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Jul 30 2018
rwstorm
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 Guides 1
 Routes 123
 Photos 19,594
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71 male
 Joined Feb 28 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Bluff Springs Waterfall, NM 
Bluff Springs Waterfall, NM
 
Scenic Drive avatar Jul 30 2018
rwstorm
Scenic Drive
Scenic Drive
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1st trip
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I started my trip to the Cloudcroft, New Mexico area by spending the first night at the Quality Inn in Deming (220 miles from home) on July 29th. This cut the drive over to Cloudcroft down to about 150 miles the next day. Stopped at the excellent Lowe's Signature Market on 10th Street in Alamogordo for supplies for 3 nights of camping at Cloudcroft on my way. I have been shopping there for years when in the area...just a wonderful grocery store! :)

I arrived in Cloudcroft with plenty of time to do a little exploring, so I stopped at the ranger station and picked up some info on hikes and purchased a new trail guide book for the area. Then drove down the Sunspot Highway and turned off on Upper Rio Penasco Road (C17). This was my first time on that road and it follows the beginnings of the Penasco River downhill to the junction with NM 130. From there I continued on to Mayhill along the river, then headed back up to Cloudcroft on US 82. From there it was a short drive south of town to pick a camp site at Sleepy Grass Campground.

The high point for the day was a stop at Bluff Springs Waterfall which feeds into the Rio Penasco just a few miles down the road from the Sunspot Highway turnoff. There is dispersed camping at various places along the road, along with many sections of private property. Overall, a pleasant scenic drive. One of the many trails in the area starts here and follows an old logging railroad bed to connect with another trail nearby. The elevation at the waterfall is about 8150 feet.

Lots of the trails in this part of the mountains follow old logging railroad routes. Some fascinating history indeed, with ties to Arizona:
foresthistory.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Logging-Railroads-of-the-Lincoln-National-Forest.pdf

The Penasco River continues down the mountain to the east (roughly along US 82 past Hope), finally reaching the Roswell Artesian Basin and the Pecos River south of Artesia. It is one of the major streams in the southern Sacramento Mountains.

It was a fine first day up in the cool mountain air. :D
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Bluff Springs
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WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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