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South Monticello Campground at T or C

Lake View from South Monticello

We had to leave Leasburg Dam Campground on Saturday after staying there for fourteen days, but campgrounds are usually crowded on the weekends, so we reserved a site with a lake view at South Monticello Campground. I was looking forward to see sandhill cranes again.

It was a windy, chilly and sunny morning. We left Leasburg Dam State Park and drove north towards T or C. A few farm lands with new green crops popped up by the highway. Snow appeared on the peaks of distant mountains in the west. The cold front met the warm and moist air and brought snow to the mountainous areas. We only saw snow once this winter when we stayed at Alamogordo, New Mexico. The snow on the mountains reminded us that it is still in the early spring.

We arrived at South Monticello Campground at noon. Looking across a field of low growing creosotes, the view of Elephant Butte Lake and the mountains was absolutely beautiful and peaceful. What made it more joyful was the surprise visit from our friends Patty and Mike. They came to T or C shopping and stopped by to say hi. It was so nice to see them again!

Walking across the field of creosotes led to the edge of the high ground. The water level of the lake seemed to be higher. There were few waterfowl in this windy day. The news said that Elephant Butte Lake was going to release the water for irrigation this weekend. Spring is here!

The campground is almost full with spacious campsites. There are no trees. It seems that creosotes dominate this desert land where grass is hard to grow. In the evening, we kept our eyes peeled looking for sandhill cranes. But to our disappointment, there were no sight of sandhill cranes. I looked it up on the Internet, an article on New Mexico In Depth said because of warm winters, sandhill cranes don’t stay here as long as they used to, and they usually fly north by mid February. According to fws.gov, spring starts mid-February through mid-May here in the middle of New Mexico, summer is from mid-May through mid-September, fall is from mid-September through mid-November, winter starts from mid-November through late January. Sandhill cranes and geese start to show up at the Rio Grande Valley at the end of October and spend the winter here. They leave the wetlands at Bosque del Apache in the spring.

I was hoping to see sandhill cranes flying up and down the waterway at sunrise and at sunset from our campsite. Now they have gone and only left me beautiful memories. I hope I will see them again somewhere some other time.   

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