Monjeau Lookout Tower and a Little More Fall Foliage
October was a bit crazy. A whole slew of things didn’t quite go according to plan at first and I found myself busier than usual and thus quite tired when the first weekend rolled around. So in lieu of a usual long hike Tom suggested we take a break and have a relaxing overnight trip in the Sierra Blanca mountains.
Arriving midday to the refreshingly cool air in the town of Ruidoso, we first drove up to the Monjeau Lookout, a stone fire lookout completed in 1940 by the Civilian Conservation Corps. At 9,641 feet, the tower and the area surrounding it’s base boast some of the finest views of the high peaks in the Sierra Blancas as well as the Capitan Range to the north. In fact we were so captivated by the light and shadow over the folded mountains that we spent quite a bit of time walking around the lookout before even ascending the elegantly-fashioned stairs to the stone platform.
Once we finally did make our way up the steps however the 360-degree vistas were even more incredible. From the platform too we were able to make out some of the more distant boundaries from the 2012 Little Bear Fire as well as appreciate how close the blaze had come to torching the historic structure itself. I had marveled at, and intended to photograph, more of the stonework of the lookout but in reviewing my photos it seems I failed to do the latter in lieu of panoramas and video taken of the surrounding mountains. Still it’s possible to see a few of the neat details in the last video; should I return I’ll be sure to capture what I missed.
In our quest to keep the weekend low-key the following day was spent doing some preliminary research into future hiking opportunities off the Sunspot Highway, specifically those which would involve a lot of aspen, which were just now beginning to peak. I filed away 3 or 4 potential hikes that day as we ambled along old railway beds and sections of the Rim Trail, but we both thoroughly enjoyed the easy walking under the towering trees for just that – a relaxing walk in the woods.