White Mountain Wilderness

4:46 PM


Packed car.
I believe after this post, I will be all caught up with March! Hooray!

You might be wondering how we have been able to get out of town for so many weekends lately. For the first time in forever I have weekends off! Hopefully this will last, because we love being able to spend quality time together.

One such weekend last month we decided to go camping in Ruidoso, because we hadn't been able to since around last summer. Ruidoso, if you don't know, is about an hour's drive west of Roswell. The place we camped at took about an extra half hour on top of that, which is actually a short drive for us now. So we are pretty excited we found somewhere we enjoy that "close."

I had looked up places to camp in Ruidoso the evening before. It seemed like most everywhere was closed until May, but luckily I came across this "Argentina/Big Benito Trailhead" listing. It sounded odd for a campground, and did not offer much as a description, but luckily I found an address on one web-page and directions on another.

The following morning as we drove off, I inputted the address into our GPS. We have bad luck with the addresses we come by, because this led us through the middle of Ruidoso to the Smokey Bear Ranger Station, where it became clear was not a campground. Luckily, we had the directions, which we decided we had better consult, and that led us the right way. It was quite a drive on a bumpy dirt road, about 9 miles off a highway. The Corolla gave us quite a bumpy ride, but held strong. We got to get a little mud on the tires.

Because of our detour, we got there a bit later than planned, but there was still plenty of light out for us to pitch our tent, make fire and cook dinner.


Spencer's parents got us a new tent for Christmas, and this was our first chance to try it out. It was a breeze to put up and had ample room for our mattress and suitcase. We froze that night, though, as we had only brought our sleeping bag and didn't think we'd need extra blankets. The snow on the ground there should've warned us. We also got to try out our new camping chairs, gifted to us by my parents for Christmas. Do our parents know us well or what?

We used the dutch oven we got for our wedding for the first time (thank you Kim & Tim!). It performed wonderfully straight on the fire, too. We had been banking on there being a grill, but this was not a normal campground.


There is actually no fee (something unheard of to us coming from Commufornia) and it is open year round. So one kind of just makes do. It looked to be a terrific spot for horse camping, with large, more private areas to camp and multiple trailheads within riding distance.

Assuming there would be a grill, we had neglected to bring an oven mitt or any tool to remove our pan from the fire. Luckily, someone had abandoned their easy-up after what looked like the wind had dragged it all the way to the creek and bent it out of shape. Spencer went to see if he could salvage anything from the wreckage we could use, and he ended up finding the hook end of a ratchet strap. He held that over the dutch-oven's handle and caught the hook in the hole to pull it off (video attached).


We cooked hamburgers for dinner and the next morning we boiled water for hot-cocoa and oatmeal to go with muffins I had made the day before. After breakfast, we packed up and headed up Argentina Trail. The way there was basically all uphill. We hiked around 6 miles. It was beautiful. Another great view rewarded us at the end of this trail. We could see for miles, and could even see Nogal Peak! From there, you could actually hike to Nogal Peak if you wanted, as there is the "Crest Trail" marked which would lead you that way, but it would be quite a hike.


There were many trails connected to Argentina, and apparently it is a popular backpacking area. There were a few makeshift firepits we came across, where hikers had stayed the night. We would love to backpack out there. The only thing I'd be afraid of is whatever is leaving elk bones scattered over the mountains. We saw so many, it was ridiculous, particularly at the end of our hike. It must have been where they eat their lunch every day, because with every step you would see another part of a skeleton.

Our GPS showed a geocache in the area, which we were able to locate without too much trouble. It hadn't been found in quite some time, as the ammo box was covered in rat droppings. The items inside were intact and dry. We signed our name on the logbook and took out a travel bug that has yet to be activated (so we get to name it and give it a goal destination). For those of you who don't know what geocaching is, let me sum up. It is a real-life treasure hunt. People all around the world participate, and so can you if you have a GPS or know how to work a compass. There is even an app for it that I have used on my phone. All you have to do is go geocaching.com and find out the coordinates or put them in your GPS of the different "caches," and hunt for them. The caches vary in size. You will find pill bottles, ammo cans and all sorts of unique containers. They are waterproof, as each one contains a logbook (piece of paper, notebook, etc), where you can add your name and date to the list of people who have found it. Many also include little odds-and-ends or trinkets, of which you can take and replace with an item of equal or greater value. It is a fun hobby and thing to do no matter where you go. You'd be surprised with how many are in your own town.

We were enthralled with the rolling hills and gorgeous mountains and could not wait to return. Which we did, by the way, the weekend after Spencer's birthday. I will post about that next. For now, enjoy these plentiful photos.
















The capsized easy-up. 



So much room!

Tip: Cotton balls covered with Vaseline make great fire starters.













Sadly, my banana boat tasted too much like metal, because we were forced to put it right on the fire. I couldn't eat it.

Spence reading to us.

Starting the morning fire.










We used part of the easy-up to hold the kettle over the fire.











It got muddy.







Random fire pit.









You can see White Sands in the distance.






Geocache hunting.






Gazing at Nogal Peak.

Nogal Peak.




Geocache



There were bones everywhere.




Corral at the end of Argentina trail.


The lake by the campground. "No Fun"

Videos:







Other photos:
I flew out of town again for work in March.

Game night with Spencer's coworkers. I'm in love with is friend's puppy.






He took me to see the new Cinderella


We use this to make peanut-butter cup icecream.

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