Rockhound State Park, New Mexico
Our first sunset, and only one with this much sun at Rockhound State Park. We just wanted quiet after three months of cities. San Diego, Tucson and Ensenada. The sound of traffic, and military aircraft had become pretty tiring, we longed for peace, and we got it, almost;) At an elevation of 4230′ this small, 29 site, park we had heard could be hard to find a spot at. We cruised in, “Campground Full” read the sign, but we have learned that camp personnel often leave it up, when there are spots, and we were around noon so kept our fingers crossed. We circled around, nothing…but the camp host came trotting out and said “Hey, I have a three sites in the group camping area with water and electric if you want one of those!” BINGO! He drove us back to the group area and we backed up onto a large concrete pad beside the pavilions for groups and settled in. Connie, the camp host was a warm, friendly character and you could tell he liked his job and was good at it. Before the day was done he had two others backed in beside us, fairly close, but hey, we had a spot!
All around us poppies were blooming, birds were chirping. We had the sad misfortune to have a trailer with two loud and obnoxious small boys in it that scared the crap out of the traveling Mewberries, they know danger when they see it, but we were careful when we took them out to explore:) The kind of kids that throw rocks, at out truck, yup, that didn’t go over well, and were generally just small louts…sigh…humans….
This is a small park, 1100 acres, located 7 miles southeast of Deming. It is named for the abundance of minerals in the area, and visitors can search for quartz crystals, geodes, jasper, perlite, and many other minerals, and take them! By the bucket I could see, but I think there is a 15 lb limit per person. OK, I only filled my pockets a few times;) Here is a link to a geological tour of the park! It was the flowers and several new species of birds that caught my eye!
The thunder egg trail is a .6 mile hike up above the campground and back to it in a semi circle. Here butterflies were flitting, Clouded Sulphurs and Cabbage Whites, and Pipevine Swallowtail I think. I only captured a photo of one, and am not even sure what it is! Birds sang from the bushes. A Canyon Towhee was really belting out a song looking for love;)
The washes were full of poppies and patches higher on the hill stood out as yellow splashes! I had put my bird and hummingbird feeder out after I saw a female Costa’s looking at the red parts of our ladder. Sadly I didn’t see her come back. Several Say’s Phoebes were building nests in the pavilion overhangs and bird song could be heard all around. Delightful! I sat my chair up and just watched and listened to the sounds from the bushes and prickly bits (Cats words) surrounding us. Phoebes, Doves, Black Throated Sparrows and a Pyrrhuloxia stopped by.
Another trail leads from the campground to the visitor center at the entrance. The night before I’d seen a mule deer at the top of the hill so decided to wander down that path for a look. A lizard was sunbathing and a whole other trove of wildflowers lined the path! Indigo Bush, Rattlesnake Weed, all kinds of new names and flowers for me!
Along the path to the visitor center a cheeky Cactus Wren was building her nest. I sat on a rock and watched her until she said enough was enough and went off to sing from another rock. The visitor center is worth a stop in. Local history and artifacts as well as rocks and gem stones, geodes and other fancy bits of earth:)
The new examples of wildflowers were fabulous. I am so used to my 5000′ elevation Baja flowers so many of these were different. Some were familiar but many, just beautiful examples of Mother Nature, all along a half mile trail! I posted some on inaturalist to try to get some id’s as I was quite stumped, even after gazing at hundreds of photos…eyes glassing over! Whew! There are so many!!!
We made a trip into Deming on our last day to diesel up and a trip to the grocery store, it was delightfully Mexican in nature:) No panic buying apparent…yet…it was a friendly grocery store, funny, you can tell when staff are happy:) Peppers Grocery store, made me feel right at home, make sure you stop by here for supplies!
Our three days and nights here was just what we needed to unwind. It was a delightful stop. Not as majestic as City of Rocks but the little Florida Mountains to the South were pretty spectacular. They are a day use area and we ran out of time:(…next stop, on our way back in the Fall!
Stay tuned amigos, we have another New Mexico State Park to explore before we get evicted;)