Monday, June 24, 2013

Camping at Villanueva on the Summer Solstice

We headed for Villanueva State Park to spend the weekend of the Summer solstice. We also were expecting the largest full moon of the year. Villanueva State Park is about 73 miles from our house and is located in a narrow and scenic canyon along the Pecos River in north central New Mexico.

The river level was so very low and the water was muddy. I did try fishing but caught nothing.  But it was relaxing to cast my line again and again into various pools and riffs.

Trying to fish the Pecos with water levels so low was pretty useless.
The water was turbid and brown...

...but the bright sunny morning called
to me for  a solitary walk along the river 

The peacefulness of the river walk just south of the campground
was such a contrast to the noise

Our campsite was right on the river, with willow, pinon pine, juniper, and cottonwoods providing welcome shade in the 90+ degrees.

Our site had a nice sheltered picnic table, too.

Ron relaxed at the campsite and I checked out the wildflowers. I found many Chocolate Flowers or Green Eyes Berlandiera lyrta and they do, indeed, smell like chocolate.

 The Cane Cholla Cactus Cylindropuntia imbricata was blooming as well:

No fires are allowed in the campground because of the drought and extreme fire danger, so we cooked our meals on our trusty Coleman stove. After arriving on Friday, June 21st, our peace was disturbed by our neighbor's gasoline generator.  Why it had to run for the daylight hours and then into the night until 10:30 PM, I have no idea.  It was jarring and totally disturbed the natural ambiance of the area. We used a nice, quiet power converter to power my laptop and managed to watch a DVD movie though the din of the generator. We were happy to see them pack up and move Saturday morning.  We expected to greet the full moon rise that evening under more peaceful conditions. However, a large group moved in Saturday just across the street from our site and the PARTY  began in the early evening with drinking and marijuana, loud cars visiting, music and kids screaming, loud talk and profanity - even firecrackers - went on until nearly 2 AM.   The Ranger came by and told them to quiet down and the music went off for about an hour but started up again.  The Ranger came by again near midnight and told them if they didn't  quiet down, they'd have to leave.  The kids demanded "how could people be told when to go to bed?" Overall, we were in shock that people could get away with such behavior and were disappointed that park enforcement of the rules was so lax. This was our third camping trip to Villanueva and we've never seen such rude campers like this. We resolved that if we came back to Villanueva State Park, it would only be on a non-weekend.  

We packed up about 9AM on Sunday and headed for Riberia to have breakfast at La Risa Cafe near I-25 between Santa Fe and Las Vegas, NM.  We like to stop here for a good meal and local color.  They have an outdoor enclosed patio that is now cooled with a recent AC addition. Gill's Thrilling (And Filling) Blog reviews the restaurant here.

Villanueva is an historic Hispanic village in a beautiful hidden valley along the Pecos River. The Spanish explorers including Coronado first visited this area in the 16th century. Other points of interest nearby are the Madison Winery and the Imus Ranch, both located in Riberia.

Sign commemorating the Spanish explorers who
have traveled through the present day location
of the park

Center of the village of Villanueva

1 comment:

  1. How extremely disappointing that a quiet relaxing campout was ruined by rude and thougtless people. We've been mostly lucky on this score over the years....