Wed. May 1st we left our nice free camp spot in Ruidoso and headed out on another of our short travel days to the Bottomless Lake State Park 12 miles outside Roswell New Mexico.
It was a nice sunny day for a drive. We left Ruidoso at the 6300ft elevation and traveled to Roswell that is around 3573ft and the wind was pretty much at our backs so we had great fuel mileage,, well for our rig anyway LOL.
We made good time until we past Roswell and ran into 2 different sets of road construction that tied us up for probably 45 min. between the two.
Once at the park I unhooked the jeep and made a pass through the park to find a spot to camp. We didn’t have reservations so we just kept our fingers crossed. But traveling mid week so far has made it very easy to find a place to camp.
There were a number of spots with water and 30amp hookups and 1 spot left that had water, 50amp and sewer. It cost $4 more per night but we decided that because there was a cold front coming through it just might be nice to have full hookups so we took it.
It’s a reservable site so when you arrive at a campsite and park in a reservable site you can only pay for 1 night at a time. So as soon as we got set up I jumped online and reserved the spot through Sunday night. The weather front is supposed to pass by then and turn nice so we will continue east at that time.
Because it’s a little drive into Roswell from out camp spot and the 2 sections of road construction we decided to skip our normal scouting trip and just hang around the park.
Wed. night the winds picked up and it got pretty chilly. But not bad. And Thursday we decided to just tour the park and see all of the lakes and hike a couple trails even though the morning started our very windy and cold the afternoon turned our pretty nice. But Thursday night is supposed to get down into the 30’s and be windy again,,,, perfect LOL!! Maybe with the weather there won’t be a crowd this weekend and it will be peaceful.
The northernmost lake, the largest, and the only one on the west side of the road, is Lazy Lagoon, a large brackish pond which looks shallow and uninteresting but is actually formed by flooding of three adjacent sinkholes, the deepest 90 feet. The edges of the lake are muddy, the water bad smelling, and the surrounding earth is stained white from evaporated salts. The next four lakes are close together, within half a mile.
Cottonwood Lake is 30 feet deep, enclosed by sheer, unvegetated cliffs up to 80 feet high, formed of layered white/red rocks of the Artesia Group, a Permian-era mixture of limestone, sandstone and shale which makes up all the escarpment east of the Pecos River.
Mirror Lake is the prettiest and most unusual in the park – two perfectly circular sinkholes separated by a narrow ridge just underwater, also mostly surrounded by cliffs, as is the next lake south.
(Devil’s Inkwell), named for the particularly rich green/blue color of the water. Just beyond, Figure Eight Lake is another created by adjacent sinkholes, originally linked by shallow water but lowering of lake levels in recent years has left the two halves separated by a strip of sand.
The cliffs become less high further south, so the next lake (Pasture) is surrounded by flat, bushy land, and is quite shallow (17 feet).
The small, unremarkable Lost Lake is the seventh, reached by a half mile walk through scrubland along a wide, level path that continues another half mile to Lea Lake, focal point for most activities in the state park; there may be several hundred people visiting on a hot day in summer, here for camping, swimming, sunbathing, scuba diving and picnicking. The lake covers three sinkholes, deepest 90 feet, and has a long sandy beach
around one side. The ninth and final lake (Dimmitt) lies just outside the park boundary, and is owned by a local fishing club. This is another large pool, edged on the south side by vertical, 100 foot cliffs.
In the 1800’s the lakes were a stopover for cowboys herding cattle through the New Mexico territory on the Goodnight Loving Trail. Folklore says the cowboys tried without success to find the bottom of the lakes with their lariats tied together, they dubbed the lakes “Bottomless”. The lariats were actually swept aside by the underwater currents.
Bottomless Lakes State Park was dedicated in 1933, the first area set aside as a state park in New Mexico.