Brantley Lake State Park, New Mexico

The rainy morning started off with a frantic search for Starbucks. The water in the tea pot had not boiled, so we were unable to make coffee in our French press.  Coming from Seattle, a Starbucks run seems like an easy feat…but in West Texas? Not so much. After a looooooooooooooooooong two hour uncaffeinated drive, we were able to get our fix. Again, it was a pretty uneventful journey. West Texas is pretty flat, and the only break from the monotonous driving occurred at the rest stops. Most had playgrounds, which Spencer took full advantage of. He also teased me at every historical marker along the way by making screetchy brake noises.

So flat. We, as a mountain-loving couple, could never live here.

So flat. We, as a mountain-loving couple, could never live here.

We decided to skip the Carlsbad Caverns, as there was no place to keep our dog. Our journey continued about an hour north to Brantley Lake State Park. We arrived to 20mph winds and a 102F temperature. As Spencer said, “This trip has been amazing…ly hot!”


Our packing list included two 2-gallon jugs of water, which we drank from. The dry desert air paired with the temperature and high winds ensured that we were sweating out every last drop of water we had drank over the last three days. Spencer, thankfully, had the bright idea to put water onto these cheap cloth headbands I picked up (in order to hold back my god-awful mullet), so that the wind would actually help cool us down.

Going crazy from the sweet, sweet relief of cool headbands.

Going crazy from the sweet, sweet relief of cool headbands.

We even put one around Ellie's head!

We even put one around Ellie’s head!

Since there was a burn ban in place, dinner consisted of tuna and crackers along with various other snacks. Unlike in Texas where we set up the tent early and trapped all of the heat, we set up the tent closer to sunset. Our campsite overlooked the lake and was close to a trail which lead to the water. We would have explored that path, but the sun was beating down directly over that area of the park. Spencer brought out his Martin backpacker guitar to play for a while. He also broke out a spoon of peanut butter for Ellie, in order to win back her favor after slamming her tail in the car door the day prior – or he was trying to glue her mouth shut. Either works, really!

Happy puppy and a lake in the background.

Happy puppy and a lake in the background.

"Om nom nom nom!"

“Om nom nom nom!”

We went to bed around 9:30 again, though the temperature was still in the high 80s. Right as we went to sleep, the wind completely died. I thought it was going to be another night of high heat that would make it too hot to sleep. Thankfully, the wind picked up around 10:30, and made it cool enough for us to slip into our sleeping bags for our first night of real sleep. Even our dog was too tired to bark at anything.

To the left, you can see half of the tree used to shelter our tent from the wind.

To the left, you can see half of the tree used to shelter our tent from the wind. We didn’t use the tent pad that was provided.

The extreme heat prompted another early departure. Our breakfast consisted of Clif bars and Craisins since we were unable to cook anything. It was kind of a bummer too, because instead of fire pits they had those charcoal grills like the ones at rest stops or parks. Those would have been fun to cook on. Regardless, we took another free shower and put the pooch in the car while we packed up the rest of the site. Ellie has some funny habits when it comes to the car. She’ll whine and whine when we start packing, almost as if she’s afraid to be left behind. She’ll stop whining if we put her in the car though, so that’s what we were doing. She’s also out of our hair that way – it’s so much easier to pack!


Can’t you see how much she loves cars? She also loves the towel we got her to block the sun…though she used it more for snuggling.

Spencer and I both agreed that this was a wonderful campsite that we’d love to visit again. Our only complaint was about the lack of humidity. It completely dried out our poor Floridian Washingtonian noses and skin! I actually had a bloody nose when I woke up, which never happens to me. We were able to leave by 8:30, and passed by a herd of cattle and the local dam on the way out to Arizona. It was a lovely way to leave a beautiful campsite.


3 thoughts on “Brantley Lake State Park, New Mexico

  1. Oh my…. We thought the exact same thing!! Where is Starbucks? We went to McDonalds, which was interesting and the coffee was awful! We were there on the 4th of July. I live in New Mexico. Santa Fe actually. It was indeed hot.

    • New Mexico is so beautiful! The lack of Starbucks though…so bad! McDonalds is not an appropriate substitute, though their fruit smoothies are really good. Not sure that they’re healthy, but they’re great on a hot day!

  2. Pingback: Goal 100 – Finish Our Road Trip Scrapbook | To Stand Alone

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