Elkhorn Lodge News http://www.elkhornlodge.nethttps://www.elkhornlodge.net/modules/news.htm?rssfeed=1 Thu, 14 Nov 2019 17:35:13 +0100 FeedCreator 1.7.2 Bird-Watching in Northern New Mexico http://www.elkhornlodge.nethttps://www.elkhornlodge.net/modules/news.htm?newsId=8682 <p dir="ltr"><span>If you like to bird-watch, New Mexico should be on your list of places to visit. California and Texas are often called out as the best bird-watching spots in the Southwest, but New Mexico has over five hundred species of birds on its official bird list and it truly is a hidden gem. The diverse landscape of the state, ranging from sparse dry desert to lush mountain lakes, hosts an impressive array of species that vary greatly from the south to the north, so if you&rsquo;ve got the time, make sure you take time to visit as many areas as you can.</span></p> <p dir="ltr">The state bird of New Mexico is the Roadrunner. Many people outside of the Southwest only know of one Roadrunner: the Looney Toons character always hilariously evading Wile E. Coyote, but the Roadrunner is, in fact, a real bird. Roadrunners have the ability to fly, but it is very limited, and they spend most of their time on the ground running at speeds up to 26 mph. They are distinctive looking and can be spotted by their long tails and fast pace.&nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr"><span>You&rsquo;re more likely to spot a Roadrunner in Central and Southern New Mexico, but heading up to Northern New Mexico will bring you opportunities to see many other species. If you&rsquo;re lucky enough to be in the Chama Valley, you can expect to see anything from a Blue Grosbeak to a Mountain Bluebird, to a Northern Flicker, to a Lewis Woodpecker, or even a Bald Eagle. Check out some of the pictures on the </span><a href="https://chamavillage.com/wildlife.html"><span>Chama Village</span></a><span> page.&nbsp;</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>New Mexico has four Audubon chapters and many other resources for bird fans. The closest chapter to Chama is the </span><a href="http://www.newmexicoaudubon.org/sdcas/"><span>Sangre de Cristo</span></a><span>. There are plenty of guidebooks on birding in New Mexico, but try something specific to the north, such as </span><a href="https://birdinghotspotscentralnm.com/2015/02/17/birding-hot-spots-of-santa-fe-taos-and-northern-new-mexico/"><span>Birding Hot Spots of Santa Fe, Taos, and Northern New Mexico</span></a><span>, to get the most relevant information.&nbsp;</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>Another great resource is </span><a href="https://stepoutside.org/chama-nm/bird-watching/"><span>Step Outside</span></a><span>, which lists some perfect bird-watching spots if you&rsquo;re using Chama as a home base. One of our favorites on the list is Burford Lake. Just an hour drive from Chama, Burford is New Mexico&rsquo;s largest natural lake. A few birds that breed at the lake are various Grebes, the American Coot and American Avocet, and black-crowned Night Herons. It&rsquo;s also home to a variety of ducks and hosts an average of 5,000 Mallard and Gadwall ducks during molting season.</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>It would be hard to list all the birds you can see in Northern New Mexico and all the places in the area you can go to see them. And the truth is, you don&rsquo;t have to go far at all. Right in the village of Chama at the </span><a href="https://www.elkhornlodge.net/"><span>Elkhorn Lodge</span></a><span> you can wander the river out back or sit at a picnic table under the large trees up front and spot a number of unique visitors. Whatever your bird-watching style, you&rsquo;ll find what you&rsquo;re looking for in the Chama Valley!&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <span id="docs-internal-guid-83a9ee17-7fff-0c3f-41c6-9e1995d67436"><br /><br /></span> Take a Ride on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad http://www.elkhornlodge.nethttps://www.elkhornlodge.net/modules/news.htm?newsId=8442 <p dir="ltr"><span>If you&rsquo;re spending time in Northern New Mexico, you&rsquo;ve got to make room on your calendar for the village of Chama. Home to the Cumbres &amp; Toltec Scenic Railroad, you&rsquo;re guaranteed to experience history and beauty you simply won&rsquo;t find anywhere else. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>Wandering through the San Juan Mountains, the Cumbres &amp; Toltec line is the longest, and highest, narrow gauge left in the United States today, passing through its peak point at an elevation of over 10,000 feet. &nbsp;The scenic trip begins in Chama, New Mexico and ends in San Antonito, Colorado with the winding track taking visitors back and forth across the New Mexico/Colorado border 11 times during the journey. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>The Cumbres &amp; Toltec was built in 1880, and was originally part of the Denver &amp; Rio Grande Western Railway extension. The line is an example of revolutionary engineering for its day, climbing steep slopes and covering terrain previously thought impassable for trains. During its busiest years, it was a much needed line for the booming silver mines. The silver industry declined in the late nineteenth century and the route survived by supporting other industries in the area, including agriculture. But by the 1960s it was facing abandonment. In 1969 New Mexico &amp; Colorado joined forces to save this living artifact of the Wild West, which is now a National Historic Landmark. Voted </span><a href="https://cumbrestoltec.com/news-from-the-station/breaking-news/"><span>Best Scenic Train Ride</span></a><span> for 2019 by USA Today readers, the railroad is now jointly owned by both states. &nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>The Cumbres &amp; Toltec is open for business from late May until late October every year. You&rsquo;ve got choices on how you ride, depending what kind of experience you&rsquo;re looking for. You can choose one way or round trip. One way riders will be returned to their starting point in a luxury shuttle while round-trippers will experience the beauty both ways, also getting the benefit of different times of day which can afford a new experience with different colors, light, and shadows. The route is 64 miles, much of which is only visible from the train, meaning if you never get on the train, you never see these views, you can&rsquo;t just drive there instead. A buffet lunch is included in the ticket price and you can choose from the classic coach car, deluxe tourist car, or premium parlor car. Find the full schedule </span><a href="https://cumbrestoltec.com/schedule/"><span>here</span></a><span>. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>Northern New Mexico is lucky to have a vast amount of undeveloped terrain where visitors and locals alike can enjoy nature, naturally. The locomotives used by Cumbres &amp; Toltec were built in the early 1900s. The historic coal-fired steam engine train has been described as frozen in time, a feeling helped by the unhindered natural beauty that surrounds it. Development along the route is minimal, allowing riders to truly step back in time. You will witness breathtaking views of gorges, valleys, rivers, and the Southern Rocky Mountains while your learn about the history of the area and enjoy one of the most unique experiences Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado have to offer. </span></p> <div><span>&nbsp;</span></div> Fishing the Lakes and Rivers in Chama, New Mexico http://www.elkhornlodge.nethttps://www.elkhornlodge.net/modules/news.htm?newsId=8353 <p>Northern New Mexico has some fantastic fishing opportunities and the village of Chama is a perfect central location for getting to some of the best spots. If you&rsquo;re looking to get out of the city and relax, a fishing weekend could be just the thing.</p> <p>&nbsp;Northern New Mexico is known for trout fishing and there are four main types you can expect to see. The Rio Grande Cutthroat, one of two species of trout native to the state of New Mexico, is the official state fish. You will also find brown trout, rainbow trout which tend to be a bit easier to catch, and brook trout. The area has plenty of fishing guides that can take you to spots known for a certain type if you&rsquo;re looking for something specific. Brook trout are particularly beautiful though not often trophy size.</p> <p><strong>River Fishing</strong></p> <p>The Chama River is a diverse trout river originating in Colorado in the San Juan Mountains and is a tributary to the Rio Grande river. Also known as Rio Chama, it is known for brown and rainbow trout and in some sections, you&rsquo;ll easily find brown trout over 20 inches! Though there are different areas of the river that offer different fishing experiences, if you&rsquo;re not looking to drive too far, or at all, you can fish the Chama River from the backyard of the Elkhorn Lodge. Guests fish the river all year and we&rsquo;ve seen some great catches! Spring, summer, and fall are great times to fish the river.</p> <p>&nbsp;The Brazos River begins in New Mexico and runs all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. Though the portion of the river in Texas is more well known, there is some excellent fly fishing on the Brazos in Northern New Mexico. For the most part, the Brazos River flows through private land, so it&rsquo;s perfect if you&rsquo;re looking to pay a little extra for a guide who can take you on a unique fishing experience on private water. You&rsquo;ll see some amazing scenery and get to fish sections of a river many don&rsquo;t get the chance to.</p> <p><strong>Lake Fishing</strong></p> <p>Chama is also close to a couple of great fishing lakes. <a href="http://www.emnrd.state.nm.us/SPD/heronlakestatepark.html">Heron Lake State Park</a> is a short drive from the village of Chama, less than half an hour, and makes a perfect day trip if you&rsquo;re staying in town. Known for kokanee salmon and trout fishing, Heron is a &ldquo;quiet-lake&rdquo; so boats must operate below wake speeds. It&rsquo;s a great place to relax and unwind, and if you&rsquo;ve got family it&rsquo;s safe and fun for kids to paddle around.</p> <p><a href="http://www.emnrd.state.nm.us/SPD/elvadolakestatepark.html">El Vado Lake State Park</a> is also a short drive from Chama. There&rsquo;s a five-mile scenic trail along the Rio Chama that connects El Vado and Heron Lake. In the winter the park is a haven for bald eagles and other birds. El Vado is a designated cold-water fishery and you&rsquo;ll find salmon, brown trout, lake trout, and largemouth bass. &nbsp;</p> <p>Northern New Mexico offers some world-class fishing in an idyllic setting. Whether you&rsquo;re looking for trophy fishing led by a guide on private water or just looking to throw a rod in the Chama River and cook a couple of trout for dinner you&rsquo;ll find your type of fishing in the Chama Valley.</p> 3 Ways to Spend Some Time in the Chama Valley this Spring http://www.elkhornlodge.nethttps://www.elkhornlodge.net/modules/news.htm?newsId=8250 Well, so far Spring hasn&rsquo;t felt very Springy in the Chama Valley this year. Much of the area saw six or more inches of snow two days after Spring officially arrived and as we head into April, we&rsquo;re still seeing freezing temperatures and snow showers. But, never fear, the temperatures will rise, the snow will stop falling, and it will be time for Spring fun soon! <br /><br />Spring is an incredible season in Chama and this is the perfect time to start daydreaming about all the fun you can have on your next visit. But, if you&rsquo;re a bit worried about the lingering chill in the air once you arrive in Northern New Mexico, here are some perfect ideas for this time of year. <br /><br />Chama, New Mexico is only eight miles from Colorado and the border between the two states is beautiful. You can head north or west to reach Colorado and both drives are worth doing based on the views alone. But, if you&rsquo;re looking for a day trip, why not take a drive from Chama, NM to <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pagosa_Springs,_Colorado" target="_blank">Pagosa Springs, CO</a>? The drive is approximately 45 minutes and the scenery is stunning. This drive is a great way to see the changing landscape of the area and at the other end you&rsquo;ll find the world&rsquo;s deepest geothermal hot spring. There are a number of hot springs open to the public and most are located in scenic downtown. Local restaurants and shops are in easy walking distance of the springs, you&rsquo;ll have your choice of delicious food and souvenirs. <br /><br />If you like day trips in the car enjoying as much of the local landscape as possible here&rsquo;s another idea.&nbsp;<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Echo_Amphitheater" target="_blank">Echo Amphitheater</a> is a natural amphitheatre located in the Carson National Forest about 45 minutes south of the village of Chama. The drive is stunning with views of Northern New Mexico completely different to those you&rsquo;ll see in any other direction. The amphitheater is just a short hike from the parking lot. If you&rsquo;re with someone else, split up and the person in front will hear the echos of those behind them sounding eerily close. Legend has it that the stains down the walls are made from the blood of those who died here, so don&rsquo;t let your group get too far apart!&nbsp; &nbsp;<br /><br />If you&rsquo;re ready for to be out of the car, exploring nature and stretching your legs don&rsquo;t worry, Chama&rsquo;s got plenty for you too. Explore the&nbsp;<a href="http://wildlifeviewingareas.com/viewing-area/edward-sargent-wildlife-management-area/" target="_blank">Edward Sargent Wildlife Management Area</a> at the north end of town. Spring and Summer are the two best seasons to view wildlife in the park and visitors often spot mule deer, porcupine, black bears, and numerous birds such as the warbling vireo and northern shrike. Covering more than 20,000 acres, the Sargent is a great place for hiking, horseback riding, wildlife viewing, photography, or just a walk and a picnic amongst some amazing scenery. <br /><br />These three ideas don&rsquo;t even scratch the surface of things to do in Chama in the Spring! But, they&rsquo;re all great reasons to make a trip to the area. Whether you&rsquo;re looking for a quiet country weekend where you don&rsquo;t do much of anything or an adventurous weekend exploring far and near, head to Chama for some fun this Spring. Chama, New Mexico: A Brief History http://www.elkhornlodge.nethttps://www.elkhornlodge.net/modules/news.htm?newsId=8179 The village of Chama is located in northern New Mexico, less than 10 miles south of the Colorado border. Nestled in a high valley at an elevation of 7,871 ft. and surrounded by the San Juan Rockies and Brazos cliffs with the Rio Chama running through it, Chama is a uniquely beautiful area with a rich history.<br /><br />The Chama valley was home to indigenous tribes long before the town was founded. The&nbsp;<a href="https://www.newmexico.org/places-to-go/native-culture/jicarilla-apache-nation/" target="_blank">Jicarilla Apache</a> reservation still covers much of the land surrounding Chama to the east and west. Dulce, a village 34 miles west of Chama, is the tribal capital of the Jicarilla Apache and visitors can enjoy the Arts and Crafts Museum, the largest elk-enclosure in the country, and fishing on various mountain lakes. <br /><br />Spanish colonizers arrived in northern New Mexico in the 1500s and were responsible for&nbsp; originally establishing the town itself. It was in the 1880s, however, that Chama really began to boom. The Denver &amp; Rio Grande Railroad began working on the route through Chama in 1881. At its peak, the&nbsp;<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denver_and_Rio_Grande_Western_Railroad" target="_blank">DRGW</a> operated the largest narrow gauge railroad in North America with a motto of &ldquo;Through the Rockies, not Around Them.&rdquo; The railroad brought industry and excitement to the area. Not only did railway workers need to be there, and need to be housed and entertained, but access to the area brought increased interest from the mining and timber industries as well as ranchers and outlaws. <br /><br />Today, the&nbsp;<a href="https://cumbrestoltec.com/" target="_blank">Cumbres and Toltec Railroad</a> is one of Chama&rsquo;s biggest tourist attractions. This scenic portion of the previously industrious railway line was saved from destruction by activists in 1970 and has been carrying tourists through the amazing New Mexico/Colorado scenery ever since. It is a designated National Historic Landmark that shouldn&rsquo;t be missed when you&rsquo;re in the area. <br /><br /><a href="http://www.chamavillage.com/history.html" target="_blank">Chama&rsquo;s</a>&nbsp;booming economy of the late 19th century was hard hit throughout the 20th century. The Great Depression and extreme winters combined to almost wipe out the sheep ranching industry and brief periods of silver and natural gas mining proved unsustainable for long term Chama. Today, Chama&rsquo;s main business is tourism, for good reason. The natural beauty of the area combined with the rich history make it a perfect vacation destination. Fishing, hiking, water sports, winter sports, the railroad, historical landmarks, and wildlife are just a few of the reasons tourists flock to Chama in winter and summer. The blend of cultures that make up Chama&rsquo;s history are still present and provide an experience hard to match. <br /><br />The Elkhorn Lodge has been hosting visitors for nearly 70 years and is located just on the edge of town, providing easy access to the many routes tourists can take to explore the area. Stay tuned to the Elkhorn Lodge blog for upcoming information on things to do when you&rsquo;re visiting the beautiful Chama valley.