After waking up to a beautiful, sunny morning at our spacious campsite at City of Rocks State Park, we decided to make it our home base for a couple of weeks. Our camp hosts and some fellow campers had persuaded us to purchase an annual pass for the New Mexico State parks which meant our non-electric campsite was free. The pass is $225 for non-residents and allows you to stay in any park for free for non-electric sites and only $4 a day for sites with electricity. As we were planning to stay in New Mexico for a while, we figured it would more than pay for itself over time. Francis had several work projects and I had one too so we wanted to stay in one spot for a bit. City of Rocks was perfect because we had a great spot and it was within easy driving distance of Silver City and Deming if we needed anything from town.

It turned out to be a great choice. The weather remained beautiful despite it being late November and our spot got all the sun we needed for our solar panels. We were able to work outdoors in the fresh air every day while enjoying the beautiful scenery. We enjoyed visits with our lovely camp hosts who gave us great advice on other parks and places to visit. We also made friends with some of the other campers. As much as we enjoy each other’s company, it is good to break it up a bit by spending time with other people. Our friend, Mike, often stopped by for a visit and invited us to join him for a hike. We particularly enjoyed meeting the German couple in the next campsite. They joined us for coffee one morning and even brought us spaghetti for lunch the day they were leaving.

When we were not working or relaxing at the campsite we enjoyed exploring the area. We went into Silver City a couple of times to work in one of the many coffee shops in town for a change of pace and to take advantage of the wifi. All the coffee shops were nice and had their own style. We found the people to be extremely friendly and many of them encouraged us to consider making the city our home. We stopped in at the Fry House for dinner to celebrate my birthday and had a great time. Loaded nachos, a glass of wine, and a complimentary fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich combined with great service made it a memorable occasion. The fried PB&J reminded me of the fair food back in North Carolina and it was surprisingly delicious. Deming, which was in the opposite direction from the campground as Silver City, was a good place to stock up on groceries and had a very nice library.

We took a break from work one day to visit the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. On our way there, we stopped at the tiny town of Mimbres and enjoyed a delicious breakfast buffet at 3 Questions Coffee House. The selection, service, and price were all great. The drive from Mimbres to the cliff dwellings was beautiful and took us past a number of promising looking campgrounds. We added those to our ever-growing list of places to check out in the future.

When we arrived at the monument, we received a thorough briefing from the ranger before we were allowed to take the hike up to the dwellings. They are very proud of the condition of the dwellings so they have strict rules for visitors about food and drink including chewing gum and avoiding touching the structures as much as possible.  The ranger was very informative and very funny so we enjoyed our interaction with her.

The hike through the forest was so pretty on such a beautiful late fall day, I was actually a bit sorry it was not longer. Before long, we had a good view of the dwellings as we approached. The young volunteer ranger gave us lots of great information as we explored and pointed out many little details we might have missed otherwise. We spent plenty of time exploring and taking pictures. I always enjoy trying to imagine what life was like for the people who lived in these early communities and how they used the various spaces. After finishing our tour, a short hike with beautiful mountain views took us back to the parking lot.

Between working, exploring the area, visiting with campground friends, and enjoying the warm, sunny weather, the two weeks flew by and before we knew it, it was time to move on. City of Rocks is definitely on our list of favorite places to camp.

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