Thursday, March 16, 2017

DESTINATION: Angel Fire, New Mexico

Spring break had the two of us itching to get away for a few days. A family member has a cabin at the resort town of Angel Fire, New Mexico, so we took up their offer to stay at their house for a couple of nights.  So, once again, we headed west to the mountains of New Mexico for a little rest and relaxation.
    
View from cabin looking down mountains towards town of Angel Fire

It has been said that Angel Fire is "named for the fiery afternoon light splashed on alpine peaks". The legend behind the name is that the Moache Utes used to gather to renew their ancestral ties with the Great Spirit, and during one of these autumnal celebrations, during the 1780s, three young braves returned to camp from a hunting trip and told of a strange glow at the tip of a peak called Agua Fria. The Utes were a little unsettled as they gazed at this mysterious splash of orange and red flickering in the northern sky. Then the awed silence was broken when one of the elders exclaimed, "it is an omen -the fire of the gods- blessing our annual celebration." Thereafter, whenever that rosy glow was seen it was called "fire of the gods". When Franciscan friars were trying to spread their influence, Agua Fria's "fire of the gods" became known as "the place of the fire of the angels". Kit Carson said that he too had seen the angel fire at dawn and at dusk, especially in the fall and winter months. He said it was because of the sunlight hitting the icy frost on the branches of the trees.

Although we've been to this area many times we had never been during the month of March. We didn't know what to expect in the amount of snow.  As you can see from our pictures it was already shaping up to be a warm spring and there were only patches of snow left on the ground.

During our visit to Angel Fire we drove south of town to the beautiful, spring fed Monte Verde Lake. A large sheet of ice floated in the middle of the lake.  Here we saw a group of Canada geese.

Monte Verde Lake

Canada geese

Apparently, March is the best time for viewing the wildlife - we saw our share. I think the animals, like ourselves, were tired of being cooped up and were ready to be out in the sunshine and enjoying the warm spring air. 

Buffalo nearing Cimarron, New Mexico

Prairie dog in the middle of the town of Angel Fire

Deer spotted from the window of the cabin

Female elk spotted on the road to the cabin

Turkey spotted on the road near the cabin

The northern part of New Mexico is breath-takingly beautiful but some scenes do remind you that this is a harsh place to live.

Abandoned cabin near the ghost town of Elizabethtown, New Mexcio

The remains of an elk - was the hunter human, bear or cougar?

The forgotten Otto Cemetery outside of Clayton, New Mexico