Several years ago, my wife and I made a quick day trip to fly fish on the Rio Penasco, a spring-fed stream between Cloudcroft and Artesia which always produces surprising results in place where you might not expect it. Fishing on the private section of water requires membership in the Mesilla Valley Fly Fishers, which is a great organization for promoting fly fishing and conserving the few but spectacular cold water fisheries in southern New Mexico. Check it out below.
On our trip from Las Cruces, we passed through the village of Mayhill, where we often stop at the only convenience store and gas station east of Cloudcroft.
We stopped for snacks and some water but took time to look at the store’s latest tacky souvenir offerings. Two things caught our eye. First was a keychain made from a real rattlesnake head, preserved for eternity when dipped into heavy clear plastic. And the second (for the easily offended, I did not make this up) were a pair of earrings with a merchandise tag noting that their unusual shape was because they were made from the penis of raccoons.
I report this not for purposes of shocking anyone with uncomfortable discussions of things prurient, but to remind us that New Mexico is always offering up the unexpected.
I will always remember the time I purchased a kitchen magnet at a roadside stop near Socorro with the shape of New Mexico and the words “Arizona” emblazoned on it. And to add insult to injury, there was an image of a suguaro cactus on the item.