Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Springtime Campground- Cibola National Forest

Springtime Campground, June 1999,
Only photo I could find from that ill- fated trip.

Springtime Campground, on the southeast edge of the Apache Kid Wilderness,was our first forest camping destination after moving to New Mexico. After exiting I 25  followed by a brief leg on NM 85, it was long rough drive on FR 225 to finally get there. The campground seemed nice enough, a walk in set-up with a few Adirondack shelters and  some other sites, beyond a small parking area. There was a corral a short distance away as well. School had just let out, so it had to have been late May or early June. It was hot. We were at 7400 feet. The campground was  shady, but it was hot. It was humid as well,but seemed unlikely to rain. There wasn't a hint of  breeze either. Then there were the flies. They covered everything while we tried to eat. They covered us as well. The number of flies in that campground was truly astounding.Nothing we tried had any effect on deterring them, although they were easy enough to kill .  We hiked a short ways up FT 43, and played on the huge boulders,but our dogs were soon exhausted in the heat and the stream that ran along side the trail was dry of course.
   That night it was almost impossible to sleep in the still air inside our tents. The next day we opted for a drive to kill time during the heat of the day. We drove south on  FR 225 first to Luna Park and then on  to FR 139 down to  Monticello.  It's hard to explain what these  roads are like. They are more than enough to make flatlanders, city folk, and my mom( who wasn't with us and who has more than small problem with heights) weep. We drove on  from Monticello to Cuchillo,buying ice, eating ice cream and looking around the old store( which is no longer there). We must've headed back to the highway  making the drive into  a big loop.
    We were back on FR 225 heading toward our camp when it happened- a flat. This wouldn't have been that big of a deal except for the fact that when we found the hiding place of the jack, we discovered there was no lug wrench. We had just bought the Isuzu Rodeo( used) we were driving a few weeks before and hadn't bothered to check for this essential little piece of equipment, and really who would? Well, I do now, even  when buying a new vehicle, I check to see where everything is stored and that everything is there. We ended up using the fix a flat, even though the tire was really too far gone, turned around and began driving to  T or C to buy a new tire and a lug wrench. We could tell the tire was  running too low, but we were determined to make it anyway. While driving along on NM 85, parallel and within sight of I 25, a man on the interstate, obviously seeing  the danger of our extremely low tire, began signalling to us. He met us at the next exit, and with his lug wrench and jack, helped us change the tire. In T or C we had a new tire put on the only slightly bent rim,bought an extra jack and lug wrench and stayed the night at the Los Arcos Motel with it's wrought iron  70's swag decor. We called the Magdalena Ranger to explain that we had  left our stuff  at the campsite,but weren't there. I'm not sure what we were worried about- no one  goes out there anyway. I'm sure he was puzzled too.
     The next day we drove out to Springtime packed our stuff and were on our way to the second leg of our trip: Pennsylvania Canyon over in the Lincoln National Forest.  We got to pay back  the kindness showed to us by that man on the highway within the year when we gave a  jumpstart to a  couple  that we just happened upon, stranded on a side road.  They were a long walk from anywhere out on the Rim Road about 10 miles  south of High Rolls in the Sacramentos. Other lessons learned:  If you're going to camp from May to September in New Mexico either head for the northern half of the state or make sure you're up high, like 8,500 feet and above, or be near some water.

1 comment:

Mrs. Manley said...

This is the ideal "Fine and Pleasant Misery". You'll never forget it!