Agua Piedra Campground, New Mexico

On July 18, 2017 we left South Meadows Campground at about 8:30 in the morning and headed south to Agua Piedra Campground, located in northern New Mexico. This stretch took us about 4.5 hours.

The Agua Piedra Campground is located off of Highway 518. You enter the campground by crossing over a small bridge that crosses the Pueblo Rio. There are three main areas for camping. The first area is where the camp host and administrator, whatever that is, camp and was quite full of RVs parked pretty close together. The next portion of the campground is made up of two loops, A and B. Loop A is closer to the Agua Piedra Creek and is reasonable for RVs. Loop B is up a fairly steep hill, the sites have small pull-ins, and is best for tent campers. We chose site 25 in loop A because it was large enough, easy to back the trailer into and away from others. The site was right on the creek and had a very nice fire pit and table setup. There was also a water spigot just to the east of our site.

My wife and I setup the trailer, got our son comfortably situated and went fishing. On the Agua Piedra Creek my wife caught several two inch fish, but all I caught was some shrubs, bushes, tree limbs, etc. She nearly always out fishes me! We followed the creek down to its confluence with the Pueblo Rio and then walked up this larger stream. There were many beautiful holes and we each caught several reasonable fish.

The next morning we arose and travelled to New Mexico River Adventures near Dixon, New Mexico on Highway 68. There were quite a few people at the meeting place, but the three of us ended up on a raft with our guide, Cody, and a former guide, Karen, along for the ride. Cody was great and Karen was crazy in a fun way. The river wasn’t high, but the rapids were still fun and just the right size for our skill level. The Rio Grande was warm and comfortable to swim in. We’re use to cold Utah rivers and were pleasantly surprised when we were invited to swim and found it surprisingly enjoyable despite its color.

Along the way we stopped on the shore and had a snack / lunch consisting of watermelon, chips, salsa and Oreos. The salsa was great and the chips really hit the spot.

While we’re away from the trailer on adventures like river rafting, visiting national parks, etc. we put our dog, Leo, in a kennel in the trailer. We ensure the day will be cool, open windows, etc. to keep him comfortable and safe . While he’s not a big fan of being caged up, we figure its better than returning to find screens torn, furniture ruined or doors scratched. He seems to do just fine.

After our river rafting experience we returned to the campground, our son watched movies in the trailer and we went fishing on the Pueblo Rio from the campground bridge upstream. We caught many Rainbow Trout between 12 and 14 inches in length. We were using our Euro Nymphing rods and some olive green colored nymphs. It was great fun.

The next morning we travelled to Taos, New Mexico. Everything in the town is constructed and decorated to look like a pueblo. This includes small stores, houses, churches, etc. Even the large Smith’s grocery store follows the style. It actually all works well because they strictly keep to the look. It’s clearly a tourist sort of shopping mecca, but was fun.

Our primary purpose for visiting Taos was to see and explore the Taos Pueblo. The Taos Pueblo is an area of Taos where the original Taos Pueblo people settled and where they still live in much the same way they did more than a thousand years ago. Some of the Pueblos are over 1100 years old and people still live in them. They don’t have electricity or indoor plumbing, but because of cell service they have Internet connectivity. While we were there they were performing maintenance on the church. They were simply mixing the local dirt with water to make mud, included some straw, and smeared it over the existing structure where there were cracks. It was interesting watching their technique. From the appearance of the dirt street in the vicinity, the mud they put on the buildings regularly erodes away with rain and wind.

We took a guided tour, enjoyed learning about their unwritten language, enjoyed some of their food and bought a few souvenirs. Our son purchased a dreamcatcher and asked for a picture of it with its creator. It is now proudly displayed in his room and stretches from nearly the ceiling to the floor.

After Taos we headed back up the canyon to our trailer. We put everything away, hooked up the trailer and left at about 12:30 for our next stop, Carlsbad, New Mexico. As we headed to Carlsbad we saw a scene that seemed to repeat each time we headed to a new location. In the direction we needed to travel there was a thunderstorm on the horizon. The weather was quite good for most of our trip, but it was as if we were guided, we simply had to follow the dark clouds.

As we drove south through New Mexico I started to realize there was absolutely nothing to see between Las Vegas, New Mexico and Carlsbad. It is amazingly flat, arid, and boring.

We arrived at the Carlsbad RV Park and Campground at about 7pm. We pulled in, hooked up to the utilities, and started the AC. We didn’t turn the AC off until we left three days later. We were excited to visit Carlsbad Cavern National Park.

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