Friday, June 24, 2016

Altitude is good for the attitude

Goose Lake is a high lake near Red River, NM. The rocky, steep, Jeep trail starts at 8500' and runs to 11,500'. I've never been up and Derek's never ridden real off-road trails on his dirt bike, so we planned a trip. Leaving home at around 8 am, we stopped in Cimarron NM at the Cree-Me Drive Inn, which has the best soft-serve ice cream in the world. It was too early for ice cream and burger, so we "settled" for breakfast instead. Well... my breakfast burrito turned out to be one of the best I've ever had and Derek took 3 bites of his pancakes and said "These are really good!" He rarely says things like that. After stuffing ourselves, we continued on to Red River.

Our RV park (Roadrunner RV) ended up being right next to the Goose Lake trailhead which made things easy. We pulled in at 11 am and got camp set up. After some thinking, we decided to ride the Goose Lake Trail first, then go fishing a bit, and then ride the Greenie Peak (11,400', too) and Moonlight Meadow trails the next day.

Off we went! Now, remember, Derek just started riding a dirt bike in February. Goose Lake Trail started with a steep and loose shale ascent. I was about 100 yards up when I spotted a Polaris Razr coming down the trail. Turning quickly to find Derek, I promptly crashed, landing hard on my butt. Derek also crashed and couldn't pick his bike up on the slick surface. So, I parked mine, walked down, got him started, pointed out the line, and off he went. I took off, waved at the Polaris, and up we went. After that rocky start, things went well, although it seemed like we climbed forever. Finally, up near the lake we got some downhill time and in a fairly short time- it's only a 7 mile ride- we arrived at the lake. I, unfortunately, left the mount for my helmet cam at home, so I just have stills to show you.

In the parking lot at 11,500'.
Derek is glad to not be battling rocks.

Derek is growing

Goose Lake

The ring of rocks

The lake was surprisingly pretty- a crystal clear little thing surrounded by a ring of rock, snow still in place. It's a popular place and there were numerous ATV's, Polaris Rangers, and such in the parking lot. We were the only bikes, though. After some photos and observation, we headed back down, during which both Derek and I observed that we needed to adjust our rear brakes! On the ride down, my butt started hurting from the fall and it being only 1 pm, I thought maybe we should go ahead and tackle the other ride and save fishing for the 'morrow. So, we loaded up and off we went! Again!The other ride starts on the opposite end of town and winds thru some pretty fun trails. Uphill, downhill, level but with water washouts... it's a great ride up to Greenie Peak. From there, you can go back down and branch off one of two different ways to make a big loop. We rode that one and Derek proclaimed it as "much better" than the other ride. By this time, we were tired and hungry and stopped at "Anchovies Pizza" in town where we had a pepperoni- artichoke heart/olive/tomato mix. It was pretty good- not quite as good as Bruno's in Raton, but still pretty good. We'd definitely eat there again.

Sittin' on top of the world.

Derek with clouds

Wondering if we're gonna get wet (we didn't)

 After a nice night's sleep in our new Casita (3 Ibuprofen later, my butt quit hurting), we went fishing. I don't have much to report there except that there is a steep curve where fly fishing along brush choked little streams are concerned. After a rough start (I already used "rocky start"....) during which my BOA laced wading boots lace broke and I had to use a leader to shut, which necessitated rebuilding my leader/tippet, we caught nothing. The Red River was whipping and places where there's normally pools were raging rapids. We packed up and headed over to Eagle Nest to visit Eagle Nest Fly Shack and get my boots re-wired, and then grab some food. Got all that done, eating at Kaw-Lija's where we had a breakfast burrito and pancakes again. We agreed that the food was good, but not quite as good at the Cree-Me Drive Inn. Nevertheless, we'd eat there again, you betchya.

Bed-time in the Casita

Fueled with food and information, we headed for Cimarron Canyon to fish more. Amidst much line tangling and fly losing, Derek snagged 2 small brown while I had several strikes but nothing solid. Tired and grumpy, we headed home but not before stopping in Ute Park for real, 100% gasoline, no ethanol added and in Cimarron guessed it!... the Cree-Me Drive Inn for soft-serve ice cream.  And a few hours later, tired, we arrived home just in time for it to start pouring rain. As I write this, just over a 1" of badly needed moisture has fallen.  This is, literally, awesome.

All in all, an excellent adventure. Derek got to ride his dirt bike off-road for the first time, we both went to Goose Lake, we ate at 3 new places, we camped in the Casita... good stuff!

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