On August 31st we drove further west to Eagle Nest, elevation 8,238 feet. At this elevation we had nightly temperatures in the upper 30’s and low 40’s. Time to turn on the heat and add a second blanket! The daytime temperatures were very pleasant Due to the short drive and mountainous roads, I drove the tow car instead of towing it behind the RV. I managed to get a picture of our RV ahead of me as we approached picturesque Eagle Nest Lake.
We had a nice campsite with the only problem being very weak Verizon cell phone service and unreliable WiFi furnished by the campground. One day we went a mile up the road to the Eagle Nest Public Library to use their internet to get a blog published. While we were there a storm came up quickly with heavy rain and hail. The temperature dropped almost thirty degrees and we were cold on the short drive home without a jacket or coat.
On Saturday we drove the 84 mile Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway. We began in Eagle Nest and traveled counterclockwise around the circle, passing through many small towns. We climbed steadily to Bobcat Pass and then dropped down slightly into the town of Red River, a popular ski area and summer resort.
This area of New Mexico was once a prosperous, productive mining district, securing six million dollars of gold between 1866 and 1907. Surface ore was rapidly depleted and by the 1930’s all mining had ceased. The only thing that kept the area alive was the creation of a dam built between 1916 and 1921. The dammed water became known as Eagle Nest Lake. The towns of Eagle Nest, Angel Fire and others became popular hunting, fishing and winter resort areas. In Red River and other towns we saw ski slopes and lodges.
As we continued on to the town of Questa we traveled through the Carson National Forest. The views were lovely but hard to capture on camera. There was a haze from the forest fires to the northwest. This haze continued our entire stay in Eagle Nest. It wasn’t enough to cause us breathing problems but an obvious haze which the local tv station said was coming from the western wildfires.
We took a short detour to the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument to see the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. It is 1,280 feet long and towers 565 feet above the Rio Grande River. It is the seventh highest bridge in the United States and 82nd highest bridge in the world. The bridge was in several movies including “Natural Born Killers”, “Twins”, “White Sands”, “She’s Having a Baby”, “The Signal”, “Wild Hogs” and “Terminator Salvation”.
Near bridge are many vendors, especially Native Americans, selling their wares.
Before heading home we drove by the Orilla Verde Recreation Area to check it out as a possible future camping location. We decided not to camp there but we really enjoyed seeing kayakers on the Rio Grande and big horn sheep grazing on the hillside.
The sheep were pretty far away and blended in with the landscape so it was difficult to get a good picture.
Another great day in New Mexico!