Today is our last day here in Cloudcroft. It hasn’t been a terribly exciting week and I don’t have any grand adventures to share with you. Instead here’s a few random snippets from the last couple days.
We have Hummingbird friends.
We’ve had a Hummingbird feeder since January, and for the first month or so I faithfully filled it and stuck it on the window every time we went somewhere new. Usually it would take the Hummingbirds the better part of the week to find the feeder, and sometimes we didn’t have any visitors at all. After awhile I got pretty lazy about it, and I probably haven’t put it up for at least a month. Well this time Tim spotted a Hummingbird buzzing around our windows within the first few hours of our arrival. So I made up some sugar water and put out the feeder. Sure enough, a couple minutes later a bird showed up.
And then came back. Again, and again, and again. We’ve determined that there’s actually two birds, although a photo of the two of them together has been impossible. I think they are female Costa’s Hummingbirds. I could be wrong, but the description and habitat range match, so that’s what I’m going with. Whatever kind of Hummingbirds they are, these ladies are really, really liking the feeder. One of them visits it at least every 15 minutes all day long. On Wednesday I topped it off with a bit more “juice” to be sure their beaks could reach the good stuff. I feel bad that in a few hours I have to take down the feeder in preparation for departure.
Cloudcroft has a ski area. It’s called Ski Cloudcroft and is the southern most ski area in the US. It’s pretty small with only 24 trials and 1 chairlift. You would think the high elevation – 8,300 feet at the base, and 9,580 feet at the top – would make for a good couple months of snowfall, but apparently they periodically close due to lack of snow.
We went to nearby Bluff Springs to see the year-round waterfall and hike the trails. The waterfall is not much more than a trickle right now, but it was still pretty.
There’s a bunch of trails around the falls including one that climbs up to the top of the falls and out onto a nice meadow with a stream running through it.
There are seven national forest campgrounds here in Cloudcroft. I think most are opening this weekend. We talked to the camp host at the nearby Pines NF campground about where to get water, and he suggested the Silver NF Campground. It’s only about a mile up the road from us so I went to check it out. There’s actually three campgrounds there, but only Silver is open right now. I was able to fill our water jugs at the spigot by the entrance. While I was there I drove the small loop and wasn’t very impressed. For $20/night you get a cramped site with a surprisingly little amount of privacy considering you’re in the middle of the forest. Most of the sites are on the small side even for a rig of our size. The campground was empty except for two pop-ups campers. I wasn’t able to drive through the other campgrounds because they had locked gates. I also drove ten miles north to the Silver Lake Campground, which is owned by the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation. I was hoping to see the lake and campground, but they had a gate with a very unwelcoming sign, so I didn’t end up seeing either. I could have probably gone into the office and asked to look around, but their unfriendly sign turned me off so I didn’t bother.
A few logistical tidbits about our boondocking spot:
– We get great cell service here. Both Verizon LTE & AT&T 4G are very strong. I think this might actually be the fastest data connection we’ve had in NM. Which is funny since we’re in the middle of the forest.
– We get one over the air T.V. channel- CBS.
– Our spot is just okay for solar. We get a bunch of strong mid-day sun, but only a little in the morning and afternoon. There are a few spots across the road that get more sun and would probably be better solar sites, but they are kind of slanted.
– There’s maybe 8-10 potential boondocking spots on this road (you can look at our Where map for coordinates & our exact location), but none would be suitable for big rigs. In fact, most of the sites farther down the road from us would be difficult for any RV to access due to low hanging branches on the road.
– As I already mentioned, I found a spot to fill water jugs at the Silver NF Campground. They also have a dump station that costs $5, but no place to fill your water tank.
– The weather at this time of year is boarding on chilly up here at 8,600 feet. At the beginning of the week it was in the 60s during the day, and the 40s at night. The last few days it has been 50s during the day and mid-30s at night. I imagine that in another month or so when the surrounding desert is sweltering this is the perfect place to be, but right now I wouldn’t mind a few more degrees.
Which is why we’re now headed out of the mountains and back down to the desert (where I’ll probably be complaining about the 90-degree temps in few days). You just can’t win.