Before I made it to New Mexico, I was determined to camp on a BLM (Bureau of Land Management) site that I found on one of my camping APPs. It is sort of a rite of passage for full-timers to camp in the “Boondocks” without any electric or water hookups out in the middle of nowhere, all alone. Often there is no cell phone reception which adds extra anxiety to the situation.
I chose Sheep’s Crossing at Cucharas Canyon (37.80588,-104.590898).
Driving to this incredible place today, I had the opportunity to study the landscape, as I was only able to drive 18-20 mph on washboard gravel roads. The wind was gusting to 40 mph (It’s true! I checked my Wind Alert App), and I was glad that I could only drive at a very slow speed. I crossed 9 cattle guards and drove 21 miles on bone-rattling, dusty county roads and only saw one other vehicle.
The vast landscape of short brown grasses dotted with Pinon Pines, cactus and Yucca is what one would expect from this semi-arid climate. The creek beds are dry at this time of year and so is the air. The wind has been my constant companion for several days and contributes to any moisture in my body being sucked out- including my eyeballs! I have a fine layer of dust that coats my exposed skin and every crevice on both me and my rig.
My view from the top of the craggy hilltop where my RV is parked is worth the trip. Across the floor of the canyon, I can see the dark brown walls rise in the distance. They are eroded from millions of years of rain and the persistent wind that is common in southern Colorado.
The sunset illuminated the the canyon in soft pinks and oranges, but left the mountains to the west shadowed in a bluish hue as the sun dropped behind them.
I settled in for the evening and closed my door at dark feeling comfortable and safe. As I fell asleep, I looked out my window at the night sky filled with stars and the faint outline of the Milky Way.
I awoke the next morning to Quiet. The wind had stopped and the sun was rising over the canyon- it took my breath away!
Gem and I took a nice hike through the canyon and saw many interesting plants, trees, and rocks. There were birds soaring on the wind currents. On our way back, we came across a BIG Rattlesnake lying across the trail-it does get larger the more times that I tell the story to fellow campers around the campfire.
By the time we got back from our hike, any respite from the wind was over. The quiet was gone, even the trees were noisy. It sounds like the ocean, but without the rhythm of the waves. I can feel the grit in my teeth again.
As we headed back down the 21 miles of washboard gravel roads, back across 9 cattle guards, I was struck by a feeling of accomplishment. I had stayed all alone (except for a dog and 3 cats) in the wilderness (of sorts) without electricity ( I did have batteries) and faced down a rattlesnake (that didn’t even move when I came upon it). WOW!
Until next time…..I’m out there on the road….Going with the Flo!