Cherry Campground, Utah

We made a quick getaway this past weekend to celebrate a dear friends 60th birthday and the couple’s first time camping in a trailer. We arrived in Cherry Campground near Springville, Utah on Saturday June 30th and returned home on Monday July 2nd. Three of us were aware of the pending surprise, but her husband was not. We arrived at 4:30pm to ensure that he was settled and wouldn’t notice us arrive. We got the trailer parked in site 2 very quickly, waited for two of their children to arrive,  and then walked down to their site and surprised him. It actually worked!

The campground was well maintained and our sites were right up against the Hobble Creek. Each site had the typical fire pit with grill and a picnic bench. The site was very adequate, and while we enjoyed it, it is very close to the canyon road which is just on the other side of the creek. If we were to camp in this campground again, without children, we would choose a site away from the stream to get us away from the road and its associated noise. With children, we would likely stay where we were simply because they enjoy the creek so much.

The campsite fee was $23 per night which seems a bit high for a campground with vault toilets and no running water. The sites were clean, a reasonable distance from one another, and the hosts were friendly. What more can you ask for for $23 per night?

We learned that Cherry opens in April which is welcome news for those of us who get the camping itch early in the year. This may be just the answer for spring get aways.

Just up the canyon from Cherry there is Balsam Campground. Balsam is not as good for RVs, but has many sites for larger groups of tent campers.

NightsTotal NightsMilesTotal Miles
268488162

Riverside Campground, Idaho

On June 13, 2018 we returned to the Riverside Campground in Island Park, Idaho. This is the campground we first visited after acquiring our trailer in 2016. For this visit my wife, son, and I chose to stay in site A-5. It is a pull-through site right next to the Henry’s Fork River; it’s a beautiful site. We stayed here for four nights and returned home June 17, 2018.

Riverside has three loops, A, B, and C. As far as I can tell the A and B loops are paved while the C loop is packed gravel. Many of the sites are away from the river, but all sites are fairly spacious and a reasonable distance from neighboring sites. The sites along the Henry’s Fork River are gorgeous and the fishing is reported to be great. However, on this visit I forgot to pack our fishing waders so we’ve played a lot of board games and found other things to do. We finally fished from the bank for about an hour and caught two small fish. Waders and more time would make this stretch of river a lot of fun.

Our favorite sites in this campground are A-20 and A-21. A-21 is at the far end of the campground, is very close to the river, and has great views. Riverside also has a group site that looks fun for family gatherings. The parking area is large enough for three or four RVs and there are numerous tables and fire pits. With some care I am sure you could circle the wagons and have a great time as a group.

The island park area is one of our favorites. The air is cool, the fishing is amazing, the rivers are huge, the campgrounds are spacious and the area is not nearly as busy as most Utah mountain camping areas. W hope to come back here year after year, and work at BYU-Idaho nearly guarantees we will.

NightsTotal NightsMilesTotal Miles
4666348114

Boondocking Near Goblin Valley, Utah

On Thursday May 24, 2018 we retrieved our trailer from its winter storage for the first time in 2018 and headed to an area near Goblin Valley State Park in Utah. We were joined by a son and his family and a daughter and her family. One of the families arrived on Friday and the other on Saturday. We chose not to stay at the state park, but rather boondocked in some neighboring BLM land at location, 38.569091, -110.743433. As you can see from the image, we didn’t have a lot of neighbors even though it was the Memorial Day weekend. More showed up as the weekend progressed, but none were close enough to be heard or bother us.

All but the last couple of miles to this location were well maintained paved roads. The last couple of miles were on dirt roads with lots of ruts and bumps. While it wasn’t smooth, it was easily managed at low speeds. The boondocking sites are so large you simply drive around in them until you find a place that’s level enough to add the final touches. As others arrived it was easy for them to “circle the wagons”. It was a great spot, but I think in the future we’ll try someplace just to the north of this area where we expect to find a bit more slick rock and a bit less dirt and sand.

The temperatures were in the high 80’s and low 90’s each day, but cooled off rapidly in the evening. The wind came up each afternoon about noon and blew pretty good, about 15 mph. The wind kicked up considerable sand and dust and made for pretty uncomfortable conditions for a few hours each day. However, the landscape was beautiful and the night skies were spectacular in spite of the nearly full moon. The children had a great time climbing in the rocks and rolling down the nearby sand hills.

On one of the days we hiked the nearby Wild Horse Canyon trail. This is a slot canyon that is only a few feet wide in some spots. We spent one of our days walking through Goblin Valley. The kids liked this as well and even though I have been there many times, it was still enjoyable. During our next visit to this part of the state we’ll try and hike the Ding and Dang canyons. I have heard they’re amazing!

We returned home, cleaned the trailer thoroughly and returned it to storage until the next outing in the middle of June. It was fun having the trailer out and can’t wait for the next outing. Perhaps I enjoy the trailer too much. I’ve been telling people for a couple of weeks that I am unhappy to have to go to Hawaii for a week because it will get in the way of going camping. Truly I have a problem!

NightsTotal NightsMilesTotal Miles
4623787480

Red Cliff Campground, Utah

On Wednesday November 22, 2017 we left home for an undetermined location south of our home where we could enjoy a warm Thanksgiving holiday camping. We have gone camping nearly every Thanksgiving for twenty or so years. Most often we end up at Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada, but on warmer years we consider Snow Canyon State Park in Utah or Zion National Park. This year we couldn’t decide so we decided to decide on the way.

While heading south we noticed signs indicating long delays getting to Zion and decided not to risk that this year. Just before Saint George, Utah we noticed a sign for Red Cliff Campground and, after conversing with our son and his family via cell phone, pulled off to give it a try. This little campground has ten sites, but on our way through we found site number 5 available. In a stroke of good luck those in the neighboring site were pulling out, so we claimed it for our son’s family who pulled in just a few minutes later.

After getting settled in we spent the remainder of the day playing on the red sandstone hills near our site. The sandstone made it very easy for the younger children to climb and hike around. It was amazing where they could get to on their own. The views from our trailer windows were stunning; everywhere you looked there was red rock.

On Thanksgiving day we had breakfast and then began the preparation of our feast. We don’t go without while camping on Thanksgiving. We prepared the turkey in a dutch oven on a stove and added briquettes later in the day to brown the bird.

With the turkey we had mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, beans with bacon,  rolls with honey butter, stuffing and for desert pecan, chocolate and apple pie. My wife prepared the beautiful apple pie from scratch and cooked it in another dutch oven.

All of the food was cooked to perfection and very delicious. We weren’t hungry again until late into the evening when turkey sandwiches hit the spot.

On Friday we hiked up the river trail to a waterfall. However, this time of the year the river is dry and the pool at the bottom of the waterfall is something you wouldn’t want to fall into. The hike was still beautiful with plenty of huge boulders for the kids to climb and an endless supply of red canyon walls and blue sky. There are some huge trees and stumps along the trail that gave the kids an alternative medium to climb.

On Saturday we took a trip to the Silver Reef Museum to learn about the mining of silver from this area in the 1800’s. The museum is situated in a bit of a ghost town with a jail and a few other ruins. The street through the ghost town starts at the museum, passes the jail and the ruins and continues into a neighborhood of new homes, strange. At 1pm we watched a show where several bank robbers dressed in realistic attire had a shootout with law enforcement. I think all of us were amazed at how loud the revolvers were. They were shooting blanks, but the sound alone would stop you in your tracks.

On Sunday we packed up and headed home. Once we arrived we emptied the trailer and took it to its winter resting spot where we won’t see it again until March. During 2017 we camped for 43 nights in 6 states and enjoyed every minute. We have owned our trailer since August of 2016 and have camped for 57 nights. I can’t wait until March 2018 when our journeys will continue. Until then …

NightsTotal NightsMilesTotal Miles
4585127102

Cathedral Gorge State Park, Nevada

On October 19, 2017 we travelled to Cathedral Gorge State Park in Nevada. The campground is approximately two and a half hours north east of Las Vegas and about an hour and a half west of Cedar City, Utah. I am sure this is a very hot and uncomfortable place in the summer months, but this time of the year it was perfect.

We took site number 5 which was flat and long enough to accommodate our trailer and the truck parked sideways across the entrance. The site had 30A and 50A electric hookups, but no water or sewer. While we used the electric, it would be much more appreciated in the summer when the AC would likely run day and night. The site also had a nice table, shade from the sun and a fire pit. The only strange thing about the site is that it is surrounded by posts. We learned through experience that if you park to close to the posts to make room for the truck, the pop outs will run into the posts. We only had to move the trailer once.

To the rear of our trailer the view was simply flat desert with distant cliffs. However, this provided great views of the stars and an occasional glimpse of wildlife.

One night I was grilling hamburgers and had three slices of cheese at the ready. I wasn’t using any light source as the glow from the trailer and natural light provided just enough to get around. I stepped into the doorway of the trailer to ask my wife a question and then immediately returned to the grill. When I went to place the cheese on the burgers, it wasn’t where I left it, it was gone. I don’t know what took it, but it was kind of creepy thinking something was paying enough attention to me to notice when I left and what I had left behind. Perhaps it was one of these little rabbits? I was just grateful that whatever it was it wasn’t a meat eater. I had more cheese, I didn’t have more burgers.

Over the next few days my wife and I along with our son and his friend hiked around Cathedral Gorge. Most of the hikes are short and pretty easy. There is one four mile hike that we never got around to doing because my wife severely sprained her ankle. We were all enjoying the Caves, which are really super narrow canyons, when the kids came to get me because my wife had heard her ankle make a terrible noise and she was in severe pain. I thought at first they were pulling my leg, pun intended, but sure enough I found her in real agony. We walked very slowly back to the trailer, got her seated, the ankle wrapped and put on ice. She took the next couple of days off while I cooked, cleaned and entertained the children. I am still not sure she really hurt her ankle 🙂

On October 23rd we headed home. We enjoyed Cathedral Gorge and will come back to hike the trails we missed.

NightsTotal NightsMilesTotal Miles
4545986590

Total Solar Eclipse, Idaho

On August 20, 2017 we headed north to Victor, Idaho to catch a glimpse of the total solar eclipse the following day. Victor is in northeast Idaho and very close to the center line of the eclipse path. We were hoping for a great show.

To avoid expected traffic on I-15, we drove up through Evanston, Wyoming, through Star Valley, Wyoming and then west into Idaho. Early in the afternoon we drove through Afton, Idaho and caught a glimpse of the Star Valley Wyoming Temple owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was quite beautiful set up on a small hill with the green grass, mountains, and blue sky in the background.

We continued north until we arrived at the farm belonging to our friend’s father. They have a beautiful spread of about 130 acres with a 4-5 acre parcel containing homes, cabins and barns. To our great surprise they also had full RV hookups and were kind enough to allow us to use them. We pulled in, leveled up, left the truck and trailer connected and spent the rest of the afternoon and evening getting to know an entire family of new friends. It was great to get to know new people and learn a bit of their history including the homesteading of this property. It was a beautiful spot with plenty of clear sky to enjoy the eclipse.

The next morning we built pin hole projection systems and watched the moon creep across the face of the sun. We also brought glasses that made it safe to view the partial eclipse. I mentioned that barns are often great pin hole projection systems because they’re reasonably dark with plenty of small holes for the sun’s rays to come through. The entire group entered the barn and found a stunning array of great partial solar eclipse images.

The time we were all waiting for finally came. The shadow of the moon crept quickly across the farmland and then totality began. It was amazing listening to the voices of young and old as they grasped for words to express their emotions. The frogs had come out and were croaking loudly, the birds had all roosted, people were grabbing jackets to cope with the 15 degree drop in temperature and everyone was running around trying to do everything they wanted to experience in the limited time.

I quickly setup my Canon 5D Mark III with a 200mm f4 Canon lens and shot several pictures at each of many settings. I share a few of the best here. The first was shot at ISO 200, f8 for 1/250 second. At the 1 o’clock and 3 o’clock positions on the disk you can see small red flares. I first thought these were chromatic aberration or other camera artifacts, but I later looked at images taken from other locations that contained the same features. I assume they are solar flares.

Unfortunately these images are quite low resolution because of the necessary cropping to make them large enough to enjoy. If I were to do this again, I hope I get the chance, I would use at least a 400mm lens to enhance the results.

The second image I share was shot at ISO 200, f8 for 1/100 of a second. The result is a much brighter view of the corona. In this photo the flares are still there, but they are much harder to distinguish because of the brighter corona.

The final image I share was taken just as the sun revealed itself at the end of totality. This diamond ring effect is stunning, but made even more so by the minutes of darkness preceding it. This was a very pleasing sight that won the cheers of those around. This shot was taken at ISO 200, f8 for 1/50 of a second. It is my favorite shot of the three.

It was quite amazing how quickly it got bright after totality ended. It doesn’t take much of the sun’s surface to light the earth. The frogs went quiet, the birds awoke and everyone was very quiet trying to grasp what was experienced. It was absolutely amazing!

We packed up, said our goodbyes, promised to send prints and left for home. Little did we know that the four hour drive up would take ten hours to repeat going south. The traffic was horrendous from Victor, Idaho to Alpine Junction, Wyoming. I think the police officers in that little town had no idea what hit them and had no clue how to deal with the huge number of vehicles traveling through their little town. Once we got through Alpine Junction we travelled at 60 mph the rest of the way home. Four hours up, ten hours back and I would do it again for what we experienced. It was an amazing and unforgettable experience. My son will remember that day and will get his sons to the Great American Eclipse of 2045 in Utah.

NightsTotal NightsMilesTotal Miles
1506285992

 

 

 

 

Te-Ah Campground, Utah

On July 29, 2017 we left Arizona at 8:30 in the morning and headed due north to Utah. Many years ago we stayed at a campground near Navajo Lake and decided we’d like to go back to this area. We decided to look for space at the Te-Ah Campground northwest of Navajo Lake.

We arrived at Te-Ah Campground and found a nice site. The camp host was a bit of a male chauvinist and asked me if my wife needed assistance backing the trailer into the site. He once even volunteered to drive. I reassured him that she had this handled and she impressed the man by pushing our rig right into the site. The host muttered something as he walked back to his site. It was like he’d never seen a woman back in a trailer before, but today he was educated a bit!

At 9200 feet we were quite sure Te-Ah Campground would be a cool pleasant place to spend the last night of our 31 night adventure. We weren’t disappointed. When we arrived it was either threatening to rain or drizzling imperceptibly. I built a fire to roast brats and cook marshmallows. While It went unsaid, I think all of us wanted to do everything one does on a campout on this one, last night. We cooked brats, we roasted marshmallows, we played games, we sat out and hoped for stars and we stayed up late. None of us wanted this to end!

The next morning we slept in until 9:00am, we packed up the few outdoor items we used the previous night and we thoroughly cleaned the inside of the trailer. We like cleaning the last morning while there is still water in the fresh water tank and the other tanks have not yet been dumped. By doing this we find the trailer clean and ready to go the next time we want to go on an outing.

We left the area about noon and headed north to our home. As we drove north on I-15 and approached the I-70 east exit, we were tempted to take it and go for another month. As tempted as I was, I had to get back to work and earn time off for the coming July when once again we’ll leave the world behind and enjoy open spaces.

There will be other short outings before next July, but nothing beats getting away as a family for a long period of time and enjoying the best our land has to offer. We saw many incredible things, we enjoyed good food, great company, had some fun activities, caught fish in five states, and increased the unity and love in our family.

NightsTotal NightsMilesTotal Miles
1492825364

 

Cave Spring Campground, Arizona

On July 26, 2017 we arose, ate a great breakfast and got underway towards Arizona. We left the Gila National Forest area with some trepidation. New Mexico was quiet, spacious and interesting. We knew that the part of Arizona we were headed towards was more populated and we weren’t sure what to expect in terms of camping and availability.

While traveling west we noticed that the Petrified Forest National Park was not far out of our way. It is in the northeast corner of Arizona and accessible via Highway 180. We entered the park through the south entrance and headed to The Giant Logs trailhead. It is a very short, pet friendly, loop just behind the visitor center. As the name implies the loop features many quite large, even giant, petrified logs. After this short hike we drove further into the park and found the Crystal Forest trail. This hike was much longer and while it was easy going, it was very hot. The trail didn’t really offer much more than The Giant Logs trail, but it was fun to be out and about.

It was interesting seeing so many petrified logs in one area. I guess that’s why it’s called a forest. On their sides the logs are impressive in terms of length and sheer size, but the end cuts are quite colorful.

We exited the park through the same gate we entered and continued west towards Flagstaff, Arizona. Near Holbrook, Arizona we noticed many stores had large petrified logs out front for sale. I guess what you find outside the park can be collected and sold.

We had an amusing incident in Flagstaff. Remembering the fuel situation we had in our last area, we decided to refuel in Flagstaff before heading south towards our planned destination of Pine Flat Campground. We went to one gas station after another only to find that none of them carried diesel. When we finally found a station that carried diesel it was in a crowded section of town. We entered the station and found that the diesel pump was on the wrong side of the truck and the hose would not reach. We left the station drove around the block and reentered from a different direction. We then noticed that the exit we were planning to use dumped onto a road that had a center divider, blocking our route to the other side of the road. We spent a significant amount of time backing the trailer up, wiggling it into a position where we could fuel and escape, and inconveniencing a few other potential customers. We finally fueled and successfully got on our way, but I think it was the longest fuel stop we’ve ever experienced.

The fun didn’t stop there. The sun was setting and south of Flagstaff we encountered road construction. This was some serious construction. For several miles we were the first vehicle behind the construction lead car that wove left and right down the one lane road of dirt between cones and signs. It had evidently rained very hard for some time just before our arrival and the mud was at least a foot deep. There were many spots where we had to switch to four wheel drive in the hope that we could stay on the road and keep up with the lead car. It was pretty nerve racking, but my wife’s excellent driving got us safely through.

An hour or so later we arrived at Pine Flat Campground to find it completely full. We had worried about this all the way here, but that didn’t make it any easier. We were tired of tight gas stations, road construction and the day. Fortunately, the next campground down the road, Cave Spring Campground, had one spot left that would accommodate our vehicles. The camp host helped us back into the spot and we were set.

The next day we slept in, ate breakfast and simply hung out at the trailer. Our son hung a hammock between two trees and rode his bicycle around the camp a few times. It was pretty relaxing compared to the previous day.

The Pine Flat Campground was an amazingly crowded and busy place. Even on weekdays it filled to capacity each night we were there. The camp sites are very close together. Where we backed in we had a table and fire pit just behind the trailer and then about 20′ of open dirt to the camp sites of three neighbors. Some of the sites are like camping duplexes. The back in parking spots are only separated by short logs space a few feet apart and then both neighbors camp directly behind their vehicles. One tent could not possibly be more than 10′ from their neighbors’. This was our least favorite campground of the entire trip.

In the afternoon a thunderstorm came up with some very close lightning strikes and powerful canyon thunder. We travelled down to Sedona, Arizona to have pizza that our son was craving. Afterwards we returned to the trailer, played games and went to bed.

The next day, July 28th, we drove down to Slide Rock State Park and paid our $30 entrance fee to go swimming. This park is not pet friendly and we were obliged to have one of us stay with our pet at all times. It was not lawful to keep the dog in our trailer without being with him. My son and wife hiked down the path towards Slide Rock while I watched Leo. They played for a while and then came back for me. I switched with my wife and my son and I went swimming. There were lots of people there with their dogs, I guess they were service dogs and comfort animals.

Slide Rock was pretty interesting and fun. Basically the river, Oak Creek, carved its way through the sandstone and created an 80′ long slide through it. The algae makes the rock a bit slick making it ideal to simply slide from the top to the bottom. Unlike the river in the Gila National Forest, Oak Creek is very cold and the hardest part of the slide is getting in. In addition to the slide, there is a deep swimming hole and short cliffs you can jump off into the water. You can see from the number of people in the photos that this place is well known and popular. It is just like going to a water park with parties, loud music and lots of people.

After Slide Rock we retuned to the trailer just in time to experience a huge thunderstorm at the camp. Very close lightning with enormous, booming thunder. We were in swimwear so we simply sat out at the picnic bench and watched the rest of the campground try to stay dry. At one point I danced with my wife on the table singing Dancing in the Rain, it was fun. We went inside, showered, warmed up, ate dinner and watched Pirates of the Caribbean 2. – the beauties of having a trailer!

When the rain reduced to a drizzle and the sun went down, people started to build fires. The wood was wet, the air was heavy with moisture and the smoke was very thick. It reminded us of a scene from Pirates of the Caribbean. We walked around the campground wanting to say ARGH.

The next morning we awoke and had a strawberry flavored oatmeal from our food storage. It was absolutely awful. Potentially the worse thing I have ever eaten, and absolutely the worse thing I had eaten on our adventure. One bite each and we put it right where it belonged, the trash can. We then made normal oatmeal and it was amazingly good given the appetizer.

We headed south on our way out to miss the road construction nightmare to the north. We went through Sedona and then headed north on Highway 17 back to Flagstaff. This scenic byway was much better than the construction war zone we traversed days before. Instead of mud, delays and construction equipment we enjoyed beautiful red rock hills and lush trees along the creek. We avoided our favorite gas station in Flagstaff and headed north towards our home state of Utah. We had one more night of camping before us and we were hoping for a much quieter and peaceful experience than what we had in Arizona.

NightsTotal NightsMilesTotal Miles
3483765082

 

 

Forks Campground, New Mexico

On July 24th we left Saddle Campground and headed west towards the Gila Cliff Dwelling National Monument. We had determined to stay in Scorpion Campground, a very unappealing campground inside the national monument, but found a pleasant alternative on our way called Forks Campground. We were excited for the adventures ahead, but the late date in July and heading west meant our trip was nearing its conclusion.

We had heard that sliding down the dunes at the White Sands National Monument on snow sleds was fun. Surprisingly, we didn’t happen to bring our sleds with us on our July vacation. We stopped in Alamogordo, New Mexico and believe it or not the Walmart there carries snow discs all year round for nuts like us. We purchased three and headed to White Sands.

We arrived at the dunes about 11am and the day was hot already, about 90 degrees. However, the sand here is made of gypsum rather than silica and stays cool to the touch in spite of the temperature and sunlight. The sand packs well, but is soft to the touch. We had fun sliding down the hills, watching the dog dig holes and simply taking in the views. If I were to do this again I would arrive at 8am or 9am and enjoy the cooler hours. We have also heard the sunsets are stunning.

From White Sands we continued west towards the cliff dwellings. We drove to Silver City, New Mexico and then headed north through Pinos Altos. The road from there to the campground was crazy. It was 16 miles of reasonably steep, but amazingly twisty road. Signs indicate that the road is for two way traffic, but too narrow for a center line. The signs indicating an upcoming switchback were u-turn signs. There were several switchbacks where we had to take the entire road and hope there was no oncoming traffic. We came around one of these and there was a Prius with two women in the front seats and they looked scared to death. We later learned that approaching more from the east is a much easier drive, but not nearly as fun.

After the road became wider, straighter, and flatter we found Forks Campground. It’s a big rather primitive free campground where each site has a fire pit, but no table. It was completely deserted and perfect for us, and much better than where we were headed. We took a pull-through spot near, but above the river with a great view of the cliffs to the east.

We setup camp and then headed north towards the Gila Hot Springs Campground. This is a private campground with only a few sites and poor access for any trailer over about 20′. However, for $5 a person you can soak in the hot spring water. The owners have created three natural looking pools on the shore of the river that they pump hot spring water into. Some of the pools have sunshades over them, while others have clear views of the night sky. The pools were clean, clear and about 102 degrees or so. These were a fun discovery!

The next morning we again travelled north, but this time to the Gila Cliff Dwelling National Monument. We looked through the visitors center and then took the short hike to the cliff dwellings. The volunteers at the dwellings were informative and fun to talk to. Our son was excited that they knew something about the local lizards that he caught on the way up the trail.

After our hike wetook a drive in search of diesel for our truck. We ended up having to drive one hour down the canyon before we found a station. By this time the 36 gallon tank was nearly empty. We put just over 35 gallons in the tank and were thankful we didn’t wait any longer. We were low on fuel when we started up the canyon the night before, but decided to take a chance. Bad idea! Lesson learned, before heading up the last stretch of road before camping, GET FUEL!

With the truck full of fuel we headed back to camp. We filled our water toys, tube, etc. and head down to the river. The river was wonderfully warm and had great pools to play in. We floated down baby rapids and had a great afternoon.

After dinner that evening we made a fun discovery. We were sitting out under the stars and for some reason I turned on my flashlight and pointed it upwards. This attracted insects into the cone of light which in turn attracted bats. It was very fun to see bats in flight, up close, feeding and illuminated. I’m looking forward to trying this on future trips.

The next morning we awoke, packed, ate breakfast and headed south and then west to the Sedona, Arizona area. While we had many great experiences on this trip, I think the Gila National Forest area was my favorite because it had points of interest, a nice campground, the weather was great and there were no crowds anywhere. I’d love to come back to this area.

NightsTotal NightsMilesTotal Miles
2452464706

Saddle Campground, New Mexico

On July 23, 2017 we arrived at Saddle Campground near Cloudcroft, New Mexico. This was one of our few one night stays, but we wanted to get back to high altitude, where it is cooler, and begin our journey west towards home. We didn’t have mixed feelings about turning towards home, we simply wanted to keep traveling.

While heading up towards Cloudcroft, road signs repeatedly warned us about steep canyon roads and the difficulty they pose for trucks. Our experience was that New Mexico over warns motorists, but I guess it is better to be safe than sorry.

Saddle Campground is at 9000 feet and when we pulled in a thunderstorm was brewing. We leveled the trailer and left it connected to the truck. I always use the front trailer jack to lift the truck and trailer to simplify the sway bar connection, but I had never done it to level the trailer for an overnight stay with the truck attached. It seemed to work great with no noticeable degradation to the jack.

I started a fire so we could cook brats for dinner before the heavy rain came. We cooked and ate watching lightning and listening to the thunder rumble its way up the mountains and through the canyons. Not much rain fell and we enjoyed a nice cool evening. The campground was sparsely populated and the sites were reasonably well spaced. There were plenty of trees for shade and beauty. Our site was a pull through that had a nice table and fire ring just down the hill. It seemed like a great place with much to offer in the area. We plan to return someday.

NightsTotal NightsMilesTotal Miles
1431314460