A week ago Sunday we drove to the Cibola National Forest and made a large loop through some of the Indian Reservations and checked out some campgrounds in the area. It was a grey rainy day, so we didn't get out to walk much, but the scenery was gorgeous. We left at 10 am and didn't get back until a little before 7 pm so we were out for a long time. I left Katie at home, and she did really well, no accidents. Since I walk her four times a day now, I wasn't sure how she would do, but she's a trooper!
I'm terrible about getting and remembering locations, especially if I'm a passenger, so I can't really tell you where we went exactly. We went down 40 and crossed the Continental Divide, driving through the towns of Thoreau, Prewitt, Milan and Grants, and visited one of the Visitor Center after Grants. I got a good driving map of the area at the center to see where I could disperse camp if I decided to. I can see why boondockers are upset at the new regs. There sure weren't many places to boondock in this forest area that were legal. Wow, very few - three or four places in the whole, huge Cibola National Forest. I was surprised. The Ranger said each area is different. I sure hope so.
We drove through Acoma, Navajo and Zuni Indian Reservations, through National Forests, BLM areas and El Malpais (Lava Beds). We took highways and improved dirt and gravel roads. It was a long, interesting, beautiful drive, but because of the rain I didn't take too many photos. This camera doesn't do as well as my Nikon that's in the shop, but I got a few good ones when we got out of the car.
Some photos from that day trip:
Then on Friday afternoon we took a shorter trip to check out some campgrounds closer to us. They are near the town of Grants, Forest Service campground/picnic areas. The first one we visited was Coal Mine Campground where you can stay 14 days for $5/day, or $2.50 with the Senior Pass. It was a nice clean campground with good, level sites. It was small, 15 sites, and in a very pretty area with picnic tables, restrooms, and a nature trail. There was a woman with a car eating at one of the tables, and another campsite had a couple with a car just standing there talking. No campers. No RVs or tents. I would have loved to stay there next, but it was too remote, too empty and had no Verizon bars. Too bad.
Then we drove to Lobo Canyon Campground on our way out along Lobo Canyon Road back toward Grants. It was not as well kept as Coal Mine, and a little further off the road. There was no one there. It would be perfect for a group of people wanting to camp for a reunion or weekend camp out. They'd have the whole campground to themselves. It has six sites, picnic tables and restrooms, and is a free campground, but the sites are not for big rigs. Better for smaller rigs and tents.
Of all the campsites we drove through last week, we only saw a couple of tents and RVs. It worries me that these public camping areas aren't being used - I'd think, especially with this economy, more families would be camping on their vacations. Especially in July, and at $5/night or free!
Hazel and Cari left on Sunday, heading to Arizona to visit a friend. I'm camped in a different campground area here at the lake than where they were, and didn't see them every day, but it was nice to know they were nearby. I'll miss them both.
Below are photos of the lake during the week, and then during the weekend. What a difference! I enjoy watching the rigs and tent campers drive in starting Thursday afternoon, and then most leaving Sunday. When the shoreline is full, it's really pretty at night now that we can have campfires. Almost every rig/tent area has a campfire and it's nice to look down and see them all lit up in the dark. I tried to take some photos, but they didn't come out. (You'll have to imagine it.)
During the week, there might be a couple of rigs on the shore, but it's pretty empty. This weekend there were a lot of people fishing in the lake from their chairs on the shore, and some were wading in the shallow water. Lot of kids playing in the water, too. If you click on these photos you can see just how many rigs and trucks there are.