My camping equipment

My camping equipment
Campsite setup

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Summer Trip 2019, Tyler State Park, Tyler, Texas

The Spring feed lake at Tyler State Park

Our nicely shaded campsite at Tyler State Park

Tyler State Park is about a hundred miles east of Dallas, TX just off I-20. We stopped on our way back from out west and stayed a couple of days to rest from our trip across the Texas after leaving New Mexico. The park has lots of tall trees that provide shade to seek relief from the warm August sun. It also has a lovely spring feed lake, a nice camp store, kayaks & canoes for rent and a lovely swimming area.  We enjoyed our stay enjoying the grounds and cooling off in the lake.

The Boat house at Tyler State Park

Kayaks and Canoes can be rented at the Boat house 

The area behind the camp store for picnics or just gazing at the tree lined lake

The swimming area with a diving platform for extra fun

The CCC built Bath house with changing rooms 

Tyler's infrastructure and buildings were built by the CCC giving this park a special historic designation that is shared by some of our Florida State Parks

Much of the masonry and landscaping was done by the CCC

Barbara cooling off in the refreshing waters of the lake

Tyler State Park

Monday, August 12, 2019

Summer Trip 2019, Cimarron Canyon State Park, Cimarron, NM

Tolby campground 
Toby Creek, a trout fisherman's paradise

Cimarron Canyon State Park is located just east of Eagles Nest, CO. in the Sangre De Cristo mountain range, spanish for blood of Christ. Toby campground is the head quarters for the park located high up in the foot hills of the mountains at about 8,000 feet. The days in the summer here are pleasantly cool with highs near 80 and lows at night in the mid to upper 40's. The park is nestled in a river valley with abundant trout fishing opportunities for campers that love to fish.

Cinarron Canyon State Park visitors center at Tolby campground

Trout fishing is popular in the parks rivers and lakes

The Palisades Sill formation in Cimarron Canyon State Park

Sun flower enjoying the high mountain rays of the August sun
During our visit we took a drive through the park to the old western town of Cimarron, NM, located on the Santa Fe wagon trail. We enjoyed the many historic buildings and museums in town including the St. James Hotel. Many a gunslinger of the likes of Doc Holiday and Jesse James spent time at the hotels saloon drinking and playing poker. The St. James is haunted and is the subject of many a TV show featuring ghost hunters how explore many of the known haunted places around the country. For the brave visitor rooms are available for an over night stay. The food is excellent at the St. James as it was founded by the chief for President Lincoln back in the day. The tradition continues to this day of good food and drink. The rooms are themed and named after the hotels many famous visitors who passed through this area during the hay day of the old west back in the eighteen hundreds.

The haunted St. James Hotel in Cimarron, NM

Lobby of the St. James Hotel

Bat Masterson lower left and Wyatt Earp upper right,
famous guests at the St. James

A ghostly image can be seen in the window to the far right.
We discovered this image after reviewing my photos on our way back home.

Jesse James another famous guest at the St. James

The original bar and saloon at the St. James.
Many a gunslinger meet their maker at the St. James

While in Cimarron we also stopped at the Aztec Grist Mill which is now home to a museum that chronicles the areas history. This building is also haunted according to the volunteer who was on watch the day of our visit. He mentioned that he heard plates and cups clanking in the chuck wagon at times along with other strange happenings at unexpected times. I guess many a story can be told regarding the lives and unfortunate deaths of the many hard scrabble folks who came through here on the old Santa Fe trail.

The Old Aztec Grist Mill which is home to the historical museum

Original Chuck wagon used on the Santa Fe trail

Two headed calf 
While walking around town observing some of the historic buildings in town I spotted a male deer with a good set of antlers near a apple tree that attracted him to the area. I love this picture as he is look right at me not far away.

The deer are at home in Cimarron
New Mexico has a lot of western appeal and is a great place to see a variety of landscapes from the deserts in the south to the mountains surrounding Taos and Santa Fe. It is truly the land of enchantment. 

Eagles Nest Lake

The town of Eagles Nest, New Mexico

Cimarron Canyon State Park

Monday, August 5, 2019

Summer Trip 2019, Mueller State Park, Divide, CO

The Pikes Peak Range as seen from the Elk Creek Trail at Mueller State Park
We visited Mueller State Park on our summer trip last year. We enjoyed our stay so much that we decided to come back again this year to do more exploring of this high mountain park near Divide, CO. The hiking trails here are scenic and beautiful with mountain wildflowers, lovely forested areas and great views of the surrounding mountain ranges. The park is very well maintained with multiple sites, many with electric, laundry, showers and a lovely visitors centers. Every day a park naturalist takes visitors on hikes on the many trails that highlight the diversity of this amazing place. The park is quit high up in elevation, 9,500 on average, so visitors need to acclimate to the elevation and drink lots of fluids. The day time highs are pleasant with cool nights for sleeping. 

Our campsite at the grouse mountain loop at Mueller State Park

The Elk Meadow Trail, overlooking the Pikes Peak mountain range

Peak view pond

Mountain wildflowers were blooming all along the Elk Meadow trail

The terrain meanders from forest to meadow

The park is popular for equestrians

Large sculpture of a bull Elk in front of the visitors center
I did place a post up of Mueller State Park on last years summer trip to this area however each time a park for the second time we see new and unique scenery. Mueller State Park is no exception. The diversity of landscape, wildlife and plant life makes this place extra special. It is wise to get a reservation in advance to see this beautiful place as it is quit popular. 

Pikes peak granite boulders are visible from the Lost Pond Trail 

Lost Pond

  WESTERN TIGER SALAMANDER in Geer Pond, This species is the Colorado States official amphibian 

Colorful Wildflowers populate the areas along the Lost Pond Trail

From alpine valleys to spruce & pine forests to majestic peaks, Mueller has it all

A good variety of colorful mushrooms can be seen along the trails
 Each day of our three day visit I was able to take a hike with a naturist on some of the parks popular trails. One of the most interesting for plant life is the Wapiti Trail. This trail is easy with a small amount of elevation gain. Barbara was able to join me for a pleasant through some beautiful mountain meadows and forests along this scenic trail near the visitors center. 

The scenery along the Wapiti Trail is richly diverse with trees and plant life

The mountain wildflowers are rich in diversity with brilliant colors

Mushrooms thrive in colonies occasionally and are rich with texture

The landscapes in Mueller are breathtaking in scope

There is abundant variety of wildflowers to admire along all the parks trails
The views of the surrounding majestic mountain ranges in this part of Colorado provide visitors with a special glimpse into how unique this area is. During our last day in the park I took a hike up to Grouse mountain not far from our campsite. The views of the Pikes Peak mountain range are spectacular. At 9,843 feet Grouse mountain is a great place to take a moment and exhale knowing that nature and the wild lands are forever special and worthy of protecting. Every time I visit this beautiful state I leave a little piece of my heart out here. Colorado still and always will remain one of my favorite states to visit. 

Grouse Mountain not far from our campsite at Mueller State Park

The Pikes Peak Mountain Range, Grouse Mountain hiking trail

The view looking south towards Cripple Creek from Grouse Mountain

Pikes Peak summit as seen from Grouse Mountain in Mueller State Park