Navajo Lake State Park

A couple of weeks ago we ventured to Navajo Lake State Park. We spent the weekend camping and playing in the lake. It turned out to be a great place and everyone had a wonderful time! The park is actually quite big, with quite a drive from one end to the next. We camped on Sims Mesa, but we also drove down to the dam to see the San Juan River. The San Juan is supposed to have some of the best fly fishing in New Mexico. Next time we go, we will camp on the San Juan so Rob can get up early and fly fish.

This visit was more water play than fishing. We took the kick boats out, the kids played in the water, and the boys even found a great rock about 15 feet up that they jumped off over and over again.

Many years ago, Rob challenged me to stick my head under water in the Willamette River. I was hesitant at first, but eventually did it. Boy, was it cold! The San Juan was cold as well, so I double-dog dared Rob to stick his head under. To my surprise, he did! (I guess one never can resist a double-dog dare!) That got the kids all interested, so after an offer of $5 each, the did it as well. It was fun and cold and now I owe quite a bit of money for various challenges!

It was a great weekend get-away and we look forward to going back. There are so many great places to camp and fish that we rarely hit the same place twice, but Navajo Lake and the San Juan River will definitely be an exception.

Weekend at the Lake

It is hard to believe it is the end of May already. This year is just flying by! Last year we did not make it out for as much camping as we would have liked, so this year we decided to get a better start. For Memorial Day weekend, we made our way to Morphy Lake State Park. It is a small lake a little over two hours from here. The water level is really low due to lack of snow this winter, but that did not stop people from heading out to fish. The lake was quite crowded every day that we were there.

We set up camp on Friday and spent three nights. We spent the weekend fishing and playing on the boats. The kids caught crawdads and frogs, even some baby fish. It was a great relaxing way to spend the weekend.

Everyone had a wonderful time and we are looking forward to heading out again. Unfortunately, a lot of campgrounds are now closed due to extreme fire danger. Hopefully we will get some good rain soon.

I have some catching up to do on the blog, but since pictures will not load with our poor internet at home, I have to come to town to get it done. It is my goal to get all caught up within the next week or so. I guess late is always better than never!

For now, though, here are some pictures from our weekend. 🙂 Hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

Nathan was the first to catch a fish!

It was quite muddy, so everything, fish included, ended up brown…

This one was determined to catch the most fish on day 1, which he did. He caught 6.

Camping fish fry!

Nathan loves sleeping in his hammock when we go camping.

Pecos National Historical Park

Pecos National Historical Park is only about 70 miles from our house, so I am little embarrassed to admit that it has taken us two years to finally make it there. We pass it all the time on the way to wrestling tournaments or football games, but we never really have time to stop. On our way home from Kansas, we finally took the time. It was a great history lesson with a chance to stretch our legs for a bit.

Ruins

My crazy kids are photo-bomb happy…

I think if they heard “Hey, let me take your picture!” one more time, they would have hog-tied me and left me along the road somewhere…

A little over an hour after Leaving Pecos NHS, we arrived back home. As fun as it is to take trips, it is always nice to get back home. I am pretty sure the kitties were happy to see us! Charbie had fun out exploring with us, but I think even he was happy to have his favorite lounge spots back. Only two days left, and then it was back to school for the kids. There are just two months remaining in the school year, which seems hard to believe, but apparently time really has gone that fast.

Time to start planning our next adventure!

Dodge City and Beyond

We got up in the morning and walked around downtown Dodge City a little bit. We stopped into the Visitor’s Center and checked out an antique shop I had read about. It is definitely the off season because it was pretty quiet. The Visitor’s Center has a map for people to put pins in their home towns. Each month has a different colored pin, and there were not many locations pinned yet. We were showed the map from last year and it was filled! As it was, we were just the second pin in the state of New Mexico, the first being in Albuquerque.

A fun sign we found on the way to Dodge City.

Kansas Countryside

Dodge City

Dodge City

After lunch we decided to hit the zoo. The Wright Park Zoo is very small but cute, right in the middle of town. It is free to visit, but they do accept donations. We always enjoy visiting the animals, and this little zoo was the perfect place to do that.

It is true what they say about the wind never stopping in Kansas. It blew and blew the entire time we were there, well, except for a few minutes at Fort Larned when the flag was practically still. That probably does not happen very often! We had a wonderful time, though, and western Kansas is beautiful. (I am a sucker for farmland and cows.) Our plan was to start driving towards home until we found a nice place to camp for the night. That happened not too far inside New Mexico at Clayton Lake State Park. It was a great place to spend the evening.

After a good night’s rest, we would head for home in the morning.

 

Exploring Kansas

We had originally planned on staying at the same campground for our entire stay in Kansas, but ended up deciding against that. It turned out to be a good decision, because after a couple hours of driving across the state, we did not really want to go all the way back to where we had started the day.

Packing up camp.

Our first stop was Pawnee Rock. This was the half-way point on the Santa Fe Trail. It is basically a small mound out in the middle of flat farmland. They have built a small monument on the hilltop now, and you can see for miles and miles in every direction.

Pawnee Rock

Liam actually let me take his picture…

Once again, we appear to be all alone…

From Pawnee Rock, we continued down the highway for about 7 miles or so until we came to Fort Larned National Historic Site. We pulled into the parking lot at about 4:20, hoping that they were going to be open until 5pm. As it turns out, they close at 4:30. We ran to the Visitor’s Center to get a pin and a stamp in our passport, assuming that would be all we had time for. We were all prepared to simply admire the grounds on the walk back to the car, but we were invited to go along with the Ranger as he locked up for the night. We thought we would simply be able to peek inside the buildings as he locked up, but he ended up giving us a personal tour! We did not end up leaving the park until 5:45pm. They closed at 4:30pm. That was completely unexpected, and we couldn’t be more grateful!

Names etched into the walls.

Sleeping quarters. Two men to each bunk level, head to foot.

Special punishment for the really bad guy. They put Nathan in there…

From there, we drove to Dodge City. There was a campground we were going to check out, but it turns out Dodge City is a much larger town that we had anticipated. Not very comfortable tent camping in an unfamiliar city, we opted for a hotel for the night. We stayed dry during the night rain, and after a nice hot shower, we were all refreshed and ready to go explore Dodge City in the morning.

Fort Union National Monument

We stopped at Fort Union on our way home from Oklahoma. It was an abbreviated visit since we still had to make our way home, but it was a great stop. Fort Union served as a frontier outpost. The history of the fort, which was built three different times, is quite interesting, even though it was only in operation for a short time. We had not really planned it that way, but our trip to Oklahoma turned out to be a lesson in the Santa Fe Trail!

The hospital

The jail

Autograph Rock

Autograph Rock was an important camp site along the Santa Fe Trail because of year-round water. People began carving their names in the sandstone and many of them are still there today. Autograph Rock now sits on private property so you do need permission to see it, but that is easily done, and the rock is definitely worth the stop if you ever find yourself in the Oklahoma panhandle.

A wagon train owner, F.B.Delgado carved his name on several occasions.

Our W.C.Harper was really excited to find another W.C.Harper on the rock!