July 12, 2002
Dear Subscriber:

Paul and I were riding in my pickup...going up the mountain to
check the water tank level.

Our neighborhood water system was Paul's adopted child. He
doted over it...worried about it and demanded only the highest
quality of workmanship from those of us who helped him with it.

Due in large part to Paul, Silver Cloud Subdivision has one of
the most dependable private water systems in the Sacramentos.

For years, Paul provided his services for nothing. He received
a small stipend in later years only after it was forced upon
him by the water board.

He made sure the well pump was working properly. He checked
the tank levels daily...sometimes several times a day if he
suspected a pipe leak might be stealing some of our water. He
went to classes to learn how to keep our water free-running
and clean.

Maintaining our water was pretty much a full-time job, but Paul
found time to repair friends' automobiles and boat motors. I'm
not sure there is anything mechanical that Paul couldn't fix.
His hands were gnarled by arthritis and he must have been in
pain much of the time, but the joy of making things work
overrode the pain. He would pitch in on construction projects
and wood cutting.

He wouldn't accept payment for his work, but we did buy him a
mechanic's crawler once when I noticed he kept having to put
the wheels back on his old one. It made me feel good to see
he was using the one we got him. When I helped him under a
vehicle, I got to use the crawler with the loose wheels.

For a man in his late 60s, he had the work ethic of a much
younger man. He got down in the muddy ditches with the rest of
us. When we all went home at the end of a hard day, he would
often stay behind double checking the work. Oh, how he hated
to dig up a repair job because it wasn't done right.

Paul and Rita Lofton moved to Cloudcroft from Carlsbad to
retire. Peg and I became their close friends through our mutual
love of dogs and fish. Paul loved to fish and often came back
from fishing trips with enough bass to feed the neighborhood.
An invitation to a Lofton fish fry was more cherished than
backstage passes to a Rolling Stones concert.

As we made our way to the water tank that day, Paul told me he
wanted to take a cruise. He said he wanted to get on a big boat
on a body of water that was so clear you could see the bottom
a hundred feet below. He wanted to see all the fish swimming
down there, and maybe even catch some of them.

"You like to fish, Don?" he asked. I said "Yep," and shook my
head in the affirmative. Paul's cancer had seriously
deteriorated his hearing so when we were together I didn't talk
much. I let him carry the conversation.

"Does Peg like to fish?" he asked. "Oh, yeah," I shook my head.

"Maybe the four of us could take a cruise," he said. He held on
to the arm rest as we rounded a bumpy corner. His balance
wasn't what it once was.

He spoke quietly, dusting a stray ash from his cigarette off
his trouser leg.

"I'd like to catch one more big one," he said. "I've caught
some big ones before, but that great big one is still out there
with my name on it."

Back in May of 1999, when I had a brain hemorrhage, Paul was
standing there by the ambulance when they loaded me into it.

He patted me on the shoulder and said, "It'll be all right."

"There." I pointed as we arrived at the water tank. "19 feet.
That ain't bad."

He looked at me. "What?"

"The water level. 19 feet. I don't think we have a leak."

Paul had suspected a leak for a couple of weeks. The rest of us
disagreed. It could be Paul was looking for an excuse to climb
on board the back-ho like he had done so many times before and
dig up a trouble line one last time. Up until a few weeks ago,
it was one thing he could still do. His weakened hands would
move the levers of that big machine...transferring his depleted
strength into several thousand foot-pounds of power. Moving
hundreds pounds of dirt with each bucket-load.

The cancer had moved to Paul's brain, though. We were all
afraid for his safety should he try and operate the back-ho.

Paul just glanced at the tank. He was having trouble holding
his head up.

"OK, if you say so. We'll know when the rainy season gets
here. If we're still having to pump all night, then maybe you
guys will see it my way."

Paul was often bull-headed, but he was more often right than

We started back down the hill.

"Six to ten days," he said. "Maybe the Gulf of Mexico. Some
place where the water is so clear you can see the bottom a
hundred feet below."

Paul left on his cruise at dawn this past Monday. He's likely
out there now, organizing the fishing tackle...finding the best
places to fish. He's icing down the beer and arranging the deck
chairs for when the rest of us are able to join him.

I can see him now. The breezes off the water blowing through
that silver hair. That big smile and those bright eyes have
been returned to him. Delta, the Lofton's beloved cocker, is by
his side, eying the treat Paul is holding for her. Looking over
the railing into the clear water, he can see the bottom a
hundred feet below.

Keep the bait fresh, Paul. We'll be there before you know it.

Don Vanlandingham

The rainy season is here, but we are receiving pitifully small
amounts each afternoon. Some areas around Cloudcroft are
reporting significant downpours, so it looks as if small cells
of heavy rain are lurking. Most agree a steady rain of 2 to 3
day's duration would be just the ticket, but we don't always
get what we wish for.

Highs are in the mid-70s to low-80s depending on cloud
conditions. Lows are around 50.
Dear Newsletter:

I loved the bear story, made me homesick.

I lived in Ruidoso for several years, we seem to have had more
bear sightings (and Elk sightings) in town than in Cloudcroft's
downtown area. One summer a mother bear and her two cubs hid in
the green-belt that ran through our housing area in downtown

They lived right in the midst of the housing area and gave us
many hours of pure delight just watching them. My Mother, who
was legally blind, and my two grandboys stayed the summer also.
One day my Mother took her usual cigarette break outside on the
stone landing beside my house. The older of the two boys
noticed her and ran out to tell her that she was sitting next
to "Momma Bear". Well it was a sight to see as Mother tried to
get inside, get the two boys inside, while the dog wanted
outside to chase the bear, and "Momma Bear" thought that she
had bonded so well with my Mother that she wanted to come
inside with them. She told us later that she had thought that
it was the neighbor's dog.

The sad part of the story is that only one of the three bears
survived that summer. In September, out of state visitors shot
and killed "Momma Bear" and shot at the babies. They were under
the impression that all wild things were dangerous and should
be killed.

One baby ran into the forest, never to be seen again. Probably
killed by another male bear protecting his territory, because
they are very territorial. The other baby was captured by the
Forest Rangers, tagged and sent away. Some how he managed to
get through the next winter without a protector, which is also
very rare, for he found his was back to our back yards the
following summer to delight us once more.

He came back looking for his mother, and would cry for hours
when he could not find her. He finally was happy surviving in
the green-belt.

We called him "Cinnamon Bear" and we all fell in love with his
child-like behavior. We did not feed him, we gave him all the
room he needed and observed him from a distance, we told
everyone that visited our area about him so they also could be
aware of his presence. What a wonderful gift of nature we all
had. But as all stories end, so did this one. A man from El Paso
moved into our block, we informed him of the little bear and
how to get along with him, but within the first week, he had to
prove his manhood - he shot and kill our "Cinnamon"....

I have enclosed some pictures of Cinnamon - he looks like a kid
in a bear suit. He like to hide in the dumpster when he heard
the school children getting off the bus. He was terrified of
them and all the noise they made. I hope you enjoy!

And for your visitors - yes, you have to beware of wild animals
of all kinds, do not feed them or try to pet them, respect them
and their space - make a little noise, they will more than
likely run away in fear.

Patricia Baxter


Soil erosion control efforts are on-going in the Curtis Canyon
area, where the Rio Penasco Fire burned.

The area is in serious danger of flooding and erosion should
July and August bring anticipated rainfall.
Come to Cloudcroft and enjoy this lovely 3 bedroom, 2 bath with
fully-equipped kitchen, fireplace, satellite TV, HBO, telephone,
full-sized washer and dryer, and large deck. Sleeps 8 very
comfortably. Coffee is furnished along with firewood. Two-night

For more information, email dustys_place@hotmail.com, call toll
free (888) 543-3600, or click on the link to our Website on the
Lodging page of Cloudcroft.com:


One of Alamogordo's most interesting attractions...just a half
hour from Cloudcroft.


Q - Is Yogi still around?

A - You're referring to the bear that has been frequenting the
Silver Cloud area near Cloudcroft.

He was last sighted over the weekend, but has not visited the
Vanlandingham home in over a week. Since residents of the area
are depriving Yogi of a food source by picking up pet dishes,
disposing of trash, etc, Yogi's appearances are getting fewer
and farther between. The forest is greening somewhat and Yogi
might be finding his dinner in other parts of the woods...away
from us humans.
July 12-13 -- Melodrama. Covered Pavilion.

July 13 -- Founder's Park memorial dedication. Alamogordo.

July 13 -- Flower Show at the Community Center, l-5pm.

July 13 -- Horseshoe Tournament. 1pm.

July 13 -- Street Dance. Burro Avenue. 7pm.

July 13-14 -- July Jamboree. Arts and Crafts Show, 10am-5pm.
Zenith Park. Food, drink, and entertainment.
For more information, call (505) 682-2733.

July 14 -- Sacramento Mountains Historical Society annual
meeting. Middle School. 2pm.

July 15-19 -- Vacation Bible School. First Baptist Church.
Each day from 8:30-12:00.

July 19-21 -- Blue Grass Festival. Weed, New Mexico.

July 23-24 -- Full Moon Night, White Sands National
Monument, 8:30pm. For more information, call 505-679-2599.

July 27 -- Train Load of Talent. Covered Pavilion. 7:30pm.
Proceeds benefit the victims of the Rio Penasco Fire.

July 27 -- Chili Cook-off. Ski Cloudcroft.

August 3 -- Otero County Electric Coop annual meeting.
Cloudcroft High School Gym. For more information, call
Eddie Little at (505) 682-2521.

August 10 -- Otero County Fair Parade. Alamogordo. 4pm.

August 14-17 -- Otero County Fair. Otero County Fairgrounds.
For more information, call (505) 437-6120.

August 16, 17, 18 -- Singing in the Clouds. High School.
For more information, call (505) 682-2733.

August 25 -- Music Night, Ice Cream Social, and Silent Auction.
Cloudcroft Methodist Church, 5pm. BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

August 31-Sept. 2 -- Labor Day Fiesta. Burro Avenue.
Sidewalk sales, street dance, entertainment, games.

August 31 -- Street Dance. Burro Avenue. 7pm.

September 7 -- Methodist Men's Auction, 9am-5pm at the Covered
Pavilion in Zenith Park.

September 15 -- Governor’s 10K Run/Walk. For more info, call
(505) 682-2733.

September 21 -- Lumberjack Days. Chainsaw and ax competitions.
Zenith Park. For more information, call (505) 682-2733.

September 28-29 -- Aspencade tours (fall foliage at its best).
For more information, call (505) 682-2733.

October 5, 6 -- Oktoberfest. Juried art show. Zenith Park

October 5, 6 -- Aspencade tours

October 19, 20 -- High Rolls Apple Festival. High Rolls, NM.
For more information, call (505) 682-1151.

October 26 -- Harvestfest. Pumpkin carving, hay rides.

October 31 -- Trick or Treat. Burro Avenue. 5-7pm.

Cloudcroft Art Society meets the second Sunday of each month,
2-4pm, in the Old Red Brick School House. Call (505) 682-2494
for more information.

Mountain Garden Club meets every third Monday of each month.
Call (505) 682-2910 for more information.

Senior Van from Timberon to Alamogordo leaves the Timberon
Lodge promptly at 8:30am every Tuesday morning.

Free Vitals Clinic. Third Tuesday of each month starting at 6pm
and last Thursday of each month starting at 12pm. James Canyon
Fire Department, 2346 Highway 82.

If you have news of public events in the Cloudcroft area, email

For an online calendar of area events, click the Events Calendar
link in the left column of our home page:


Dear Newsletter:

We love visiting Cloudcroft and have seen "Yogis" several times 
when we have come.

There was the vacation that Yogi walked outside our motel room
and left prints on the sidewalk, and the vacation when Yogi was
scrounging around in the dumpster across the street from the 
golf course, and our favorite... the baby bear caught in the
tall pine tree and needing rescue. The rescue was lots of fun
and that little baby squawked like a chicken! We have some very
cute pictures of this rescue.

Now that our children are grown, it's also nice to look back on
pictures from their childhood in different places throughout 
Cloudcroft. Now they come and take pictures of their own.

We'd love to come to Cloudcroft this year, and if we do, we'll
bring some Bluebell... naaaaaaaaaaaaa, I guess we'll eat all we
can and sell the rest! (From a longstanding Bluebell

We enjoy your newsletter! Thanks....

Pamela McGuire
San Antonio, Texas

Dear Newsletter:

I have smuggled the coveted Blue Bell Ice Cream to Rio Rancho
from as far away as the Wal-Mart in Decatur, Texas without
spoiling/melting an ounce. (OK, so the top 2 inches were milk
shake--but still cold and tasty.)

The Yogi story brings back a few memories of a bear standing on
his back feet with his shoulders bent down into the Medina's
trash can on Chipmunk Ave. We watched from our kitchen window
as the bear munched his way through their trash. As I remember,
Mr. Medina was a little irritated that we didn't scare the bear
away as he was picking up the remains of the bear's midnight

We later lived on Balsam Circle and had a bear that would come
on the porch and eat the apples out of our apple box. My mom
would get mad and yell at us boys thinking we had an apple fight
or were just plain wasting the apples. She apologized one night
after finding the bear on the porch. She heard "someone" on the
porch and woke my dad to check on "whom" it was. She didn't
sleep the rest of the night after he informed her "what" it

Sam Drake
Rio Rancho

Dear Newsletter:

We live in Meridian, TX -- but were in Jacksonville, FL this
past spring.

That's how we know Bluebell is there.

I haven't found the Moolenium. Will check it out. Kinfolk live
in Brenham.

Our Kitty had her Blue Bell before retiring last night.

Betty & Allen Johannes

Dear Newsletter:

As for your Yogi story, I for one found it very funny with
several points of reality thrown in.

Bears who are relocated (offender bears) do no do as well in
the wild as those who have never made it to the dump for
dinner. And if the weather conditions continue like they are
now, it will get only more frequent, and the bears more brave.

One should leave them alone and not make your home a stopping
point in their nightly raids. Or if you feel you must feed them,
simply take lots of dry dog food to a extremely secluded place
to feed them, but then you are creating a monster who is
totally dependent on you for their food.

The best thing to do is leave them alone and let nature take
its course, as cruel as it appears.

Keep up the good work you are doing on the newsletter as I do
enjoy reading it here in Lubbock.

PS: Always remember a hungry bear is not bothered by a locked
door or hasp and lock, and if he really wants in there, your
bacon, steak, and other goodies are only history and a vacant
place in the wallet.

Paul G. Houston

Dear Newsletter:

A couple of months ago, while having dinner at the NM Farm and
Ranch Museum, my husband Scott and I were seated at the table
with your parents, the Gerald Thomas's. During our conversation,
a mention was made of Cloudcroft and with that we became aware
of your newsletter. I want to tell you that we really enjoy it.

We have a tree house on Fox which the two of us built many
years ago. A couple of summers ago, our propane tank suddenly
showed almost empty and there was an odor of gas in the area.
We had the habit of keeping the 750 gallon tank almost full and
there had been very little use of propane in the house.

When the gas people came to check whether there was a loose
connection on the top of the tank, we saw large scratches
across the silver paint on the side of the tank, which could
have been made by a bear. In fact, the next year two times we
spotted a bear on our lot.

We do not get up there as much any more as we used to. However,
our family all enjoy the tree house and get up as often as they

Keep the newsletters coming. Good wishes to you.

Virginia Taylor
Fairacres, NM.

Dear Newsletter:

My husband and I own a place outside Cloudcroft, in the
Waterfall subdivision.

A couple years ago, my sister came to visit there for
Thanksgiving. We went out for a walk just at dusk one evening.
I saw a bear, and pointed it out to her. We were both nervous
about what it would do, but it was at least a hundred feet

We waited and watched it for several minutes. During all that
time, the bear didn't move one tiny bit. That's when I finally
realized that the "bear" was a neighbor's yard art - bears cut
out of plywood and painted. Since my sister and I are both
blonde, we chalk this one up to a blonde story.

Marise Textor

Dear Newsletter:

We've been getting our Cloudcroft "fix" ever since we
discovered the on-line newsletter. Growing up in Odessa, I was
privileged to enjoy summer vacations for many, many years in
Cloudcroft. My parents had visited with each of their young
adult church groups before they were married (more than 50
years ago!), so my family has wonderful, collective memories
of Cloudcroft. 

After I married, I introduced my husband to the wonderland that 
is Cloudcroft (Texas is the adopted state of my Arizona-native 
sweetheart), and the village has become a retirement-dream
topic for us.

Busy years raising our family in Waco and Fort Worth put some
distance between us and Cloudcroft, but in recent years, we've
reconnected. As a career law enforcement officer, my husband 
has thoroughly enjoyed the restful getaways from the grind of 
dealing with difficult people (in and out of the office).

We have known what summers are like in Cloudcroft, and this
year we went up for a winter vacation to see if it was
something we could handle -- not being acclimated to cold
winters -- should our dream ever come true.

We sure enjoyed the simplicity of our week in Cloudcroft -- and
we didn't miss any of the traffic that ensnarls our lives these
days. It was a wonderful winterland experience, even though the
snow stopped falling before our arrival and started up again
the day of our departure. No matter -- the snow and ice
remained on the ground and in the trees; moreover, because of
the delay in a new snowfall, we were able to venture out and up 
along mountain vistas and down winding canyon roads.

It was a fabulous experience! Our rented cabin was delightful as
we enjoyed sipping bubbly hot chocolate in front of a toasty
fire each evening -- more than that, we experienced a lot of joy
just being in Cloudcroft again. 

We were alarmed, of course, to read about the terrible fire --
and the personal sadness -- this past Spring and waited
anxiously for the weekly newsletter updates. Your labor of love
is a comfort to each of us who fondly reminisce about Cloudcroft
and eagerly anticipate the possibility of a future there.

Thanks for adding such pleasure to each week with our issue of
the Cloudcroft newsletter -- it's wonderful!

Judy (and John) Dalton
Fort Worth, TX 

Dear Newsletter:

Your account and the stories of others regarding bears foraging
in human-space for food reminded me of a story told to me while
a Cloudcroft teenager in the 1980s by the late Earl Bradley,
who worked for many years for and eventually retired from the
Otero County Electric Cooperative.

Sometime in the 1960s, someone lived in a small metal travel-
trailer in one of the "new" subdivisions in the outlying areas
near Cloudcroft. Earl's story went, that one day, they left a
roast out to thaw in the sink. Upon returning home several
hours later, their trailer home was nowhere in sight! As they
pulled into their drive, they found that the trailer was indeed
there. Its four walls and roof were strewn about the area where
it once had stood. 

You're not in Kansas, so it wasn't a tornado.

The roast was gone. Two separate sets of bear-tracks were found
leaving in different directions. 

What happened to the trailer? Two bears entered a small trailer
and found one roast! While no one will ever know which bear won
the roast, the homeowner definitely lost in this bear fight! 

The moral of this story is plain to see: no one--even another
bear--should come between a bear and his dinner. Unless you want
your trailer trashed!

Kendal Summers
Indianapolis, Indiana

Dear Newsletter:

I'm a little late responding to your bear story, but I just
wanted to let you know that I enjoyed reading it very much.

We returned Sunday, July 7th, from Deerhead Campground. While
there, I couldn't help but think about your bear story. I
mentioned your story to the family and we took extra precautions
regarding children and our food.

It also brought back memories of the time approximately 10
years ago when we were camping at Silver Lake. We woke up to
find a bear up in one of the trees in the middle of all the

Just about everyone surrounded the tree and was taking pictures
and videotaping. All of sudden we hear people yelling run, run.
We all turned and saw this huge bear coming at us. Believe me
when I tell you that the whole crowd should have been in the
Olympics. Everyone ran like a bat out of ****.

It turned out that Mama Bear was coming to her baby's rescue as
it was frightened by all the onlookers and didn't want to come
down. I was surprised to find out that the big bear up in the
tree was a BABY! It was pretty big to me, so imagine when I saw
that huge bear coming straight at us! My boys were 10 & 11 at
that time and my only thoughts were to protect my babies, so I
know how Mama Bear felt. We laugh about it now, although it
wasn't funny at that time!

Thanks for the memories.

PS. The weather was gorgeous! It was cloudy most of the time.
It rained just about all night Saturday and throughout Sunday.
I didn't get much sleep, as I pictured our tent floating from
our campsite.

I was surprised when I got up Sunday morning to find our tent
still intact and no mud whatsoever around us. That really told
us how extremely dry the forest is.


Christy L. Moya
El Paso, Texas

To unsubscribe, email: unsubscribe@cloudcroft.com
To subscribe, go to
If email to an address bounces (returns to us), that email
address is automatically deleted from our mailing list. If you
cease getting this newsletter suddenly, probably your provider
bounced your newsletter. This can happen when a provider is too
busy or is shutdown for some reason. If this happens to you, 
just revisit our site and re-add your email address to our list.
If you have comments or suggestions for this newsletter, please 
direct them to: newsletter@cloudcroft.com
Please feel free to pass this newsletter along to your friends.
However, we ask that you keep it intact and forward it in
its entirety.

Copyright © 2002 Cloudcroft Online
The Travel and Visitor's Guide to Cloudcroft, New Mexico.
Previous Newsletter Next Newsletter