by Carol Dunn
HUERFANO —Besides being batty, Carlsbad, New Mexico, has other surprises in store. For instance, people not living in houses. We learned this after we noticed a guy living under the bridge next to the RV park where we were staying. He actually had a little encampment set up under there, with a mattress and a sleeping bag and even a dog. I didn’t look too closely, because the word “troll” came to mind. Everyone knows trolls live under bridges, and you don’t mess with trolls. But then again, there were no billy goats gruff crossing the bridge, and trolls don’t have pet dogs. They eat dogs.
The guy living under the bridge reminded me of Huerfano County. I don’t know how many of you are aware of it, but several years ago, Huerfano had its own house-challenged resident living in a culvert under I-25 not far from Walsenburg. No, I am not kidding. Apparently he was living there long enough to get tired of it (and yes I know, for some of us that would be sooner than it would be for others). Anyway, he eventually stole a road grader and fled south at a top speed of about five miles an hour, in broad daylight, basically along the same route we took to get to Carlsbad. You gotta do what you gotta do.
But back to Carlsbad: we only saw one bat while we were there. It was a red-eyed, remote-controlled bat that flew around the ceiling of the gift shop at Carlsbad Caverns. We visited the gift shop in late afternoon, and the batteries were running low, so it was flying kiiiinnnndddd of sssslllloooowwww, and it didn’t make any creepy squeaking sounds and it didn’t fly into people’s hair. So it was an OK bat.
We were surprised to hear mockingbirds in our RV campground, which made Rick happy (NOT). And there were catbirds, so called because they catch mice. Nah, I’m just kidding. They’re called catbirds because they meow like a cat. That’s about as hard to believe as the mice thing, isn’t it? The catbirds were busy gathering pecans around the RV park. The mockingbirds just sat around and mocked – like your little brother used to do to you when he was six. There were also some surprisingly large geese and ducks. Every morning they swam the river or walked the sidewalk, following two elderly ladies who were throwing chunks of bread at them to fend them off. I don’t think this was an effective weapon, because the foul fowl just came back for more. I didn’t see the geese bite either of the ladies, but the threat was definitely there.
The guy under the bridge never bothered us. He stayed put in his nest most of the time, because it was COLD. Not as cold as Huerfano, but definitely not the tropical weather one would hope for if one was trying to get away from “winter.” And we managed to arrive back in Huerfano just in time for the much hyped Blizzard of 2013, which dumped a staggering three inches of snow on our place.
It was so good to get back to Huerfano.