Sunday, May 25, 2014

Manzano Mountain State Park, NM

Katie and I spent a little more than a week at Manzano Mountain State Park in New Mexico.  This was our first visit to this park, which has been closed for a few years because of fire danger.  It's not near anything, so if you visit it, make sure you have enough food and supplies.  They do have a dump site and water and trash removal, and a very nice couple who are camp hosting.

It's a small park nestled in trees - the electric sites are on a loop.  Most of the reserved electric sites are nice and looked level, but the non-reserved sites were pretty small and not level.  I circled the loop three times when we arrived looking for a good non-reserved spot, but couldn't find one, and the overflow area was chained off.  A park employee told me it was closed because a group of 150 (boy scouts and their families) were expected for the weekend and they didn't want anyone parking in their spaces.  The camp hosts were in Albuquerque for the day, and so I took an open "one-night only reserved" dry site and talked to the camp host later that day.

He said he would have the Ranger take down the chain so I could get back into the overflow primitive area and choose a site at the end.  There were seven sites in an end loop that were available for campers not attending the group events.

This is our site for the first night.  Nice and level, nice shade structure with a table and a fire ring.


The next morning we went back into the overflow area - I liked that area better, but there were only two sites with enough sun to keep my solar panels in the sunshine all day, and this is the one I chose.  I actually had sun on the roof all day long - it was a very good site.  Kind of hard to back into, though, without hitting trees.  It was pretty level.  We were NOT in the desert any more!


We had some good critter activity here - first here are photos of Katie's favorites - look at the dirt on this guy - he has a hole in the soft dirt at the base of the tree right next to The Palms.  Katie could see him coming and going from her car seat:


Here he is climbing up the tree:



Below is the another lizard - he almost looked wet.  He looks pretty round around the middle, too, and I wondered if it was a she with baby lizards in her tummy. :


Below is Katie checking out the lizard hole, and of course, I made her get away from it. I didn't want her getting bit on the nose.


And so Katie just stood nearby, guarding it. (This is what she looks like when she guards me while I'm in the kitchen.)  Notice she's facing away from the lizard hole holding up her right paw.  Watching for enemies!  :)


And we had some good hummers, too:



The sun caught this guy just right in this shot:


Chirp, chirp, chirp:




This park has Ponderosa and pinyon pines, and alligator juniper trees.  Looking at the rough trunks on the alligator junipers, it's obvious how they got their name:



I was planning to stay here the full 14 days, but one morning I woke up and decided to leave, and 2 hours later, we were at Costco in Albuquerque.

It was really nice to camp in the forest with the great pine tree smell, but I think Manzano Mountains State Park, as nice as it is, was just too small for us, and the spaces, even the overflow spaces, were too close together.  With that many trees it's hard to find a spot that will work with the solar panels.  This park is pretty out-of-the way, too, and I don't think I'll use the gas to come back next year.  It's an about a two hour drive to Albuquerque.  I'm glad we visited this once, though. 

By the way, the 150 campers with the Boy Scout troups were so quiet, even though they were right  next to us I hardly knew they were there.  They were always working in small groups at different campsites, earning badges I think.  It was a pleasure to camp near them.  I honestly don't know how they kept those boys so quiet for the whole weekend. Some of the families had small children, too. Super well behaved! 

I took a photo of a camp stove one family had on their table, isn't this a good idea?  It has an oven and two burners on the top.  It's propane powered.  Very cool, so I looked it up on Amazon.com, and if you're interested here's a link:  Coleman Camp Stove.  Expensive...

I also saw a new bird while there - it's a Band-tailed Pigeon and it sure looked big flying from tree to tree:

At first I thought it was a dove, but my field guide shows that the Band-tailed Pigeon has that iridescence on it's neck, and yellow legs and feet.

Goodbye from:




From me and Katie, have a great Sunday, everyone!  :)

28 comments:

  1. The campsite in the overflow area looks like a beautiful site. My surname was Manzano for the 6 years of my 2nd marriage.

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  3. You have some great pics of the hummers. Sometimes its hard to find a balance to being in a park away from the city but not too far out.

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  4. When will I learn to proof? You pictures are incredible, as always. Try as I might, I can never get a good picture of a bird. Funny, I always carry the Coleman stove Rich and I had way back when we took the kids camping for the first time. I used to LOVE to cook at campsite, and generally would make a couple of extra portions because it seemed there was always someone (usually young people) ready to open a can of spam. I used to love the wonderful aroma of whatever was in the dutch oven simmering all day or the foil packets with a baked potato, onion, and butter on the fire. Oh, and the coffee, bacon, and eggs...oh, I'm making myself hungry! I rarely "cook" when camping alone. The last time was in Tennessee last year when I met a group of friends to camp. That was hamburgers, hotdogs, and all the fixins for over 20 people. Busy day--not one I'm looking to repeat. I did find a great desert for large groups--that's the no cook banana pudding--it's plentiful and goes till the big bowl is licked. Since I'm on a tangent, I have a secret for pot luck...bring Ruffles potato chips and good old fashioned onion soup dip (you know how easy that is to make) and it's always a hit! Who knew?

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  5. Your photography skills in capturing those little, elusive critters is really getting good.

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  6. nice photos of the hummingbirds..those little devils are hard to capture since they move so quickly!!

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  7. We felt the same way you did about Manzano Mtn, Nice enough for a short visit, but we never went back. There are some good hiking trails in the nearby National Forest, though.
    Nice shots of the hummingbirds!
    Gayle

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  8. Great pictures! I take it you had good internet up there? R u bluewater bound?

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    1. Yes, good Internet. I was surprised that the TV antenna was good too, everything except ABC. :)

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  9. Great pictures. I always enjoy seeing what Katie is up to.

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  10. Great pictures of the Hummers.
    If you found it tight for your rig I know better than to try with our 5th.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

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    1. There were actually some big rigs there in the reserved sites. You could also fit into some of the primitive sites. Mine was just pretty close. But the way the sun traveled across the sky, my roof got sunshine all day, no tree shadows, so that's why I chose it. If you had an electric site, you'd love it. :)

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  11. Glad you tried someplace different. You just never know how it will turn out.

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    1. Yes, I'm pretty much retracing previous places - the ones I like the best, so it was nice to check out a new park. In the heat of the summer Manzano would be heaven with all those trees. :)

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  12. I had a professor in the 70's who always said "Now you're cookin' with gas!" Now I AM cookin' with gas - it's still exciting for me to make food over the fire of my gas burner. An oven might be taking it to extremes.

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  13. The Coleman oven is intriguing. It's probably a good unit for using with a group of people larger than about two or three. It seems expensive, but a gas stove/oven in an RV is yet even more costly. It would be an excellent emergency "tool" for an all-electric household, as well as a camping unit.

    Being able to cook relatively normally during an emergency situation goes a long way to making it less distressing to endure. Went through many hurricanes in Florida, and almost always had a gas appliance in the kitchen. It made a world of difference.

    Virtual hugs,

    Judie

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    1. When I lived on the snowline in Camino, CA, I had a gas stove, too, with those little flat things on the left side that lifted out so you could burn wood in the kitchen. The electricity was run by propane tank outside. I also had a well, so it was my own water. I had a good sized wood stove that I used to heat the house. When there was a big storm, I never worried - I was always nice and snug and able to live normally. I LOVED that place. It's where I had the egg-laying hens, some fruit trees, and I planted a vegetable garden, too. My son called me Mountain Mama. LOL :)

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  14. I'm glad to hear that Manzano is open again!

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  15. Barbara, I envy you that gorgeous weather. And a beautiful spot it is.

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  16. Beautiful park but I can totally understand about being sooo far away from everything.

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  17. The photos of the hummers are so lovely. Katie takes her role as guard dog very seriously :) I wonder why she lifts a paw? Speaking of, how is her one leg doing?

    Have a great week!

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    1. Hi Eileen - Katie sure does take her guard dog duties seriously - LOL!

      Her ankle is the same. It goes down then puffs out again when she walks too much. We walk, usually in the mornings, a short mid afternoon outing, then if I want a longer walk, we take the stroller, which she loves. When she has her annual Vet exam in August/Sept, I'll have the Vet check it out. It doesn't seem to hurt her, but she'll only walk so far then she stops and won't go any further. She seems to know her half-way mark. :)

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  18. Awesome pictures i really want to go there, interesting views which you got in a camera. your dog is cute and what about RV , i this Your RV is a very high vehicle and basically peoples use it for a travel and his tyre is very hard and strong , if any time you want help for your tyre our company
    Tyre Changer Australia also available for your help thank you

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  19. Looked like a pretty place.. love the hummer pictures, that one caught the sun just right to show off the ruby throat!!!

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  20. What a beautiful site! I especially love the wildlife you posted pictures of. I'm a stationary camper because I don't drive anymore, but I live in the country where there are lots of birds and other critters. I wanted to travel in my old age, but this is the best I could do so I love to follow the blogs of other people who can move from place to place.

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  21. As camp host, I sure don't mind it when the scouts are camping. They always clean their sites. Where I'm at now, even most of the other camper leave a clean site.
    Wish my pics of the hummers were as good as yours.

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  22. Pretty state park. As far as the scouts' behavior, amazing what some discipline in the development of young people can accomplish, huh?

    I can identify very few birds, just the most prominent, so I enjoy looking at your pix and reading your descriptions.
    --Bob

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