The next day was more exciting. We already brought breakfast the night before. After a simple breakfast, we decided to go to some nearby places and then go to the most exciting one. We will describe the exciting part soon. We should mention that we did not take enough pictures on the second day. A reason is that we forgot about taking enough pictures due to excitement. The second reason is that we had not yet planned on writing a public article regarding this trip at that time. Most of the pictures cannot be made public because we are present in those pictures. Anyway, we will try to provide as many pictures possible keeping our privacy intact. ?
Our first stop on the second day was a nearby lake: Grindstone Lake (Latitude: 33°19’20.35″N, Longitude: 105°41’8.17″W ). Google Maps app marks it as Lake Ella Rose, as well. The reason we have provided the latitude and longitude is that we forgot the name of the lake and it took us some effort to find it out using Google Earth. We are providing the latitude and longitude so that the place can be found even without any search tag on the map, or even if the lake is turned to an apartment housing complex someday. Anyway, we took a few pictures of the lake, one of which is provided below. The place was quite cold and windy on the day we went there. Our son’s eyes were full of water from the wind chill. The lake is good for fishing and boating. A large dam at one side of the lake blocks the water.
The next stop we had in mind was Dowlin’s Old Mill Gallery. Unfortunately, the gallery was closed at the time we went there probably because it was sunday. However, we were able to see the large wheel outside. History says that it was built in 1868. Legend has that Billy the Kid had suppers at the Mills now-and-then. By the way, Ruidoso has notes of Billy the Kids in many places, from the Mill to restaurants to casinos. The mill still works but we did not get a chance to see it functioning.
After the Mill, we drove a bit in the village farm area. One could see the horses and the cows. Then we decided to go to the Inn of the Mountain Gods because the name of this inn was too prominent in the town. We did not regret once we went there. The big lake outside the Inn of the Mountain Gods was very charming. Despite the cold we spent some time sitting and walking around the lake area. A few other families were fishing. One item that we found while writing this articles is that the Inn of the Mountain Gods and the lake behind the inn are not really in Ruidoso. They are rather in Mescalero.
By this time it had been almost lunch time. We were hesitating to do a little more exploration before lunch. Since we had some food with us for our son, we decided that we will go for the next place in our list before lunch, which was the most exciting event in this trip for all of us. It was plain and simply a fishing activity, which we had craved for last few years but never got a chance to do so. It was the first fishing experience for our son. We caught rainbow trouts. The place is called Seeping Springs Trout Lakes and RV Park. The address is 110 Seeping Springs Rd., Ruidoso Downs, NM 88346. They have a website. They make all the fishing arrangements. That is, you do not have to worry about anything: lure, bait, bucket, and towel. Everything will be supplied. Once we went there, we saw another family coming out. One kid had a transparent plastic bag full of trouts. I thought the store probably sells the trouts too. Otherwise, how will a small family catch this many trouts. We found that anybody can fish; no expertise is necessary (this statement is true for this place only. Catching fish in the wild is very challenging). In fact, our three year old son caught two trouts.
The lady in the front-desk explained how it works. Everything required for fishing will be provided by them; you just need to avail yourself of their readymade fishing environment. The permit costs $3.00 per group. It does not matter how many people are in one group, nor it matters how many people of the group will catch fish. All trouts your group will catch will cost 70 cents per inch. That is a 10 inch trout will add $7 to your bill. There is NO catch and release for fun. Anything you catch must be purchased (and preferably eaten later). I am a diligent fish-eater. We decided that around five trouts will be enough. There were too many trouts in the water. Once you drop the lure, it takes just a minute or two to hook one fish or the fish leaving with the food. Once you go near the pond, the first thing to do is to fill two three inch of the bucket with water. Trouts are very slippery. Once you catch the fish, make sure to hold the fish with the small towel provided to you. Release the fish from the hook and drop it in the bucket.
Our son was too excited but started crying at some point because he was not able to catch any fish but I had already caught two. I then made sure to help him in catching a few more trouts. We stopped when we had five in total. The average length of trouts in this pond was 10 inches, I guess. Once we brought the trouts in the store, the owner came out and dropped the trouts into an outdoor sink. Then she measured the length of the trouts to finalize the bill. She cleaned the stomach of the trouts and put them in a plastic transparent bag. They made fishing very easy for amateurs like us. While the owner was cleaning the trouts, my son and I had a chance to interact with a goat. My son was very excited but the big goat did not show much interest in us. We were so excited that we forgot to take pictures, again. We took a few picture after we paid, said bye to the owner, and came out to the parking lot. One of the pictures of the plastic bag exhibiting the brutality is shown above.
On our way back to the cabin we ate lunch in a restaurant called Classic Diner (Latitude: 33°19’32.70″N, Longitude: 105°37’25.35″W). The food was good, or we were too hungry. People were nice. The food preparation time was a bit longer than expected. Of course, good food comes with passion and patience. 🙂
We had been thinking about what to do with the trouts. While I like to cook (and which can be a story of another time) it is not quite common to deal with trouts in day-to-day food preparation. We decided that we will make a soup with two of the trouts and the other three will be barbecued. Holy cow, God forbids; it sounds brutal.
The second evening was a bit colder than the previous one. We went in and out of the cabin to grill some leftover chicken and the trouts. We made the soup using the stove of the cabin inside. Two pictures are provided below. I made the soup using no recipe but by using the call coming from my heart. There was slight turmeric power, lime juice, tomatoes, cilantro, and thai chili in the soup. A very simple combination but the soup was the best. The fishy freshness made it a soup from the paradise.
|I felt that this is the best soup I ever made. Also, we never made trout soup before.|
The fish barbecue was not that excellent especially because it was overcooked and became dry. Trout is not as much fleshy as salmon, cod, or haddock, therefore I should have been more careful about the barbecue. The chicken barbecue was good. Barbecued vegetables and the corn were great additions that night. Altogether it was a feast. We were ready for a tight sleep.
The cabin was cold in the morning. We increased the temperature of the heater. The plan of the third day was simple: head toward home and see whatever you can on the way. However, you do not always have the best stuffs on the way, which motivates you to do slight detours. The detours we made on our way back to El Paso were better than what we expected. Anyway, time to pack our belongings, most of which were our child’s belongings. We thought that the jacuzzi in the middle of the room was a wastage. Suddenly, we decided that why not try to make the best of the jacuzzi by giving our son a bath here. We did not regret the decision. Our son and I had a wonderful splish–splash.
After loading all our items to the car, we drove around a bit near the hilly areas. We saw a few moose and a ton load of deer. The deer families were grazing in the jungle, back and front yards of lodges, and walking fearlessly on the hilly streets. After driving a few minutes, we saw a big gate which looked like a fortress-entrance. The name of the street was Flume Canyon Drive and the gate is located at Latitude: 33°19’48.82″N, Longitude: 105°41’31.53″W. We tried but was not able to find the story behind the gate at the Flume Canyon Drive. I am sure there is a fascinating story behind building this gate. If you go to Ruidoso, please manage some time to drive in this area. Our allocated time to roam around was coming to an end fast and we had to set the Maps app to head toward El Paso.
We stopped by a handicraft store in the town from where my wife bought some handmade dishes and a few other souvenirs. Instead of the route provided by Goggle we decided to turn left at some point with the hope of a more scenic drive. The route provided by Google is shown in blue in the figure below. We started using the alternative red line at some point. This covered a scenic drive through Mescalero reservation area and Cloudcroft (and hence Lincoln National Forest).
The detour was excellent. Note that you will loose cellphone coverage many times on the way. We surprisingly found that the Map app on the phone was still working when there was no coverage. That is probably because the Maps app already had the map loaded in its memory and all it was doing was using the GPS of the phone instead of the data connection. New finding! Anyway, do not always rely on the cellphone when you go for a trip to nature. We still keep our old GPS in our car from the pre-mobile-app era just to make sure that we can head toward the destination even if there is no cell tower (given that the old map in the GPS device covers our current location). It is just a caution. We did not need the old GPS in this trip. We did not go for hikes in deep forests.
The beauty in this route can not be expressed in words. We have provided a few pictures below but we suggest that you take a drive there to feel and inhale the beauty. We saw a few farmhouses near the Mescalero reservation area. We did not go the the reservation because we decided that we will plan another trip to the reservation and cloudcroft sometime later.
We pulled over a few times on the way to take some pictures. Some places still had snow left. There were some marshland as well, which will slowly turn to beautiful lakes once the snow completely melts. Some pictures are given below. It was lunchtime once again. We ate our lunch in a restaurant in Cloudcroft. Yelp review of the restaurant was not impressive but we had very limited option and our son needed a place to stretch his legs. The correctness of the Yelp review reflected well on the restaurant. The preparation time was unusually lengthy. The food was good though.
|Lincoln National Forest and nearby places. It was spring but there was still snow melting. Lakes had water in them. Some of the surrounding places were muddy from the melting snow.|
We pulled over another scenic view. It was a canyon-like area. We were not able to remember the name of the place. Anyway, it is on the way to El Paso from Cloudcroft. A picture is provided below. The rest of the drive was good as well. We enjoyed this short trip a lot. Our son enjoyed coming back home more than the trip. 🙂
We hope that the description and information we have provided in Part 1 and Part 2 of this article will be helpful. For us, it is a record for the future. In one cold evening, may be many many years from today, we will sit together inside a lodge in Ruidoso and revisit this article. Somewhere I heard, memory is always painful, does not matter whether the event is joyful or sad.
Have a wonderful trip to the village Called Ruidoso!
This is Part 2 of the story. The first part can be found in this link: A Trip to a Village Called Ruidoso: Part 1