A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Beans Goes Caving


Down in the ravine close by are some shallow caves in the limestone cliff.

Beans knows they are down there and wants to go all the time.

While she was exploring I found this prickly pear cactus growing right out of the rock.

That was fun Dad.  Thanks.

Time to move on east some more.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Fort Stanton - Snowy River Cave


Between Capitan and Lincoln, New Mexico

After we settled in I got on Google Maps to see where this cave was located.  Seems that we drove right by it when we came in and didn’t even notice.

As you can see, they don’t want anyone going in there.

They are really serious about keeping you out.

And here is why.  It is for the protection of the bats that live within the cave who are vulnerable to White Nose Syndrome.

This is a fungus that is deadly to bats.  They become infected with it while hibernating and millions of bats have succumbed to the disease as it spreads to the membrane covering their wings.  It is believed that the fungus can be spread from cave to cave by humans with fungal spores on their clothing.  I whole heartedly support the closing of caves to protect the bats.  I don’t support the closing of showers.  

This cave is quite impressive in that it is over 42 miles long making it the 11th longest cave in the U.S. and the 43rd longest in the world.  Approximately 35 miles have been mapped.  Think about that.  Mapping 35 miles on foot on the ground out of doors.  Now do that underground in the dark.

I like going into caves.  I like coming out of caves even more.

Indian paintbrush

Yellow yarrow

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Cave Canyon


We left Valley of Fires for Cave Canyon less than an hour’s drive east.  

It is a nice little campground, only five campsites (just one tenter besides us) and no COVID-19 silliness to contend with.  At 6100 feet in elevation (1860 meters) it is quite pleasant.

We even have wildflowers here.

Annual phlox

Prairie verbena

Saturday, May 1, 2021

The Lava Field


We vowed to not grumble too much about the silliness of closed showers while we took the nature walk through the lava field.

The lava oozed out of the ground five thousand years ago.

Kind of amazing these plants can survive out of cracks in the lava.

There are no volcanos or cinder cones.  The ground just split open.

This Juniper tree is five hundred years old.
Mindless morons carved their initials on it.
Just thought you’d like to know.

See The Little House on the Highway up there?
This is on the road from the tent only area where there were only two tenters.
They have to pay $7 and don’t get to take a shower either.

View from my dining room window.
Our next destination is up in those mountains somewhere.

Friday, April 30, 2021

We Came For The Showers


Valley of Fires Recreation Area, Carrizozo, New Mexico

Absurd!  It is a Federal agency so what else can you expect besides absurdity?

So too were closed the restrooms but the pit toilets were open.  COVID-19 cannot survive a pit toilet building. Nor can it survive on the numerous water faucets scattered about the campground.  Oh the things you can learn on this blog.

Nope.  No COVID-19 here.

Camp fee for hookups was $12 ($18 with water and electric).  Day use fee is $3 for one person in vehicle, $5 with two people.  So it stands to reason that being denied the pleasure of taking a shower and flushing a toilet that one can deduct $3 or $5 from their camp fee, no?

We grumbled a lot after successfully getting two of the only five non-hookup sites.

But Beans likes it here, so that’s okay.

Be careful sweetie.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Our Old Friend the Rio Grande


We are very near (about one hundred yards) the Rio Grande again here at Bosque del Apache.  Unlike before where the river was somewhat clear edged with slimy goo and green yuck here it is fast moving and muddy with silt.

This could be why for in the opposite direction about a quarter mile away is an irrigation canal.

Somewhere upstream the water is being siphoned off for farmlands.

There was a lot more bird life to be seen at our other camp.  Here we’ve seen just a few squawking ducks. Evidently the water will get so low that one can drive across in a ATV for there is a pathway through the trees on the other side.

I was standing by the water’s edge when a coyote came out from the brush unaware of my presence.  He trotted right out onto the mudflat coming directly at me and then stopped at the edge of the water.  Only then did he see me.  We just stared at each other for a long time.  It wasn’t until I slowly raised my phone to take a picture that he turned tail and ran back from where he came.

I am so used to seeing scrawny desert coyote that I honestly thought “Is that a wolf...no, it must be someone’s dog.”  He was a very healthy full-bodied coyote.  They are beautiful animals but most people don’t see them in that way.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Beans News


Seeing our new site had a table was one of the first things I noticed.  I could now rewrap Beans’ scratching post.  The rope doesn’t quite hold up for a year.  She’s brutal on it.

It takes fifty feet of rope to wrap the pole.  I mistakenly bought 3/8ths inch rope this time instead of half inch.  We will see how long it lasts.

It takes awhile to wrap the pole and Beans was going through withdrawls.  She went right to it when I put it back in under the table.  This is a pole that I bought for Sinbad when I first got him back in 1999.
He went through the carpet in no time and from then I redid the pole with rope.

Beans isn’t much for cat toys so I cleared them out from under the table.  We gave three to Louie that were like new and had feathers on them.  Louie likes feathers we’re told.  This cloth packet of catnip has been around since early Sinbad days.  He never showed any interest in it.  Neither did Beans.  I took it apart.  Well no wonder!!  The catnip was in a plastic bag inside the cloth bag.  That was stupid.

Later that day I went outside for my cup of tea.  I forgot about the catnip leaving it on the table.
I came back in to this.  Oops.

There is a story behind this photo that Amanda took.  Back at Rio Grande River camp Amanda saw a gopher pushing dirt out from a new burrow.  I took Beans over there hoping she’d see the dirt moving.  Well I should have stepped more lightly as the gopher sensed the vibrations in the ground and stopped his work and Beans never saw it.  Here I am setting her down close to the hole.

These are the husks from the seed pods that open up revealing the purple flower (center of photo) of the Rio Grande Cottonwood trees around us.  The husks are sticky and cling to the bottom of flip-flops and cat paws.  The cats walk along shaking their paws trying to dislodge them with little luck.  Back inside I got Beans down to remove these sticky things.  She is NOT happy about it.  Lots of growling and some hissing erupts.  Rather than risk serious injury (to myself, not her) I gave up.  We don’t walk in the leaves and brush anymore.  We stick to the dirt roads.  She’s not happy with that either.  Tough!

Monday, April 26, 2021

Our Woodland Camp


I left Exit 92 Camp early as I needed to go into Socorro (still in New Mexico) an hour north for supplies.  Meanwhile Amanda left soon after to look for a place to stay in the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge just south of Socorro.  This is what she found for us.

This is so nice.  What a change of scenery.  Look trees!!
Even a picnic table made in 1999 by the Youth Conservation Corps.

Back in there above that post are three deer bedded down.  
They stayed there for a long time until Louie ventured in a bit too close.

Yep, Beans likes this place.

Going to sleep with crickets chirping and waking up to woodpeckers pecking is simply lovely.

A wonderful change for us.