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March 15: Faywood, AZ to Villanueva, NM

Tucked along the Pecos River in a narrow valley is Villanueva State Park, in the tiny town (population 201) of Villanueva, NM. On the drive from Faywood, we left behind the landscape of cactus in favor of junipers and grasslands.

A much different desert landscape surrounded us as we drove to Villanueva, NM.

The campground is small - maybe three dozen sites and half of the campground was closed for the season. We talked with Gilbert, the campground host, to see if we could switch to a site with a shelter, since it was supposed to rain overnight. He told us to decide between Site 8 and 12 and that no more campers would be arriving since he was on his way to lock the campground gate.

Site 8 is located along the Pecos and, after we moved the picnic table, there was enough room in the adobe shelter to pitch our tent. (I meant to take a photo of our set-up, but forgot.)

We were grateful for our adobe shelter (left), in case of rain. The right hand photo is of a group area a little ways away from our site.

A footbridge arches over the Pecos River, leading to a trail we did not have time to hike.

The upper campground, which was closed but which we walked around, provides views into the Pecos River Valley and the town of Villanueva.

It was quiet overnight - a sleepy little place - we love those! The morning brought with it some showers and wind, so we only spent a little time exploring the park. I think we might return to it in the coming years, since it is off the beaten path and very mellow compared with the state park industrial complex that is Arizona State Park's system.

After a quick hike, we hit the road. Destination: Palo Duro Canyon, TX.

On the road again, after a good night's rest at Villanueva State Park Campground.

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