|Fix-It-Upper Near Maxwell, NM|
My sister, Deborah Binford Baker, is up for the holidays with her jeep. And while all the tourists in Angel Fire are standing in ski lift lines we took off to our favorite places beyond Cimarron. There is Ponil Creek and the Elliot Barker Wild Life Area, Valle Vidal and its access through the Vermejo Park Ranch, and our new find this trip, the Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge. Just two women with camera, three dogs and a spirit of adventure.
|Lock Arrangement on Gate|
The entrances to are favorite spots are all within a few miles of each other. And surrounded by huge ranches. Some people have kept up their fences and some only the pretense of a fence. The Vermejo Park Ranch has shifted over from cattle to buffalo which are very difficult to fence in. Maybe it is just the people that are suppose to know they are fenced out. I seriously doubt the big boy below could be stopped by three strands of barbed wire.
|Bull Buffalo on Vermejo Park Ranch|
The Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge was a surprise. Surrounded by ranch lands it even raises some of its own crops to feed the wildfowl, hawks and eagles that are part time or full time residents. Winter is a good time for hawks and falcons because the branches of the trees are bare and they cannot hide as well.
|Hawk on the lookout|
MNWR is trying to restore the prairie with federal funds while the VPR is doing land restoration with private funds. And the Valle Vidal is also aimed at preservation of the national beauty of a fragile high plains area. Early ranchers destroyed a lot of the land through over grazing and a lot of the national wildlife through over hunting or decimation of habitat. With the drought currently in the area wild fires are taking their toll.
|Burn scar on border of Vermejo and Valle Vidal.|
As photographers my sister and I are thrilled to be allowed access to these precious areas. We take only pictures and obey all the signs and fences and leave only footprints. Visit our Binfords Back County Photography page on Facebook and check out the albums posted by my sister or myself. Lots more photos there. And I will no doubt be posting more here in the days to come.