Laughing Sheep


Out of Roswell, peering out at Mt. Capitan (10,083 ft elev.) standing in solitude amongst tilted plains leading only upwards, we were fooled into a false sense of ‘flatness’. Around a steep bend the road tilted greatly downward into the Hondo Valley. We found ourselves barreling into a rather fertile and ancient valley home to small ranches alongside the Hondo River. The smoothly sculpted hills were salt and peppered with dark green creosote bushes and spots of snow on the northern faces. The composition of the hills reminded me of the pale yellow colour in Colman’s Mustard. Finally after so many weeks of the shallowest grades through the Deep South we had some elevation worth riding; As well as some of the regionally most unique geology and flora to the southwestern states.

We kept climbing, up to 2,000 ft. per day. Finding ourselves in the Capitan Valley (expecting snow accumulation) we sought out Historic Lincoln for some shelter. Regarded as one of the more current pure western towns, embracing western architecture and lifestyle, Historic Lincoln was home to fugitives such as Billy the Kid. On a Saturday night however this particular town appeared to hold residence to cows, songbirds, and phantoms.

Scouting for a campground just West of town we stopped short at the Laughing Sheep Orchard & Ranch. I felt compelled to ride down and inquire for a place to stay. Note to Reader: The surprise of welcoming hospitality has yet to lose it’s luster. I feel that I may always be surprised, especially accompanied with the random instances of a proper adventure, with those individuals whom have no knowledge of myself, but of the traveler.

We bunked there for the night; Paul was in the greenhouse, and I was in the framework for the new restaurant on site. We learned that this particular ranch was self-sustaining and organic. Most likely holding true to the aspirations of many whom own farmland and ranch for a living.

We left late in the morning to the overhead eviscerated clouds that only meant the storm had passed and clear sky was to come. We promptly headed West (an ongoing theme to our travels towards the Pacific) and out of the Capitan and San Francisco Ranges. We shot out of Capitan (location of Smokey Bear’s home and rescue) and into an elevated plain home to lava fields and white seas of gypsum.

About Clint Valentine

Clint is currently enrolled in two undergraduate degrees in Biology & Environmental Science at Northeastern University. He enjoys pursuits of endurance and distance which have included summiting many peaks in New England during winter alpine ascents, sailing the Atlantic in a vintage gaff-rigged schooner, rock climbing in five states including Oregon, and cycling 5,000 miles across North America. He has goals of pushing the envelope of his limits and combining his many outdoors interests into one big trip. He has a passion for photography and hopes to one day produce a documentary for a round-the-world tour.
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