Nice sunset view as we pass over London, England, on our way to Albania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Shkodra, Albania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Hiking the Peaks of the Balkans, June 13-24!

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Capulin Volcano Hike and Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge

Woke up early again yesterday morning after another restless sleep due to the high winds overnight. We had already decided that we would get on the road right away and do enough driving to let Sherman's engine warm things up a little bit.

It was only a few miles to the Capulin Volcano where the entrance road was open as far as the visitors center, but the center itself was closed as was the road up to the top of the volcano.

But the sensible people at Capulin Volcano have decided to leave the main parking area and the trails open to visitors. I guess they figured that the general public wouldn't have enough ambition to hike all the way to the top! And they were right!

You can see the road (closed) that goes up around the volcano.

Scenery along the way.

Oh deer!

Bob and Denise pulled in half an hour or so after we did. We are still traveling together, but doing so on our own schedules! They headed on up the volcano with Scarlett (the dog), while we stayed at the bottom and used the still available free WiFi from the visitors center.

While we were there, we watched several cars drive in, notice that the road to the top was closed, and they simply turned around. Like I said, most people would not do the hike to the top.

We set off at about 9:30am.

Starting to get a view.

You can see two other volcanic cones.

Snow on the mountains north in Colorado.

On our way up, we bumped into Bob and Denise who were on their way down. They were headed to Taos, and we will likely meet up with them again there.

Made it to the top parking area at 10:15am.

Looking down at the visitors center area. Can you see Sunny and Sherman?

From the upper parking lot, there is a paved pathway that runs along the upper ridge of the cone. There is also a paved path that goes down into the center. The upper path is another 1 mile (1.6 kms) and fairly steep in places. 

Plus, it was really windy up there!

Ruth heading up to the top of the cone.

She had to hold onto a tree because of the wind!

Don't get blown away!

Looking down on the upper parking lot.

You can see for miles!

Looking over at Sierra Grande another volcanic hill.

At the top... 8,177'

Spotted towhee.

Pinyon jay.

Back at the bottom, we had done 5.5 miles (8.8 kms) and it took us one hour and fifty minutes with a 1,000' elevation change.

Great workout, and we only met one other person, a single guy making his way up while we were coming down.

We got on the road to Raton where we stopped and had lunch, then headed to the Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge. 

Looking forward to the change in scenery over the next couple of days!

So we're driving down the side road towards the wildlife refuge when what do I see...?

The rare New Mexican camel!

We got ourselves parked up beside the lake at the wildlife place. Once again, the visitors center is closed, but the lake, trails, and camping area are open. There was only one other camper there... a small trailer with a couple from New York.

Sherman in his free overnight spot.

We went for a walk. This are is popular with the birding crowds, so we were looking for any different birds but we really didn't see anything special except for a big raven's nest. The raven was flying back and forth feeding her little ones! Really tough to get a decent photo though... this is the best I could do...


A muskrat. 


Finally, the wind died down overnight and we had a great sleep. 

Today, we are off to the mountains!

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And in Canada...


  1. I know how that camel feels. I tried to give myself a haircut in quarantine, too.

  2. Don't hurry north. We got some snow here on Saturday. You guys always find interesting stuff even when it is difficult to get to. Safe travels.

    1. We aren't! It's funny though because we were watching as a storm system went through the mountains late yesterday afternoon from our overnight spot down below and it left a little snow behind up in the mountains.

      As long as you love the great outdoors and, hiking and biking it isn't hard to find interesting stuff to see. :-)

  3. What beautiful country you're traveling through. I marked my map to visit there one day.

    1. It is very nice countryside in this part of New Mexico but the best will be when we are up in the mountains again. :-)

  4. You shoulda rode your bikes up Capulin. It woulda been fun coming down.

    1. If it hadn't been for the wind we just might have rode our bikes from the Visitor Center up to the top parking lot. That wind was crazy!

  5. We really like New Mexico. They also have a great state park system that works well.

    1. We are definitely enjoying this part of New Mexico. We haven't had the opportunity to try out their State Park system. They are open for day use at the moment but not to camping.

  6. We visited Capulín Volcano last summer on our way back to Canada. Parked at the 7,000 ft elevation but chose to hike down to the centre instead of going to the top. It was too hot and windy at that time. Great photos of the birds and the camel! Safe travels.

    1. Glad that you at least got to make it up to the top parking lot, the views of the surrounding countryside are amazing from up there. Right now the road from the Visitor Center to the top parking lot is closed but open to hiking and biking so of course we hiked it. It was very windy up at the very top, I thought I was going to blow off the trail, lol.

  7. That is Lake 13 correct? We were just there 5/4 - 5/7. Did you get any moths in Sherman? We are still dealing with them. We were also in Black Mesa and I believe we saw you drive by our site across from the park office on Saturday

    1. Yes, that was Lake 13! Too bad we just missed each other twice in such a short about of time. And yes, we did get moths in our rig but we have had them in the rig now since we left the ranch in Texas. We can't figure out how they get in. We would catch them in a mesh bag and leave the bag in the rig until the morning when we would open up door and let them out.

      And yes, that would have been Sherman driving by you at Black Mesa on Saturday late afternoon.


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