Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Elephant Butte State Park
Elephant Butte Lake has always been a point of destination for many of our toy hauler RV friends here in the Albuquerque area but last week was my first visit after living in New Mexico for seventeen years. Oh I knew it was there but Loretia and I intentionally avoided it because of all the Texas and New Mexico residence that migrated there for long weekends… and assuming that it wouldn’t be able to entertain people without water toys a pleasant time. Contrary, after a quick visit with friends we concluded that it had plenty of potential for dining and entertainment between the towns of Elephant Butte and Truth or Consequences, not to mention opening up an area for exploration that had eluded us so far. We booked a site at the state park along the shores of the lake and spent four day last week. Not on the lake per say, like all the weekend warriors that primitive camp on the actual current shoreline, but at the nearest sites with 30 watt electric and water hookups. Having a beautiful overlook to most of the lake and being clean and well maintained it was one of our best experiences in a New Mexico state park.
Our Jeep toad came in handy for exploring the beaches and the east and west shore overlooks, but the biggest treat was that Elephant Butte Lake is strategically located for exploring the National Scenic Byways of Geronimo’s trail and the Black Mountains. We spent three days visiting historic towns like Winston and Chloride, Hillsboro, Kingston and the ghost town of Lake Valley (the location of Bridal Chamber silver mine, one of the richest veins of silver ever discovered). With all the recent rain, some of the roads were a bit rough from being washed out but riding on them was a small price to pay for the very green landscape and abundance of wild flowers. There’s so much to see that several trips there wouldn’t do this area justice. The only setback in exploring on weekdays is that most of the museums and historic buildings were locked with a sign saying open on the door. In spite of that this area reeks with New Mexico history and doesn’t need a guide to enjoy.
By Thursday afternoon, the State park at Elephant Butte begins its weekend invasion with clusters of people from El Paso and Albuquerque caravanning RV’s and toys to their favorite spots even if you’re occupying it, so if you’re like Loretia and I, you’ll book accordingly.