy's Diner. We ordered up a couple of burgers and fries and chowed down on the best grub we'd had in a long time. Granted, we were famished, crawling on hands and knees, and near death, but i'm pretty sure that would've been the best dang hamburger on any normal day as well. A real thick burger....seems to be a rare thing nowadays.
As we sat there shoveling food in our mouths, I could tell there was a shift in the original plans. I could see it taking shape. We discussed what was to happen next. We needed a place to sleep. We needed to rest our weary bones.
My son sits back, throws out a big stretch and with a halfway smile says, "Hey, did you see that motel back there?"
Yeah, I saw it, and I know what he was trying doing. He was trying to put the slightest bug in my ear. Maybe start thinking a little more about that place. Hot shower. Soft beds. Warm room. No wind.
I am hurting something awful....NO!!! i'm stronger than that. I don't give in that easy. We're outdoorsmen!!!
We woke up around 7am and started slowly stirring. The temperatures were in the low 30's and a slight breeze. So I checked to make sure the thermostat was still on 74 and got back in bed. :) Don't judge me.
We left the motel about 9am and after a quick breakfast, headed towards our first hiking destination. We immediately knew it was going to be a tough day just getting to our car. My legs didn't want to work that well, and my calves were not showing good manners either, griping and whining with every step. We drove around a while and finally ended up at Bluff Springs. It was a beautiful place. Ahhh man, there are stairs...this is going to hurt.
Once we got moving around and stretched a little, things started to be less painful with each step. Remember, i'm 41 now, things take longer to heal up than they used to.
We hiked to the top and enjoyed a large meadow lined with tall pines. We followed a stream from a waterfall back to the side of the mountain it was pouring out of. We walked all over the area and up a few mountainsides. We then headed down the Willie White spur and hiked for a few more hours. It was beautiful country and a lot less strenuous than our previous day. We didn't take the backpacks, just some water and my GPS.
From there we headed up towards the Sunspot Observatory. We stopped a few times and walked parts of the Rim Trail, but never too far, just a mile or so then double back.
We walked around at the observatory for an hour or so. We've been there many times in the past and they have a really nice self guided tour that takes you through a big portion of the grounds and some nice scenic overlooks. We headed back down to Cloudcroft around 4pm, and from there decided to go down to Alamogordo for supper. That's a nice drive down. There are a lot of things to doin Alamogordo as well. They have a zoo, an awesome Space Museum, http://www.nmspacemuseum.org/ , and of course, White Sands National Monument. Here's one thing we won't be doing....
These fellas on the way down there...no thanks.
Overall the trip was another awesome experience. I pushed myself further than I have in awhile, and had a great time doing it. There were times on the trip that I will never forget. I don't know if my son will want to keep doing this through the years, but he does now, so i'm running with it for as long as I can.
Now it's back to the planning phase for a bunch of family trips we're wanting to do. And maybe start looking at next year's Dude's Trip too. :)
Thanks for coming along,
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