Sand and Snow in Southern New Mexico

April 13-15, 2012

Sometimes Mother Nature just likes to mess with you. The day before Friday the 13th, it was 80 degrees and sunny in Tucson, but the forecast called for high winds, near-freezing temperatures and snow down to 4000 feet. We agonized over whether or not to cancel our our planned backpacking trip to Turkey Creek Hot Springs, and at the last minute we pulled the plug and proposed a "Plan B" including dinner at The Buckhorn in Pinos Altos, where Kevin Pakulis was supposed to play, and a visit to Faywood Hot Springs, which has finally reopened under new management after being closed for nearly five years.

Matt, Dennis and I set up our tents in a howling sandstorm, while Rob and Nancy wisely rented a cabin in Pinos Altos. But the concert was cancelled, and we returned to soak in the hot springs and spend the night sailing a stormy ocean of sand.

Five years of neglect have left their mark on Faywood, but the hot pools are still wonderful, and fortunately each camp site still comes with a friendly cat. We moved to more sheltered sites the next morning, and arranged to meet the rest of our group at the Farmers' Market (which was, of course, cancelled).

While Ann, Marty, Dennis and I lingered over a fabulous lunch at the Curious Kunquat, the temperature abruptly plummeted 20 degrees and big flakes of snow began to fall. Rob and Nancy headed for Faywood, but a few miles out, both Route 180 and I-10 were closed — not because of snow, but because of blowing sand.

Ann, Rosa and I frolicked in the snow on Boston Hill, and eventually we all made our way back to Faywood via the Mimbres Valley.

Somehow we assembled a steak dinner with nothing but our backpacking stoves and a charcoal grill. Soaking and singing were followed by a quieter night in the jack-o'-lantern.

By Sunday morning, it was clear that Mother Nature would not be ignored on this trip, so we settled on a side trip to nearby City of Rocks State Park and an excellent lunch at La Fonda in Deming.

For a weekend of going nowhere, it was a great trip, thanks to our very congenial fellow travelers!