We left Las Cruces early and headed toward Oliver Lee State Park campground. A nice park with electric and water hookups for $14. Good view of the valley. We were in before 8:30 am and had a nice breakfast after setup.
We went by the visitor center here at the park and learned about the park's namesake Oliver Lee. He was a rancher in the valley. He was accused of murder and Marshal Pat Garret (of Billy the Kid fame) tried to arrest him. He and his posse didn't succeed and left without him after a standoff of several days. He was later a state senator. Interesting man.
We went to the White Sands National Monument this afternoon. It may look like snow but it's really gypsum sand.
We went on an interpretive walk with Ranger John. It was very informative about the unusual Eco-system here. It ended at sunset (picture below).
A buried cottonwood tree. The tree is about 40 feet tall but only about 6 feet is above the dune.
A nice sunset over White Sands.
Thursday: We drove up to Cloudscroft, a high mountain village above Alamogordo.
Above left is a picture of a hotel in Cloudcroft. They were getting ready to raise a big tent (right) in preparation for a Mardi Gras celebration.
We looked in the local hardware store and met Nancy Nice the cat. A very friendly cat. She looks a lot like our Mr Milo and is about the same age. It was nice to get a dose of cat. We miss Mr Milo.
Above right is a view toward Alamogordo from the "Lodge" tower. You can get a great 360 degree view here from the very top of the mountain.
We also looked around Ruidoso Downs and the town of Ruidoso. There are three Indian casinos in this area. We stopped at Inn of the Mountain Gods and at Ruidoso Downs casinos. Inn Of The Mountain Gods is nice, by a lake and much like an old time mountain lodge built in a modern way. It is a ways out of town. Ruidoso Downs is a dump.
Friday: We hiked the short interpretive trail up Dog Canyon this morning before we left. It's amazing what a different environment exists in these canyons where there is water.