Part 15: Taos, NM and Cimmaron Camp


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The Trip

We had a good night at El Rito, rain notwithstanding. We broke camp and headed for Taos and Casa Benavides. The photos below are what we saw.

We had encountered so many hay-seed hillbilly types that I figured that it was better to join them than fight them. The grass stem was the first step in the transformation. But, in the end, the transformation was incomplete as I was unwilling to give up my front teeth.

In the morning light, the cliffs above our camp at El Rito were clearly visible.

As we hit the small hamlet of El Rito, we spotted this hay rake used in the baling process.

To get to Taos, we had to cross the Rio Grande canyon. Our path was a dirt road that descended the steep cliffs.

At the bottom of the gorge, the road went right along the Rio Grande. Here, the water was clear and reasonably warm.

These yellow flowers were blooming everywhere.

As we entered Taos from the south we got this awesome view of the Rio Grande gorge.

We had stayed at the Casa Benavides before, so we knew what was coming. This is a great place. I love this style of architecture.

The patio had nice flagstone flooring.

Each of the room were in out buildings separate from the main structure.

The main area was nicely appointed with a cool flagstone fireplace.

They had nice artwork on the walls.

Another shot of the main area.

The dining room was used for breakfast. They served a great spread with fresh baked breads, home made granola, fresh fruit and New Mexico egg casserole with your choice of green or red chili.

That night, we had dinner at Taos' only four star restaurant "Joseph's Tables". Above, we conned the waitress into taking a photo before the dinner was served. The food was great.

From Taos, we headed north to Costilla, then east back into the high country of the Sangre de Christo range. Our destination was Cimmaron Camp at about 9500 feet. Above, the road ran next to a great trout stream. There were many fly fishermen out trying their luck.

We passed this interesting volcanic plug.

Higher in the mountains, we came upon broad meadows rich with thick grass.

These high meadows seemed to go on forever.

Big surprise, weather is coming. Same thing every day.

We finally reached Cimmaron Camp. Our site came with plenty of wood and we would use it all. Next morning, we would break camp and head east toward Raton, NM to see another Unimog buddy.

On the eastern side of the Sangre de Christo there were large meadows, but they were not as lush as the west side. The weather moves west to east, so most of the rain is dropped on the western flanks of the mountain.

The camp host had a dog that had the ATV all figured out. We saw him riding on the front "at speed" and handled it well.

A bit closer to Raton, we came into a large burn area. This area was just south of Ted Turner's 600,000 acre "Vermejo Park Ranch".

We had a great time. Taos was a real treat. Casa Benavides is a great place: each room is different and is decorated in the local style. Our room, the "Flagstone Room" was a suite with flagstone floors and a bathroom that had hand painted spanish tile. A stark contrast to the sparse accommodations of our camper. If you ever get to Taos, you should check it out.

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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2008, all rights reserved.
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.