Day 11 – Cloudcroft, Sunspot and Ruidoso

This morning was so beautiful!  After yesterday’s wind and dust, morning came with clear blue skies and a nice gentle breeze.  Scott and I woke up and relaxed a little.  By 10 we were on the road.

First stop was the town of Cloudcroft.  To get an idea of what we’re doing, Alamogordo is at about 4,500 feet above sea level, and is situated on the eastern slopes of the Sacramento Mountains, at the edge of the Tularosa Basin.  The road to Cloudcroft climbs 16 miles in to the Sacramento Mountains to an elevation of 8,600 feet.  It’s quite a climb!

Once again, on arrival we discovered that a lot of it’s sites are still closed for the winter.  But we strolled along it’s boardwalk and visited a couple of it’s shops.

Cloudcroft, NM, Main Street
Cloudcroft, NM, Main Street

 

From Cloudcroft, we headed south through the Sacramentos to Sunspot.  I’m actually not sure there’s a real town there.  What IS there is a major Solar Observatory.  This is located at a whopping 9,200 feet above sea level.  When you get this high up, you notice it!  Well, Scott and I sure did… and I did probably a bit more than Scott.  We walked around the grounds, about maybe 1/2 mile.  And let me tell you, it felt like 3 miles!

Solar Telescope at Sunspot
Solar Telescope at SunspotInside one of the Solar observatoriesMural at Visitor Center at Solar Observatory
The view on the road up to and back down from the Observatory is spectacular.  At several spots along the road you can see much of the Tularosa Basin.  One stark landmark that stands out is White Sands National Monument.
Tularosa Basin with White Sands in background
Tularosa Basin with White Sands in backgroundTularosa and White Sands
After leaving Sunspot, Scott and I returned to Cloudcroft for a late lunch then drove to Ruidoso.  Along the way I was struck by this site:
Sierra Blanco
Sierra Blanco
Sierra Blanco means White Mountain.  It stands 12,000 feet above sea level.  It got it’s name because until very recently, it was snow capped much of the year, and in fact it was frequently snow covered ALL year.  But, you know, there’s no such thing as global warming, and so the drought down here isn’t really happening.  It seems hard for me to accept the denial of climate change when I look at this mountain and see it devoid of snow… IN MARCH.
So, anyhow, Scott and I drove on into Ruidoso and spent an hour walking up and down it’s shopping district.
We’re home now… and OMG! It’s time for us to get to his folks house for dinner, so ta ta!!!!!

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