• Brian Rawson

Hatch Green Chile’s and Man’s Best Friend - U.S. 360 Day 15 from Leasburg Dam State Park NM to Cabal

My cycling journey around the American perimeter

46 miles – Total so far: 802 miles

Left the campground not quite as early, given a shorter ride today, and the fact that the wind forecast was not expected to be in my face. Today was a semi-rest day (46 miles), from one New Mexico state park to another New Mexico state park. The ride continued North right along the Upper Rio Grande Valley to Caballo Lake, so agriculture was again the main attraction. Fewer Pecan orchards today, but fields and fields of onions, alfalfa, and chiles. Apparently, onions are ready for harvest, as I saw a number of fields with dozens of migrant workers laboring in the sun.

Yes, we are in the heart of Hatch green chile country. Many farms in the area seem to be cashing in on this particular crop, as there were plenty of signs announcing their arrival. It seems odd that the small town of Hatch in this part of a fairly desolate corner of New Mexico is the epicenter of Hatch Green Chile festivals across the country. The residents and shop owners are friendly. Upon hearing of my particular weakness for freshly-made tortillas, a lady at one of the markets gave me a warm dozen, on the house!

Dogs; yes there were dogs aplenty today. Apparently, in this part of New Mexico they love their dogs, and they also love giving them their freedom. I had more dog encounters on otherwise beautiful stretches of State Highway 187 than the rest of the trip combined. Many of them have figured out that there are power in numbers since they came at me in pairs for much of the day. I don’t want to frighten other through cyclists, but it is important to stay alert in this area and be prepared to use your BIG VOICE when the puppies come calling. Luckily, at least with the with the dogs I encountered today, their bark was worse than their bite.

Meandered through a few towns today, most notably Radium Springs, Hatch, Salem, Garfield, and Arrey. Camping at Caballo Lake State Park, a beautiful lake set against a backdrop of some fairly significant mountains at the headwaters of the Rio Grande. I didn’t see any other traveling cyclists today. Wildlife sightings included doves and bunny rabbits, one of which was flat as a pancake on an otherwise tranquil state highway 187.

It may be difficult to update my blog over the next two days, as the geography is getting more remote. I’ll spend the next couple of days in the Mimbres mountain range climbing over 4000 ft to Emory Pass (8,228 ft and the highest point on the Southern Tier Route), and crossing the Continental Divide. Really looking forward to burning up the quadraceps! Not.

It’s All Good.

Photo of the Day: Hatch, New Mexico

Click Here to read my daily tour journal entry on crazyguyonabike.com

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