We left Brantley Lake SP, near Carlsbad NM, for Artesia NM (great statue in town) to pick up Highway 82 west to Alamagordo NM & Oliver Lee SP (again). It sure was nice to climb above the flat desert of eastern NM (looks just like western TX) & into the Lincoln Nat'l Forest. Although I love TREES, the currently bare trees in MO & AR are just depressing anymore. That makes tall, mountain pines that much more gorgeous. Seeing Cloudcroft again was nice too. And the route west, down the mountain to Alamagordo was as awesome as the last time!
We decided to select a site with electric & water this visit instead of dry camping like before. We must be getting spoiled or something 'cause we're not in a hurry to drag out the solar panels & boondock for some reason (the weather and/or cheap E/W campsites in NM with our State Park pass).
We really enjoy looking west over the valley, both day & night, from the campground snugged at the bottom of the mountain at Dog Canyon. And seeing a couple of colorful sunsets & one interesting sunrise was a welcomed treat. Kira & I took numerous walks around the campground (all either UP or DOWN) & one trip down to the stream coming out of Dog Canyon.
Since we'd only seen the east-west portion of the Lincoln NF, we took a drive south on Highway 54 (the same highway running thru my hometown in MO) toward Las Cruces, but turned east on highway (not so much of one) 506 (Owen Prather Hwy) to loop around & come thru the Lincoln NF from the south end. Unfortunately, the blacktop turned to gravel a few miles east - thru the Air Force Missile Range. We saw a couple of pickups & cows, but nothing "military" looking. Finally, we turned north on a gravel road which wandered thru lots of creek beds that were thankfully dry for now. It was very evident tho that a BUNCH of water crashes down thru these washes. And the gravel became bigger & rougher. Oh, & of course, no cell signal if we blew a tire or got stuck. Whew, I was glad to finally make it to the sleepy little mountain community of Timberton & blacktop! The drive UP to Cloudcroft thru the Forest was pretty, but much the same as the east-west route. It was an interesting drive, but nothing we need to revisit.
Our 5-day stay was nice, but those itchy feet started calling again. Besides, we had a date-specifc destination to make.