Monday, June 28, 2010
Chama, New Mexico
On Saturday we headed north out of Taos and turned west onto NM Hwy 64. We drove over the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge and past all of the Earthships dug into the Taos Plateau. We crossed green valleys, aspen groves, and stands of pine before we dropped down into the Chama Valley. Turning north on NM Hwy 84/64 we found our way to the Sky Mountain RV Resort just 3 miles south of the small town of Chama, home to the Cumbres-Toltec Railroad. We got settled into our site which is not by the river but is up against a wood filled with singing birds. We set up our bird feeders, had some lunch and set out to explore the town. Chama is very small with a combined grocery/hardware store, a couple of cafes, and various small businesses, some of which do not look like they are open any longer. We traveled on out the north side of town and up Hwy 17 which is the route of the railroad and ends up in Antonito, CO about 50 miles away. The views were incredibly beautiful and when we got to Cumbres Pass we stopped to take a photo. Allan is standing at the summit of Cumbres Pass at 10,000+ feet but it looks like he is standing at the edge of a golf course. We turned around and headed back to Chama, saving Antonito for another day. Yesterday, we hung around the site, cooking and painting. Allan rode his bike into town and bought a $3.00 axe to chop wood for our firepit but when he gave the first chop, the blade of the axe broke off. He then headed back to return the Chinese axe and get the more expensive USA axe for $12.00. This axe worked well and he had a fire going in no time. Today we painted for a while in the morning while I started a Green Chile Stew for dinner and then made sandwiches which we took with us to Heron Lake for a picnic lunch. Heron Lake and nearby El Vado Lake are State Parks and there is camping available, some with W&E. But they did not have much for picnic people so we just pulled into an empty campsite and had our lunch looking out at the lake. Before we headed home we followed the road to the end and saw where the Chama River (right) flowed into the top end of El Vado Lake. There was a boat ramp there and it looked possible to launch the kayaks if we decide to go up the Chama River. The lakes did not look that kayak friendly and were windy to boot.