We are only a 3-hour drive to Albuquerque so we have decided to stay at Sumner Lake State Park and then drive into Albuquerque on Thursday. We did look around for other camping spots but we didn’t find any that we liked better this one.
Sumner Lake State Park is at an elevation of 4300’, which is about 300’ higher than Oasis State Park and about 2400’ higher than Abilene State Park. Today we were looking at the fauna in the area and noticed that mesquite trees were scarce, but still grow here. They only get about 4’ high, some rope cactus are taller. This is no longer the range of the thick, lush mesquite forests of Texas.
We drove up (it is North of us and about 316’ higher) to Santa Rosa today, which is on I-40 and was on the original Route-66. Downtown has several colorful businesses that catered to the travelers on Route-66. I-40 has at least 2 exits there now, but the traffic in the town is not like it was when everyone had to drive thru downtown.
Santa Rosa does have one of the best scuba diving locations in the inland portion of the USA. The Blue Hole is a spring that is 81 feet deep; the hole is 60’ in diameter and looks clear and blue. Average water temperature is 61 degrees – pretty cold swimming if you aren’t in a wet suit. They use the 3000 gallons per minute flow from the spring to supply a public swimming hole as well as several fishing ponds. The excess water flows into the Pecos River.
On the trip to Santa Rosa we saw a small pronghorn antelope herd grazing with the cattle on one of the ranches that we passed. Pronghorn antelope are native to this area. Also native to this area is the cougar or mountain lion. There is a notice on the park restroom saying that we are in cougar country. Cougars are most active at sunrise and sunset and it is recommended that we not be recreating during those time periods.