Tuesday, April 02, 2024

Back in Las Cruces

We did the Dripping Springs Trail in Organ Mountain National Monument and this is taken at the beginning of the trail.
About a mile up we reached a level plateau. Then it started climb again.

 Our next stop was 3 nights in Las Cruces - two at Sunny Acres RV Park and one night returning to the Rio Grande Winery. We couldn't get reservations near Mesilla which we really love due to the holiday but Sunny Acres was fine. This is our 4th stay at the Rio Grande, a Harvest Host member and now a real favorite for us. Wine, food, great view and live music - who could ask for more! 

Further up the trail, our destination is in the canyon just up and to the left of the photo center.

The first of several buildings

Most of Van Patten's Hotel is in ruins, just the 
stone foundations are still there.  

And the weather was wonderful - warm and sunny. Our first full day we did our longest hike yet on the  Dripping Springs Trail - 3 miles. Now that doesn't sound like much and just 3 years ago it would have been nothing. But recently we've slowed down and this was 1.5 miles steadily uphill (1,500 ft) and then very gratefully down. And at enough elevation to cause us to take a number of breaks. But the day was gorgeous and the hike not only scenic but lots of interesting history. This was in the Dripping Springs Natural Area, part of the Organ Mountains National Monument. 

The end of the trail.

One wall remains of the residential buildings

There are three clusters of ruins at the end of the trail, high up on the mountain in a narrow canyon. They date from the late 1800s and early 1900s. The first was the Butterfield stagecoach stop and livery station. People took a 17 mile stagecoach ride to arrive there on the way to the next set of buildings, Van Patten's Mountain Camp. It opened in 1895 and had 15 guest rooms, a dining hall, a concert hall, a gazebo and a roller-skating rink! But it fell on hard times in WWI and was sold in 1917 to Dr. Boyd who tried to run it as a sanitarium. It was only 3 years before he gave up and sold it to another doctor, Dr. Sexton, who only operated it for few years before closing it down. This was at a period that people thought tuberculosis could be helped by the thin dry air of the Southwest. 

Mesilla Park along the Rio Grande where we had a nice walk our second day. Last year we bicycled along this same walk.

Our second day we did a series of much needed chores - shopping, laundry and a move over to Rio Grande Winery. We did have a nice short walk along the Rio Grande river nearby too. That night we enjoyed an excellent band, some delicious wine and a charcuterie board, all while enjoying the view over to the mountains. 

Looking from our table at the Rio Grande Winery
down to the Band.

And then out from our table to the terrace and 
the mountains beyond.

Scott waits for our wine. We got there early so we
could get a seat near the band.

The next few days the weather called for strong winds, building during the day. So we made an early start for our next destination - Roswell, NM. More on my next post!

This was the view from our RV at sunset.

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