Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Camping in the Jemez












After almost eleven years in New Mexico, I'm happy to say that we're still discovering new places all the time. Last week, we spent a few days camping in the Jemez Mountains at the San Antonio Campground, situated along the small San Antonio River. San Antonio Campground is within the Santa Fe National Forest, which is a huge area. This was our first time camping in this region of the state, though we have often camped within the National Forest; normally, we have camped further east, toward the Santa Fe (city) area.

This campground is set in ponderosa forest, shaded and cool. The river rushes quietly past the campground. You can fish in the river (it's stocked), which we did, but the fish we caught were tiny so we threw them back. It was nice to wade in the shallow pools and watch fish and water-striders go by. We saw hawks and gigantic crows, as well as copious hummingbirds, squirrels and chipmunks. We walked and hiked around the area, and left the campground to check out other local attractions a couple of times; I'll show you more another time.

Unfortunately, there was on-and-off rain the whole time. This was expected, though, as New Mexico is currently in the grip of monsoon season. We went prepared with tarps, ropes and poles, which we rigged up all over our campsite, sheltering our tents and our living/eating area as well as we could. It wasn't so bad. Rain when you're camping is actually kind of exciting; you have to draw on your reserves of creativity. Can't build a fire in the pit? Use the Coleman stove under tarp-shelter instead. Need to dry clothes dampened by a fall in the river? Rig up a clothesline over the picnic table, using your tarp poles, instead of between two trees. My only real complaint is the cold dampness in the tent at night, but that's what zero-degree sleeping bags are for, right? Camping can be a real-life adventure.

I cooked a foil-pack dinner one night, which turned out great. I tried this recipe for BBQ Chicken Foil Packs from Pillsbury. So delicious. And EASY. You can't go wrong with a good foil pack recipe. I assembled them at home and transported them in the cooler inside large Ziploc bags tucked down in the ice.

One of my favorite things about any campground is the plant life. San Antonio is at lower elevation, and is also wetter, than some places we've camped. The wildflowers were all different there, including several varieties of coneflower, blanket flower, evening primrose, campanula, blue flax, fleabane, yarrow and more. Do you like to look for wildflowers? I really enjoy it. I use Peterson's field guides, but I also like websites like this one to match up my flower photos when I get home. I spend a lot of time strolling around with my camera during the days, when I'm not cooking, straightening up the campsite, or relaxing with a book.

I'm so glad we tried San Antonio, it was a fantastic place to camp, perfect for families. There is room to roam and plenty to do, and we will definitely go back. Camping together is a great way to bond, learn new skills and spend time away from the stresses of regular life - even when it brings its own little annoyances, which are mostly just puzzles to solve. With plenty of hot cocoa and M&M-containing trail mix to think on.

20 comments:

  1. Love these photos!

    I love camping.

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  2. Love your inventiveness. The campsite looks weather worthy and so cozy. I like how the camp site is carved out with a picnic table and all, very nice. Always enjoy your blog postings and all that's happening around NM.

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  3. Camping is the best thing ever. I am really happy that you had a wonderful time with your three bears. Your campsite looks very well maintained and I love your imaginative setup to stop rain from bothering you too much. Your wildflower photos are beautiful! Hope you don't have too much laundry after a few days in the outdoors. xx

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  4. This looks lovely Jennifer. So much nature and wildlife on your doorstep. It's great that you didn't let the rain put you off! I've seen lesser people pack up and go home with bad weather!

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  5. Loved camping when we were younger and it looks like you had a good time despite the weather.
    As long as my husband gets to fish he doesn't care about the weather.

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  6. Beautiful wild flowers, how nice to find a new and exciting place xx

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  7. I applaud camping parents, Jennifer. It's not easy and kids often get bored (even though it's so good for them to live outdoors). I can tell you are a pro. Being in the forest among so many pretty natural blessings is wonderful. Way to go! Oh! I remember foil dinners from Camp Fire Girls picnics. Yum!

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  8. So very pretty! We used to camp a lot when our kids were young - good memories. The foil packs are a good idea.

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  9. It looks as though you had another great camping trip. Oh, the memories you ar making for your children to look back on all of their life. You were very inventive in setting up your campsite to deal with the rain. The area looks as though it is lovely. I love the trees.
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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  10. You seem to have camping down to a fine art - those tarpaulins are brilliant. I love it when it rains at night when we're camping; it's so cosy. Glad that you had a lovely time. xx

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  11. The camping all look great fun.
    You've probably said before in a previous post but I was wondering about your life in New Mexico, how you came to live there and where you moved from.
    Have you family closeby.
    Enjoy your hols. Cathy x

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  12. It sounds like a fantastic wild place to camp, glad you had such a good adventure. Living with nature all around is very soothing I think. Well done for getting on with it all despite the rain. You are ready for England! It sounds as though you eat very well while camping too, that's always a good thing, really makes the expedition. CJ xx

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  13. What a wonderful adventure. Andy and I loved camping and walking when we were a couple but camping with younger children just felt like a bit of an uphill struggle for me - I thought I would love it but I can see how people find it an adventure. That is why I love staying at the cabin. It is like the cabin but less damp and everything is at waist level! Jo x

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  14. so glad you had this time! how lovely! and those flowers are beautiful! neat about the cooking foil wrap success too!!!

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  15. I give you so much credit for doing these camping trips, especially in the rain! I never did like to camp, even as a kid. Those chicken barbeque foil packs look delicious...I pinned the recipe so we can make them here at home on the grill.

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  16. It sounds like you had a wonderful time. A shame about the weather but at least you went prepared and didn't let it spoil the fun. I'm sure you'll be back to this new place again in the future.

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  17. What an excellent campsite, tucked in there beside the low wall. You appear to be very well organised, and it paid off in coping with the rain for an excellent holiday. I really enjoyed your descriptions of the place, and the wildflowers are so pretty.

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  18. Ooooh, Camping! I love camping! It sounds like you had a good time -- in spite of the rain. And now you'll have a fun new place to look forward to visiting again!

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  19. Hey Jennifer,
    I love burrowing down inside the duvet when we camp. As we have the camper van, I always take my duvet and pillows from home. But Olly likes a sleeping bag in his little pod. I also forage for the flowers. I enjoy the slower pace; if it rains, I read. I don't have chores that I could get on with. Olly is more creative too, without the lure of the screen. So glad you had a nice time. Also M&M trail mix? Sounds divine.
    Leanne xx

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  20. I have learnt that I like the idea of camping a lot more than the reality, but you make it look and sound idyllic. You almost make me want to go! But what a beautiful area. X

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