Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Eagle Nest, New Mexico--Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway

Hi Everyone,
We are having some beautiful weather up here in the Sangre de Cristos! We are in the midst of the summer monsoons--that means sunny mornings, and sometimes rain later in the afternoon or evening. The temperatures have been in the upper 70's and low 80's, so an air conditioner is not necessary...and the evenings have been pretty cool--into the 60's, and the over night temperatures have been in the 40's. So, it is very pleasant here when compared to the heat and humidity of Prague this time of the year!

My last post was about Red River, and I said that today's post would be about Angel Fire. But I made a mistake! I forgot the town that's in between Red River and Angel Fire, Eagle Nest, New Mexico! So, today's post will be about the small town of Eagle Nest, the next place on the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway.

Eagle Nest sits in the center of the Moreno Valley, which is between Wheeler Peak on one side, and Baldy Mountain (the second highest peak in New Mexico). The town is right a 8,382 ft. This part of the Enchanted Circle (Moreno Valley) is a high, dry plain that is perfect for seeing on of the biggest herds of elk in New Mexico. This spot offers spectacular views of the mountains and Eagle Nest Lake, and the Carson National Forest.

Eagle Nest began as a boom town during the gold rush years in the mid 1800's. The town had a different name at that time--it was called Therma, and named after the postal inspector's daughter! But the name didn't stick, and soon the place was being called Eagle Nest--after the eagles that nest in the area to this day. Eagle Nest was the typical boom town--filled with businesses that catered to the many miners--including saloons and gambling houses. There are even stories of gunfights on the roofs of the buildings along the main street of the town! Eagle Nest was quite a place during those early years! Nowadays, Eagle Nest is pretty calm--you would never suspect the days of saloons, gambling and gunfights!

As the mines in the area played out, homesteaders and ranchers came to the area and the town began to slowly change from the boom town of the gold rush days. More and more, Eagle Nest, in the 1920's and 1930's began to see more tourists coming up from Texas to escape the summer heat and humidty. Over time, the town came to depend on the tourists to keep it going. In the early 1900's, a dam was proposed to be built across the entrance of the Cimarron Canyon. Permission was granted, and the dam was built to create a reservoir that is now Eagle Nest Lake. The lake was originally going to be used for irrigation, but turned out to be a wonderful place for recreational fishermen! The lake and some of the land around it are now part of the system of New Mexico state parks.

Today, Eagle Nest is a popular place to visit with its unique small shops and wonderful fishing at Eagle Nest Lake. There are also many wonderful hiking trails to be found near Eagle Nest. One of my personal favorites is the hiking trail, in Cimarron Canyon, that is near mile marker 292. This trail is moderate to difficult--it goes up to the rim of the canyon, offering views of the forest and enchanting waterfalls along the way! My daughter and I found that the best time to hike this trail is mid spring when the melting snow fills the stream that feeds the waterfalls--the waterfalls are the most spectacular at that time! Here is a list of trails to be found near Eagle Nest.

You can find some pictures of Eagle Nest here. Eagle Nest is a fun place to visit...we go there on a regular basis to visit the Farmers Market, and shop the small stores there--we also love the restaurants Texas Reds and the Lucky Shoe.

My next post, I'll tell you about Angel Fire, New Mexico--the next stop on the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway.

You all have a great day!

God bless,
Sherry :0)
(c) 2008 by czechoffthebeatenpath

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