A Trip Back in Time – Final Chapter

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Here are the first two parts of our trip in case you missed them….




We arrived in Ruidoso, NM at around 9pm. It was definitely colder than anywhere else we had been. We were tired from the long day, so we grabbed a bite and went to the motel to relax and sleep.

Day 4

There weren’t really any plans for this part of the trip. We figured we might mess around town, or hike somewhere close. So we started out around 9am and headed to town. We went into a few shops, bought some stuff for the girls, and just wandered around the very tourist friendly town. There were too many boutiques for my manly ways, but they did have a really cool mountainman shop we spent some time in.

After lunch we decided to head up the road and do some hiking for a while. I had remembered this place from many years ago. It’s got miles of trails in the national forest just outside town with some gorgeous scenery.

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We searched out some good spots here that we could come back to after dark for some timelapse work. I thought it might be pretty cool hiking and setting up some shots in the forest at night. After we left the area we headed towards Grindstone Lake just a few miles from town.

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It’s a very beautiful place. Lots of trails to hike. The lake is stocked with trout, and if you have a kayak or canoe, you can get on it with a permit. That sounds like my kinda place.There were a few folks out fishing, but it was a little chilly, so that kept most from staying too long.

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We stayed a while then headed back to town to check out the Rio Ruidoso River. It runs through town, and out of all the years we’ve been coming here, have never stopped to really check it out. We drove all around trying to find a good spot we could get out and walk around. There were a few park and walk’s we stopped at. I was really wishing I hadn’t taken my fly rod out before we left San Angelo. I didn’t figure we’d see too much water where we were headed, and forgot about this place.

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One of the paths we chose had a an awesome trail that kept you within rock throwing range the whole way.

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It was starting to get dark, so we headed to grab some food and plan the evening. I noticed as we were leaving it was starting to cloud up real bad. I wasn’t sure if it was just passing through, or there to stay for the night. I knew how dark the skies would get around here, so I was hoping they would move on before we got out to get the shots we wanted. But as with my luck, the clouds stayed. So we decided to skip the hike up in the woods, and stay closer, but still try.

We opted to go back up to Grindstone Lake and see if I could get some shots there. We drove in and we had the place to ourselves. It was around 10pm. We got out and walked a ways to get to the water. I could tell Nicholas was a bit nervous. Every noise or fish splash had him a little jumpy. I told him not to worry, i’m probably scarier than anything else out here. That didn’t help. The clouds were thick so I decided just to shoot a few and we could get on. I was disappointed, since the night before it was nothing but stars.  I did the best I could and we went back to the hotel.

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Day 5

We got a slow start our final morning. We had been having a blast, but that last day is always a bummer. We decided to keep the plans to go to Sitting Bull Falls outside of Carlsbad, NM. It would add a little to the mileage, but I wanted something to do other than just drive home.

It took us about 3 hours to get there. It has changed a lot since the last time I was here in the mid 90’s. They’ve had fires and floods since then, and also built the place up real nice.

Nicholas had said, “it’s a long way just for waterfall.”

“yea, but it’s not just any waterfall.”

I noticed quite a few cars when we pulled up. The times in the past, there was never anyone around. We got out, paid our admission, and talked with the park hosts as we started our hike. We saw a group up ahead of us as we walked the sidewalk leading to the falls. They were all dressed nice, and one had a Bible. A-ha. Wedding. Cool.

We got to the falls and it was amazing sight. In the middle of nowhere, this huge oasis.

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Of course there was wedding going on so we didn’t go down there at that time. The two folks at the bottom were the park hosts serving as wedding guests.

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We decided to go back a ways and hike to the top while all this was going on. It was a little strenuous going up, but once we were on top, there was plenty of space to explore.

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We stayed up top for a while then figured it would be safe to go down to the bottom to mess around. By the time we got back down, the wedding party had gone, so we had free reign of the place.

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I wish we had a few more hours just to walk around more. The BLM property extends a river mile above the falls, so plenty of land to play around on.

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The whole place is amazing. I loved the solitude and serenity that accompany the sounds of a never ending stream of water falling 150 feet to the pool below. It definitely calms the mind.

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But the calmness was short lived. We had another 5 hours of road ahead of us before we get home, so off we went. The ride home was long, flat, and tiring. We arrived home at 9pm and unloaded. I missed my girls, but was already missing New Mexico too. We were asleep by midnight. The next morning I woke and went to work. I was drained mentally, as my mind was still on vacation and the whole day I fought extremely hard just to have a somewhat positive attitude. Everyday was a new adventure and now i’m back at the daily grind. Must…push…forward…I think I can, I think I can.

It was an amazing trip and everyday of it was a blast. It’s the kind of trip that will not soon be forgotten and the memories made from it will last a lifetime.

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Our Dude’s Trip 2016 is only a year away, and we’re already thinking about what we want to do. Anyone know when the Running of the Bulls is? Or perhaps anyone here a bush pilot? Hey, are those chain-mail scuba suits really shark proof? And how long does it take the body to……… 🙂

Thanks for coming along,



Scott Gartman

Scott Gartman

Scott Gartman is a photographer and filmmaker. He is also an avid fisherman, kayaker, backpacker, and overall outdoorsman. His accolades are too many to list, as with the many streets and towns named after him. He's a legend in his own mind. Check out his home page at www.flyrivermedia.com

2 thoughts on “A Trip Back in Time – Final Chapter

  • November 24, 2015 at 4:44 am

    As always Scott, it’s as if we were there with you. Your stories/photos are awesome to read and view. Thanks for sharing your adventures with us.

  • November 25, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    You took your fly rod out before you left home? Man, your fly rod is like American Express; you don’t leave home without it! Ha! Thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts on your adventure. Thanks for sharing.


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