After the market we started our drive around the "enchanted circle" planning on only driving about halfway then turning around. The whole loop is about 85 miles and both of our backs are a little ouchy after yesterday, so we didn't want to do the whole thing. Sometimes sitting in one position too long makes things worse. The road wasn't as twisty as we'd been led to believe, but it was beautiful. Up through a pine forested mountain, closed in by trees and rocks. All of a sudden the view cleared as we descended on to an enormous valley. The scale was so large it was hard to believe. So beautiful. We drove through some small towns and past a large lake set at the base of the mountains. I saw my perfect campsite, overlooking the lake. Doesn't it look like it was made for me? JoAnn, you'll need your glasses for these pictures....or click on them to get a bigger image of the "campsite"....
|See the white trailer? No one around for miles...|
|Back view of the white trailer and all its neighbors. Just my style!|
We saw lots of signs along the road, "Elk Crossing", "Watch for Bighorn Sheep", Eagle nests, prairie dogs raced across ahead of us, ducking in their holes just in time, and on the lake we saw Pelicans, white pelicans! I was disappointed that we didn't see any of the animals we were warned to watch for, but the pelicans were neat to see here.
|This picture of the pelicans was taken from the road, quite a long way from the shore of the lake, sorry. You can click on the picture to see a bigger image.|
We were enjoying the scenery so much we decided to finish the circle and drive all the way around instead of back tracking. I'm glad we did because after cresting Bobcat Pass (9288 ft. above sea level) we came upon a sweet little ski town called Red River and stopped for lunch and a walk along the clear, fast flowing river.
Backs feeling a bit better after the walk, we finished the trip back to Taos. We had planned on stopping at the Stable Gallery to see an exhibit of equine art benefiting a horse sanctuary, but we were wiped out, gutted as dear Ruth would say, and didn't feel like dealing with the traffic, parking and people in town.
Tomorrow morning we'll set off for Colorado. At the suggestion of the campground mgr. we'll take NM 522 north to C159 through Fort Garland, Colorado to US 160 east to meet up with I-25. The route that looks straight from here to I-25 evidently winds up and over the mountains on its way and David (the mgr.) urged us to avoid it with Beluga. Fair enough, he's a native and we just look at lines on a map!
We plan on stopping for the night around Pueblo, Co., well south of the fires in Colorado Springs. The next day we hope to move on through the burning areas and stop again nearer Denver. We'll work out the rest of the route then.