Valle Vidal, NM ~ McCrystal Campground ~ Carson National Forest

July 1 ~ 9, 2009

by Redhorse

       Original plans were to ascend on the Resumidero campsite near Coyote, NM. Media reports just days prior to departure announced that 16,000 (not a typo!) members of "Rainbow Family"  were going to be within 15 miles of our camp. Not wanting to disrupt this hippy movement's pleasures with our cowboy ways, we opted to relocate.

       Our new destination was Valle Vidal (Valley of Life) area in Northern New Mexico. It is nestled between Taos and Raton, near the Colorado border. It is 100,000 acres of pristine land with wildlife, primitive camping, and beautiful scenery. It is like taking a trip back 100 years into the wild west.

         This writer got a good report from her doctor regarding suspect tests, and it was time to commit to the New Mexico adventure! With hubby Bob still wrapping up a 3 mos. project in Australia, I handed off our Lab, Miss Daisy to Aunt Sissy, then Luke and I headed northwest!

       The riders gathered at Misty & Brian and Megan Valdez's home in Clovis, NM. Riders included Terry, Ann and Hannah Brock; Christina Miller & Terry Svehlak, all from the Austin area. Ed Moore from Ralls, TX and Redhorse from Flower Mound, TX.

        Our leaders, Misty Valdez and Terry & Ann Brock, had camped at McCrystal Campground before, and knew the trails well. The 29 miles of rough road through Ted Turner's Ranch to camp was a challenge and surprisingly only caused one flat on a truck. Actually, Christina Martin claims she had two flats; removing and replacing the tire.

       Meals were of the 5-star variety. Pork chops, steaks, ribs, breakfast burritos, "Bull's Eye" eggs and Dutch oven cobblers! Misty's dutchoven talents even had cinnamon rolls at breakfast! Connoisseur Chef Ed whipped out the best guacamole dip that ever grabbed ahold of a chip and the best strawberry spread that ever nestled between whipped cream and shortcake!

       Our first day on the trail took us past the Ring Place Ranch and we no sooner got spread out in a nice valley when we noticed we had a black bear on our right flank. He wanted no part of those jabbering trailriders and was trying to hustle away from us.

       We celebrated July 4th with red, white & blue visors and lights hung among the pines.  What better way to celebrate is there than enjoying the freedom to ride our horses in this beautiful National Forest?  It was the best way to celebrate the 60th birthday for this writer, on the 6th, too!

       Luke & Redhorse jumped 7.5 ft. of an 8 ft. creek and resulted in pulling a tendon and some trick riding, respectively. We missed some good riding but enjoyed some fine camping and fellowship. 

      There were some moderate evening showers and light showers or mist while riding. The area was rich in wildflowers and near belly-high grasses on the horses. The creeks were running and Megan & Hannah landed and released many trout.

       The Valdez and Brock crews moved on to Jack's Camp for more riding on Tuesday. Ed & Sandy Moore graciously hosted "Jumpy", Dr. "T" and Redhorse overnight in Ralls, TX, during our travels home. We were introduced to other trailriders and shared a fine BBQ rib dinner at their home.  We will be sharing the trails with these fine folks again soon.

       Enjoy the Photo Galleries covering our New Mexico Adventure.  Photos are provided by Ann Brock and Redhorse.  Others will be added as received.

Photo Galleries below:

Click on photo to enlarge ~ right click to copy them.


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