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2015-08-04  
Cimarron Canyon State Park, NM
mini location map2015-08-04
13 by photographer avatarrwstorm
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Cimarron Canyon State Park, NM 
Cimarron Canyon State Park, NM
 
Car Camping avatar Aug 04 2015
rwstorm
Car Camping
Car Camping
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1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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After leaving Las Vegas and heading north on I-25 I headed over to Fort Union National Monument, a place I have wanted to visit for years. I must say it was quite impressive, even if there isn't too much left of it. From there it was on to Cimarron Canyon State Park, where I hoped to be able to camp for the night. I knew there were some nice campgrounds between Red River and Questa (I have camped at Columbine), but it was getting to be late in the day and I wasn't sure if I wanted to drive the northern portion on the Enchanted Circle on my way to Taos anyway. I had only driven Highway 64 east from Eagle Nest one other time years ago, so wasn't too familiar with the area. The first campground in the park coming in from the east was almost full, mostly RVs and trailers, but had some tent sites along the river and on a hillside. They were pretty overgrown and full of poison ivy. I encountered a fisherman coming up from the river and he said there was a bear coming through camp each night trying to get into the garbage cans, etc. He said there were two other main campgrounds as I went west, but also a tent only camping area, and of course that was just what I wanted! Would there be sites available? Yes, only one other camper when I arrived, so I pick a spot and set up right on the bank of the Cimarron River. Yay!

Still had a bit of daylight so I drove west to check out the main park campground where the ranger station is. It was also mostly full. Then I drove to Eagle Nest for some sunset photos by the lake before heading back to camp. A few other folks came in to camp, but it was peaceful with the sound of the river to keep me company. I slept well. :)

Every once in awhile something happens that transforms an otherwise routine situation into a very memorable event. This was one of those instances. I awoke a bit later than usual, it was already light outside, so I got dressed in preparation for going outside and having my morning coffee. It was about 6:15 local time and I was sitting in the tent and unzipped the door. No sooner had I done that than a majestic mountain lion came into view, no more than 8 feet in front of my eyes!! :o He walked right by, never looking at me. Because I was sitting, his head was at the same level as mine. Wow!! He moved from right to left, passing between the tent and the table, then between the table and fire ring, before heading down the bank and crossing the river on a log. He just glided over that log as if floating. Flawless perfection. This entire event occurred in 15 to 20 seconds. I keep my camera in the tent at night, so after the initial shock, I grabbed the camera fired it up and took a shot before he went down the river bank. Whatever the camera was set on from the previous day would have to do. The photo is blurry, but at least I got something from this unexpected, surreal event! :D I have had other lion sightings before, but this one goes straight to the top of the list! :y:

I imagine he heard some of the other campers stirring and my tent zipper as he was walking through and figured it was time to skedaddle! :lol: Whatever the case, I am most grateful for this instant cherished memory! :thanx:

I was on Cloud Nine the rest of the day as I rolled on through Taos, Espanola, and back to Santa Fe for more great food and another night in a motel. :GB:
Fauna
Fauna
Mountain Lion
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
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